Jazz Fest ticket prices vs. inflation

Native New Orleanians, long-time Jazz Fest goers, and others like myself who’ve been here awhile remember when ticket prices were well under $20. Now they’re headed rapidly upward — currently at $60.

I just wanted to dispel any doubt that inflation is the cause, so I made a chart in Excel with ticket data points I collected from this Offbeat magazine article that I found via the blog liprap’s lament, and this piece on NOLA.com.

I used this Inflation Calculator to adjust prices for inflation to 2010 prices, and since it’s now 2011 adjusted annual inflation (1.63%) backwards for this year’s prices to 2010 as well.

Here’s the chart. As you can see, the steep increase of prices occurs over the last decade and correcting for inflation barely affects it at all.

Jazz Fest ticket prices over the years (click for full version).

UPDATED: Thanks to Will T. for adding the Gregorian year values.


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4 Responses to “Jazz Fest ticket prices vs. inflation”

  1. Will Says:

    Last time I went, prices were under $20, I believe. That was 1998.

    Perhaps replacing year number with ‘YY would make it easier for people remember/understand.

    Overall, cool graph.

  2. Will Says:

    And I only say that as the note you added to the post is not on the version that you click to embiggen.

  3. aleatoric Says:

    yeah, my Excel skills are a bit rusty. I had the years listed 1970-2011 in the first column, but I couldn’t get the chart to use that for the X-axis. I’d be happy to send you (or anyone) my .xls file if you want to make it snappier.

  4. aleatoric Says:

    To clarify in case of confusion: if inflation were the only cause of increasing prices, the yellow line would be horizontal. In that sense the price didn’t change at all from 1971 to 1988.

    I am not in any way casting aspersions on what could be the other causes of price increase. I’ve heard people say insurance is a big cost. But one would think with what must be a huge sponsorship from a Big Oil company (Shell), they could keep the costs down, even with the addition of bigger and bigger national pop names over the years.

    I know the non-profit half of the operation does many good things for the local music community. And if dollars some dude from Ohio paid to see Jimmy Buffet or Dave Matthews goes to help local musicians keep working, then that’s great.

    What’s lost is the locals who used to make up a big part of the festival’s audience. They’re still there, but by all accounts make up for a much smaller portion of the audience, and it’s no longer a possibility for many working class folks to consider going to the fest. It’s just too expensive.

    What they need is a locals’ discount policy. If you look at the graph, if the 1971-88 price had increased only due to inflation, tickets would be $18. That should be the locals’ price.

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