"Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord,
But a just weight is His delight."
We'd heard in the past about C3 productions getting sweetheart deals for various events in Central Austin, but the details in this morning's Statesman are ASTONISHING:
As far as I could tell from being a short lady in the cheap seats, the “tunnel” was actually part of a passageway for holders the Platinum viewing pass. The retail price of the Platinum pass was $3,600. It’s just one of the many upper-tier packages that the ACL Festival offers for people both willing and able to pay for increased amenities that don’t come with a plain-ole $250, three-day ACL admission wristband.Read the whole thing here.
It seems that every year more and more of the prime shady spaces of Zilker Park are taken for even more exclusive and restricted uses of the Austin City Limits festival. Looking at this division of the ACL audience, I couldn’t help feeling that as an Austin resident, that I’d been stolen from and was having my pilfered goods sold back to me! Even more brazenly, I was being offered better temporary use of my purloined goods if I agreed to pay more money to the corporate entity holding them.
According to research by the American-Statesman: “The city this year is charging C3 Presents $97,720 for the use of Zilker Park and other expenses. The city also gets a cut of each ticket sold.” That’s chump change for an organization that had gross sales of more than $124 million in 2013, according to Billboard.
In return, the Austin-based C3 Presents gets exclusive use of Zilker Park for two weekends a year, plus the time it takes to set up and tear down the festival.
In comparison, as part of a multiyear contract, C3 Presents pays $1.5 million each year for the use of Grant Park in Chicago, money that’s paid even if the Lollapalooza music festival doesn’t happen!
I acknowledge that C3 Presents has contributed more than $10 million since the festival started in 2002 to improve Austin’s parks, as well as putting $5 million dollars towards the Auditorium Shores renovation project. Spread out over a decade, this still isn’t that much money in the high-dollar corporate world. Last year, Billboard reported that the total gross of the 2014 ACL festival was more than $38 million.
It’s ridiculous that the residents of Austin, some of whom are greatly inconvenienced by the festival, get so little in return for giving up use of prime parkland for more than a month. Among the problems the festival brings: neighborhoods near the park have to deal with traffic and noise, traffic around the festival location is much worse during the event, and casual chats with some downtown restaurants over the last few days have revealed that more than one establishment is unusually slow during ACL because their regular patrons don’t show up.
Bottom Line: This is grotesque.