Finance Site Says Outside Lands Is Only a Good Deal if You Love Paul McCartney

Categories: Music Festivals

"But I'm worth it!" Macca insists.
If you're not a big fan of Paul McCartney, Outside Lands 2013 isn't your best best bargain in summer music festivals -- at least according to personal finance site NerdWallet.

The company recently analyzed three late summer/early fall music festivals to determine which three-day pass gives the ticketholder the most value. Out of the three festivals analyzed, Outside Lands ranked second, ahead of Lollapalooza and behind Austin City Limits for 2013. Still, Mike Anderson, the NerdWallet analyst who headed up the number crunching, concluded that the Golden Gate Park event "is probably only a good deal if you want to see Paul."

Which raises the question: Who isn't into Paul McCartney?

Anderson agreed that the former Beatles singer-songwriter is nearly universally loved. However, he thought it noteworthy that the high price McCartney's show tickets command ($154.33 on average) takes up a large chunk of the value for the festival and its ticket price. The next highest-value artist on the lineup is D'Angelo, whose tickets were valued at $89.40, nearly half of McCartney's prices. After that, the monetary value of the artists on the Outside Lands lineup declines sharply (see below).

Anderson analyzed the average concert ticket prices for individual Outside Lands' artists, and then subtracted the festival pass price from the combined value of the most popular bands' ticket prices. He attempted to compare apples to apples, and therefore based controls of the study around what he calls typical festivalgoer behavior. The study assumed most attendees would be getting to the shows early, staying all day, and viewing bands primarily on the main and the largest side stages, i.e. the most popular acts.


NerdWallet ended up ranking Outside Lands as a $621.94 value, based on a $249.50 pass, subtracted from the gross value of the performances one might view while there, which was $871.44. Austin City Limits was assigned a $631.36 value, while Lolla came in at $550.87.

One of the more interesting parts of the project is the site's willingness to assign monetary values to the artists playing these festivals, taking into account the shorter sets bands usually play at festivals. For example, did you know the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' average festival set is worth about 33 bucks? Phoenix, meanwhile, is worth about $53 per show, according to NerdWallet:


Of course, the data doesn't take into account the cost of traveling to a festival or staying in the area, which likely makes Outside Lands a better deal for Bay Area residents than any other similar festival. Still, Anderson said that he hopes to make this analysis an ongoing series, where each year users could potentially input data to help define the best value for their own festival experiences.

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Seeing how that is the main reason I am going, Outside Lands is just a vessel to get me to go there.


They probably should use a ratio rather than subtraction to see what is the best deal.  Austin city limits then becomes the clear winner at about 3.7 and outsidelands and lollapoluza are tied for second at about 3.4.

Robert Bartolucci
Robert Bartolucci

This guy is a moron. You can't quantify an experience at a music festival... it's personal preference and it's what you make of it

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