A few weeks ago I mentioned that I’d bought Early Bird tickets to this year’s Hop Farm festival, without sight of the bill and wondered rhetorically how bad the bill could actually be; surely I was on a winner, paying a mere early-bird £125 a throw for three days of music?
The NME website broke a story one Wednesday a few weeks ago naming the acts which had not been paid for performing at last year’s festival; they were substantial acts owed substantial amounts. Later that morning on Facebook came an announcement from the organisers insisting that Hop Farm 2013 would go ahead and that there would be an announcement of the bill soon.
On 25 March, the bill went up on the Hop farm website. The first thing that leaps out at one is that it is now a two day festival rather than three days; the second is that there is an absence of acts of the stature of those from the last four years (Dylan twice, Ray Davies twice, Neil Young, Prince, Patti Smith twice, Primal Scream etc.) Headliners on Friday are My Bloody Valentine and on Saturday, Rodriguez.
To be absolutely fair on this last point, the bill for 2013 as it is seems to be perfectly good value for money at £110 for a two day weekend compared to what is on offer at other UK festivals of this size; I think it’s more the case that Hop Farm has been outrageously lucky (or something) to have been able to offer the bills it has for the price it has over the last four years.
Anyway, I didn’t make a mistake there when I said it was £110 for the weekend ticket; this is the price for the revised two day event, rather than the £125 I had paid for the advertised three day event as an early bird.
At first, I thought this was a good thing – I knew I’d bought tickets for an event advertised as over three days and given the strength of the two day bill, it didn’t seem massively cost effective for us to travel from Edinburgh to Kent for just two days. Surely I could just ask for the money back as I had bought one product (a three day festival) and was now being offered given another (a two day festival?)
Sadly, on checking the tickets, there was no reference to a number of days, only that the festival would be “on the weekend of 6 July.” The Terms & Conditions which had now appeared on the Hop farm website also reserved the right to change the form of the festival, so I knew this ploy wouldn’t fly; I had the tickets, like it or not.
There was also an 0207 number on the website for contact, which I called and was delighted to speak to a really helpful woman, when I was expecting an answering machine or automated service. It was late in the day and she told me they had been trying to find a way of sorting the early adopters out for the £15 difference in the ticket price; she said she would call me the next day and did so, subsequent to which I sent scans of the tickets on her request over a week ago. Still haven’t heard anything back.
With no disrespect to the artists performing this year (Dinosuar Jr – yup, MBV, yup, First Aid Kit, probably,) I can’t quite justify the trip for only two days – strangely, for a similar bill over three days, there would have been no question. Apparently Tracy Chapman was booked for the Sunday but pulled out, which made it ineffective to run anything on the Sunday…) Looks like the tickets might be going up on eBay soon…
Thanks again to Marie for Hop Farm 2012 images.