Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

VIP tickets all the rage for big shows

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Two grand can't buy you love, but it will get you a front-row seat at this summer's Paul McCartney concert.

Maybe you'll be amazed, but the former Beatles member is selling special Front Row VIP packages for $1,996 apiece, plus a $4 fee -- making it possibly the most expensive ticket for a concert ever sold in Winnipeg.

But Kevin Donnelly, vice-president of True North Sports & Entertainment, says to let it be because VIP packages are becoming standard for concerts.

"Many artists now offer VIP packages, which offer an enhanced experience," Donnelly said on Thursday.

"I don't know if there are 10 seats or 100 there, but value is in the eye of the individual... It's all about service and enhanced experience."

Regular tickets for the Aug. 12 concert, ranging from $48 to $275 apiece, get a seat. But for $2,000, a concertgoer not only gets a front-row floor ticket in front of the stage, but also:

  • A special entrance;
  • Invitation to the sound check;
  • Pre-show hospitality reception;
  • An exclusive merchandise item;
  • A collectible laminate;
  • On-site event management staff.

Don't have $2,000? Well, there are three other cheaper VIP packages, including the Hot Sound Package for $1,500 -- much the same as Front Row Package except it has a premium floor ticket instead of front row -- $685 for the Gold Hot Ticket Package and $475 for the Silver Hot Ticket package, both of which only have a ticket, merchandise item and laminate.

"This also squeezes the scalper out," Donnelly said.

"You are reminded when you get the rare occasion to work with people like this about the depth and breadth of their music. I've said it before, and I try not to say it, but people like this might have 10 more appearances in New York or Los Angeles in their future, but some won't make it back to Winnipeg.

"We waited 20 years to see Paul McCartney again. If we waited another 20, it won't happen."

Donnelly said the recent Bon Jovi concert featured $573 seats in the front row.

"They weren't VIP packages, but he sells out those tickets in every single town he plays in.

"And with Bon Jovi, you literally left with the chair you sat on."

Donnelly said other VIP concert packages have featured a chance to listen to sound checks, to go backstage and have the artist sing two or three songs with an acoustic guitar, and to get a picture taken with the musician.

"The people who go in them rave about them."

kevin.rollason@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 26, 2013 A8

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