Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Business of bling taken to new high

If you were one of those indignant at the notion of paying €551.75 to see Barbra Streisand in concert this summer, look away now. The Social is a five-concert series which will take place in New York’s East Hamptons this …

Fri, May 25, 2007, 09:51

   

If you were one of those indignant at the notion of paying €551.75 to see Barbra Streisand in concert this summer, look away now. The Social is a five-concert series which will take place in New York’s East Hamptons this summer featuring shows by Prince, Billy Joel, Dave Matthews, Tom Petty and James Taylor. The cost of tickets for this series of soirees? A cool $15,000 (€11,100).

There are no tickets available for individual shows, so your $15,000 will get you a passport to what the organisers are billing as an “exclusive” event.

Besides the headlining heritage acts, there will be art exhibitions, a kids’ area with PlayStation bars, gourmet cook-outs and luxurious seating. You can also bask in the knowledge that some of your money is going to help a local school, albeit a sponsorship fund for a school in the very well-heeled Hamptons.

Most of all, though, potential concert-goers can rest assured that they are surrounded by their own kind. The Wall Street Journal reckons the audience will consist of “Wall Street executives, Hamptons socialites and the ultra-rich”. It is as far from the Irish festival experience as you could possibly imagine.

For the acts involved, it’s all about the pay-cheque. After all, many are already cashing in regularly on the private party circuit which first emerged in the 1980s. George Michael made a reputed $3 million (€2.3 million) for a New Year’s Eve show for a lumber tycoon in Russia, while Christina Aguilera became the $1.5 million (€1.1 million) wedding singer in 2005. Others who have made out like bandits on the private party circuit include Aerosmith, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones and 50 Cent.

The Social is part of a growing trend amongst live music promoters to target high-spending audiences with VIP packages and exclusive deals. Here in Ireland, besides Streisand and her unfeasibly large ticket prices, there’s the 02 Point Club which allows 100 VIPs a range of “membership privileges” at the Dublin venue for an annual fee of €9,500.

However, few have been as brazen as the Social when it comes to pumping ticket prices sky high. Other promoters will be keeping a close eye on what happens in the Hamptons this summer and, should the series prove successful for all concerned, expect plenty of copycat events to follow.

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