Live Nation's summer promotion may cut service fees on tickets to select shed shows this season, but that doesn't mean all other fees are pulling a disappearing act.
The company's "No Service Fee Wednesdays" promo that kicked off June 3 did remove service charges, which can average as much as one-third of the original ticket price, for lawn seats to shows at more than 40 amphitheatres in the U.S.
"Throughout the rest of the summer, Live Nation becomes Free-Nation as it offers savings on concert tickets for hundreds of shows and millions of fans," LN announced June 1.
But when it comes to ticket fees, free may be a bit of an overstatement. Although Live Nation was clear that there would be no service fees, the company got a bit of blowback because the public equated no service fees with no fees at all. When charges such as parking, charity and facility fees showed up on the final price tag, media outlets like CNN and Rolling Stone made hay.
A quick review of the offerings on the LN site found plenty of other charges still tacked on to tickets that fell under the promo, including parking, facility, charity and ticket taxes that ranged from 25 cents to $8.
Despite those remaining fees, Live Nation spokesman John Vlautin told Pollstar that the promotion represents the largest one-day sale in the history of the company, which LN believes is great news for concert fans around the country.
"We have, for the first time ever, waived the service fee charged for processing the sale of the ticket," he explained. "Parking is charged like it is at every live entertainment gathering. We wish we could waive tax but that's not in our control."
The company has previously said that more than half of the lawn seats at a typical summer shed show can go unsold, so the promo is obviously aimed at getting more butts on lawns - especially those of people who might typically choose to stay home in today's economic climate.
"Summer concerts are a great escape in these tough times," Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino said in the statement.
Still, times didn't seem to be too tough according to ticket sales outlined in the company's first quarter earnings report. LN reported that advance sales for summer concerts and upcoming events as of March were $696.2 million, outpacing the same quarter last year by nearly $136 million.
LN's summer promotion includes concerts featuring Aerosmith, Blink-182, Coldplay, Dave Matthews Band, New Kids on the Block, No Doubt, Phish and Toby Keith.