Music Festival Offers Cheap Tickets For Low-Income Fans To Inspire 'Culture'
To make the Strawberry Fields festival accessible to more people, organisers have brought back the 'Low Income Ticket Program'.
For the third year, a limited number of tickets will be offered at a discounted price for those who would not be able to afford the full price.
Organisers were inspired after U.S. festival, Burning Man, trialled the program in 2011, and wanted to bring the idea to Australia.
"The first time I heard of it, I wondered why nobody was doing it in Australia," Tara Benney, Strawberry Fields festival director, told 10 daily.
"We instituted it a few years ago, and nobody else in Australia has done it."
The festival runs for three days, November 29 to December 1, in the rural town of Tocumwal in southern NSW.
Local and international artists, such as German-born DJ Gerd Janson, U.K.'s Leon Vynnehall and Australia's own CC:Disco, will be hitting the stage this year.
Five hundred low income tickets will be available for $165, instead of the standard price $280-$330, for those who qualify in a first in, best dressed, situation.
"We ask people to show proof they're on a low income, ask them to substantiate that's their income, bank statements, they can provide copies of being on Centrelink or are a carer for someone, and a statement saying why they're eligible," Benney said.
"Majority are students, some are carers, caring financially for a relative for a parent or siblings."
Benney said the regulatory costs of festivals have driven the prices of tickets up, and combined the with travel and accommodation expenses, going to a festival is out of reach for many people.
"The kind of people who can access festivals has narrowed," she said.
"Particularly among young people, who are struggling with wages, increasing costs of school, so many factors.
"We didn't want to see our audience narrow to just those at the top end of spectrum."
Organisers believe festivals are an important way of inspiring young people, and hope the program will allow more to attend, Benney said.
"Festivals can be a meeting ground of culture, mateship, getting inspired -- it's not fair that its only accessible to people who can splash out $1000 for an event," she said.
Benney hopes other festivals will follow Strawberry Fields' example.
"I call on other festivals to do same thing, it's not really a huge sacrifice."
For those wishing to apply, applications close July 31.