Home Music festival What It’s Like To Have A $2,000 Music Festival VIP Pass

What It’s Like To Have A $2,000 Music Festival VIP Pass

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Anyone who’s ever attended a music festival knows that using the bathroom is a boring chore at best and a test of how long you can hold your breath and bladder at worst.

However, Saturday afternoon in Outside Lands, armed with my Golden Gate Club bracelet, this experience was “elevated”. Instead of waiting to exhale, I take a deep breath as I clean my hands in the spacious lavatory trailer with mid-tier designer soap (public goods, if you must know). Next, I spritzed myself with a face mist that smelled like fresh linens from a boutique hotel.

A wristband that grants access to this luxurious bathroom, plus a host of other perks, including access to the front of the stage, costs $1,995 for one day, plus fees (l general admission is $175). I was given media access to this exclusive wonderland in order to experience the grandeur and report back to you, the reader who probably spends this amount of money on a month’s pandemic-reduced rent in a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco ($2,341). Or if you’re feeling spontaneous, a flight to Tokyo with a day’s notice ($1,975 round-trip).

Festival-goers hang out on couches at the Golden Gate Club at Outside Lands in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, California on August 6, 2022.

Douglas Zimmerman/SFGATE

Behind the Golden Gates of Outside Lands

The most visible perk is access to a lounge literally above the usual VIP area ($395/day), a second-floor open-air palace overlooking the Lands End stage. The walls of the Golden Gate Club were draped in plush curtains, with sofas that looked like they were pulled from a “Bridgerton” set. The atmosphere was created by renowned interior designer Ken Fulk, whose name probably means something to people who have two grand to spend to see Post Malone (which admittedly exceeded my expectations).

While hanging out in this area, I snacked on “free” caviar, soft-shell crab BLTs and golden lattes, as well as signature martinis made by a bartender at my favorite local cocktail bar, True Laurel. There were wine tastings and mezcal tastings and mushroom-cactus tincture tastings, so very many tastings, for about 200 guests per day with a very refined taste.

Food prepared by Boulevard chefs is available at the Golden Gate Club at Outside Lands in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, California on August 6, 2022.
Food prepared by Boulevard chefs is available at the Golden Gate Club at Outside Lands in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, California on August 6, 2022.Douglas Zimmerman/SFGATE

As fun as it is to delve into the unique breed of wealthy San Franciscans around me, the crowd didn’t give me much to tweet about. The Golden Gate Club was full of influencers dressed in black or white, rock and roll CEOs Branson-Bezos, self-healing wine mothers and, most curiously, bored teenagers. Several bartenders told me that the customers were less sloppy than those in GA, and the tip jars were topped up with $20 (maybe that was the reason for the kind words).

My first question was why would anyone spend so much money on a bracelet for their kid, who can’t even taste a Martini Del Mar (Grey Whale gin, lo-fi dry vermouth, seaside tincture). The answer, which I will delve into later, is that in 2022, music festivals are a game of young people.

Separate bathrooms are available in the VIP section of the Golden Gate Club at Outside Lands in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, California on August 6, 2022.
Separate bathrooms are available in the VIP section of the Golden Gate Club at Outside Lands in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, California on August 6, 2022.Douglas Zimmerman/SFGATE

A music festival super power

Once you’ve been out of college for a few years and have seen most of the festival-caliber bands by now, the inconvenience of a music festival outweighs the fun. When you can stream Phoebe Bridgers from your couch (or surprise her at an afterparty at the Independent), there’s a lot less appeal to staying up for eight hours pretending not to cry in a crowd of 75 000 foreigners.

Mark Bright speaks with a customer about the wines available at the Golden Gate Club at Outside Lands in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, California on August 6, 2022.
Mark Bright speaks with a customer about the wines available at the Golden Gate Club at Outside Lands in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, California on August 6, 2022.Douglas Zimmerman/SFGATE

The practical value of the Golden Gate Club pass is that it removes the uncomfortable friction that drives older music lovers out of the festival circuit. It doesn’t pay for Uber’s rush prices, but otherwise every pain point is mitigated – there’s a private entrance/exit, coat check, charging stations, wifi and a concierge with festival essentials easily forgotten like sunscreen (SPF 50, no less).

For me, aside from the bathrooms, the most impressive part of the whole experience was “Mr. Fulk’s Wild Ride.” It’s not a Disneyland attraction, but rather the festival’s ultimate superpower: a golf cart. Just call a janitor in a green jacket and he’ll call you a ride, which will move around the paths behind the scenes.

Anyone who’s taken 35,000 steps in the past two days knows that long walks between steps mean you’ll miss a few acts due to time and energy constraints. But thanks to these Wild Rides, you can go from Lands End to Twin Peaks in 10 minutes flat, allowing a (very rich) mortal to achieve the impossible: see both SZA and Phoebe Bridgers. And what’s more, the cart essentially drops you in the front row of the stage, in a fenced-in area with a cooler of “free” beers.

SFGATE Culture Editor Dan Gentile enjoys a soft-shell crab BLT at the Golden Gate Club at Outside Lands in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, Calif., on August 6, 2022.
SFGATE Culture Editor Dan Gentile enjoys a soft-shell crab BLT at the Golden Gate Club at Outside Lands in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, Calif., on August 6, 2022.Douglas Zimmerman/SFGATE

welcome to Paradise

When Green Day started playing around 8 p.m., the borrowed privilege of my golden ticket was finally earned. The 17-year-old version of me who surfed in a “Nimrod” t-shirt at a Green Day show in Austin, Texas would be very confused. Instead of watching from the front row, I spent most of the set sitting in my royal perch at the Golden Gate Club, sipping a surprisingly nice golden latte while watching the biggest crowd I’ve ever seen.

The view of the Polo Fields and Lands End stage from the Golden Gate Club at Outside Lands in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, California on August 6, 2022.
The view of the Polo Fields and Lands End stage from the Golden Gate Club at Outside Lands in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, California on August 6, 2022.Douglas Zimmerman/SFGATE

The sound was fabulous thanks to a personal PA speaker hanging behind me, and I wasn’t crazy about a plush sofa after all these steps. Watching from above as Billie Joe Armstrong ordered the sea of ​​fans to hold their cellphone lights up was legitimately one of the most memorable moments from decades of concerts.

When I walked out of the club and down to the much cheaper other level of the VIP viewing area I had plenty of room and still felt pretty close to the stage – but as a teenager I would have wanted to be as close to the stadium as possible. Thinking back to the Austin Music Hall show, I realized the appeal of blowing a bag on a ticket for a child. There’s nothing that would have made my parents greater heroes than hailing a golf cart to take me straight to the front row. And from an adult’s perspective, exclusive access allays the fear that their child will end up in a dangerous situation (like, say, a mosh pit in central Texas).

Hope you had the time of your life

Priceless parenting flex aside, is that $2,000 bill worth it?

As for the bottom line, even a GA experience will cost at least $300 a day if you’re eating, drinking, and Lyfting. Spending $500 wouldn’t be out of the question if you want to take home a nice OSL blanket or visit Grasslands. That extra thousand dollars gets you lambchop sliders and mezcal margaritas, the ability (and energy) to see more bands, front-row access, and perhaps most importantly, those luxuriously clean bathrooms. .

Festival-goers hang out on couches at the Golden Gate Club at Outside Lands in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, California on August 6, 2022.

Festival-goers hang out on couches at the Golden Gate Club at Outside Lands in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, California on August 6, 2022.

Douglas Zimmerman/SFGATE

So after all of this, would I – a person who has absolutely no financial capacity to purchase this level of ticket – consider purchasing this level of ticket? If the lineup was co-directed by Frank Ocean and Brian Eno, and I just found a bag of cash on the sidewalk, of course. The Golden Gate Club pass made Outside Lands feel like a quiet getaway, rather than an exhausting, fun day out with future pop stars and my inner teenager’s favorite punk band. This frictionless experience might be worth the cost of a plane upgrade, but there’s no way I’m paying the price for a full vacation.

But the next time I go to a festival, I’ll be sure to bring my own face spray and bask in the affordable luxury of a rosemary-scented mist.

Facial Mist is available to spray after using the Golden Gate Club bathroom at Outside Lands in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, California on August 6, 2022.
Facial Mist is available to spray after using the Golden Gate Club bathroom at Outside Lands in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, California on August 6, 2022.Douglas Zimmerman/SFGATE