Around 100,000 people walked through the gates at Gallagher Hill for the 2022 version of the Edmonton Folk Festival. This is the first year since 2019 that the festival was in-person, and despite an increase in ticket prices, people were eager to get on the hill.
Weekend passes sold out the day they went on sale in June. In 2019, weekend passes were $249. In 2022, the same pass was $270 while the cost of single day tickets jumped from $75-$95 to $90-$105.
“We like to make a small surplus so that we can reinvest in the show and some capital assets,” says Terry Wickham, producer of Edmonton Folk Festival. “Mostly what we’re doing is trying to break even and put a little bit in the bank.”
The festival sells 14,000 tickets for each day of the four-day event and 11,000 tickets per day are given away to volunteers, industry guests and children under 12. Wickham says the goal of Folk Fest has never been to charge a hefty fee for tickets, and that the 11 per cent increase in cost this year reflects inflation. Most people think they’re paying to get inside the festival, but the money made from tickets goes a lot further than that. Ticket sales go towards food, power, gas, transportation and artists’ fees. Other things to consider: Promoters of shows also have to pay for security, advertising and insurance.
Insurance has become a major issue for concert promoters and venues. Earlier in 2022, as part of a submission to the Ontario government, the Canadian Live Music Association stated that, “faced with disproportionately challenging market conditions, live music venues (and many others across hardest hit sectors) continue to struggle to find appropriate commercial insurance coverage. Although rates had been rising pre-COVID, venues have been confronted with exorbitant increases in quoted premium rates and deductibles. Even those with no recent claims whatsoever against their policies, have been unable to secure commercial liability coverage at any cost.”