All you can eat at U2 in Croke Park for €430 – it’s so rock’n’roll

What’s on the menu is as important as the line-up with high-priced hospitality packages

U2 have announced a 30 year anniversary tour of their seminal album, The Joshua Tree. Video: U2

 

The future of rock’n’roll is peanut butter and jelly buffalo wings. If that doesn’t float your boat, what about blueberry and praline bourbon ice-cream, Lakeshore mustard whipped potato, sweetcorn succotash or Kilkenny apple and fennel slaw?

All of this can be enjoyed to the sounds of U2 at their sold-out show in Croke Park on July 22nd, playing their 30-year-old album The Joshua Tree – which many would argue is better than anything they’ve released in the past 15 years.

That food menu is what’s on offer to punters who are prepared to pay €430 a pop for “exclusive concert package” tickets to see U2 at Croke Park later this summer. You get a ticket to the show, a seat in the Lower Hogan stand, a three-course feed before the show, access to a free bar, and post-concert grub to send you home with a full belly.

Hospitality packages

Such hospitality packages are the growing norm in the modern entertainment game. When promoters Goldenvoice put on Desert Trip AKA Oldchella in California last year, they made as much play of their list of chefs, sommeliers, cocktail-makers, craft beer experts and mixology masters as the aul’ lads performing onstage. It worked too: an OTR source who was at the festival was as enthusiastic about the grub as the music in his post-event dispatches.

Bono performing onstage during the original Joshua Tree tour in 1987. Many fans have been outpriced in the race for tickets to the 30th anniversary tour. Photograph: Lex van Rossen/MAI/Redferns
Bono performing onstage during the original Joshua Tree tour in 1987. Many fans have been outpriced in the race for tickets to the 30th anniversary tour. Photograph: Lex van Rossen/MAI/Redferns

Promoters are happy to add sommeliers and gluten-free menus to the bill of fare if that’s what it takes to get punters to pay big money for luxury tickets. In the case of the Desert Trip, the pay-off was a record-breaking gross of $160 million (€147 million). That’s a lot of peanut butter and jelly buffalo wings.

Of course, it pays to know your audience. A huge number of those going to Desert Trip and U2 are punters who’ve been around the block a few times and have the money to pay for such expensive extras. Paying €430 to see U2 in Croker with the dinner thrown in is a price many in this constituency are willing to pay.

Ticket pricing

This demand also raises some interesting questions about ticket pricing in general. Ticketmaster and Live Nation big cheese Michael Rapino has maintained for years that artists should “price the product at what the market is able to pay”. The fact that the people behind Croke Park hospitality can sell tickets at €430 each shows that there is a part of the U2 gig market that is willing to go that high. The offer was not available to the public but marketed directly at Croke Park’s “client base”. It’s not only house prices in Dublin 3 that are soaring.

It would be good to know if this bundling of tickets and flatiron medallions of Kylebeg beef has produced any extra juice (sorry, jus) for U2 and promoters Live Nation. The hospitality side of live music concerts, especially during the summer outdoor season, is one with plenty of fat and it would be surprising if the band and promoters are not taking their share of that.

It also shows how the hospitality and loyalty sectors are increasingly vital for promoters. We’ve previously asked U2’s management what the ticket sales split is between their fan club and the public, but have yet to get an answer. Croke Park did not respond to requests about how many tickets it had sold through this hospitality offer, though those looking to avail of the €430 offer had to apply by April 21st.

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