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Wednesday, October 4, 2023


Free Press’ new winter festival: too expensive for targeted demographic

Free Press Houston recently announced a new winter festival that will combine music with digital art.

Day for Night, a two-day concert set for Dec. 19-20, is the monthly publication’s newest and biggest project.

The blind pre-sale general admission tickets start at $135 — the price of a textbook for some college students.

We appreciate that Free Press is trying new things, but those ticket prices are nothing to be excited about.

“We always knew we wanted to produce a large-scale winter event, but we don’t want to just put on another festival,” Free Press Houston Publisher Omar Afra said in the announcement. “This one has to be different.”

The idea for a digital-art music festival is creative. The fact that it’s in the winter, when there are virtually no other festivals and not in the dreadful Houston heat is also great, but $135 is a lot to ask of a 20-something college student, living off Ramen noodles.

According to Free Press’ website, the festival definitely will be something different. Festival producers plan to use creative technology and interactive and experimental design to create “controlled environments with stages featuring live music performances.”

Free Press’ summer concert, Free Press Summer Fest, brings in tens of thousands of people and millions of dollars for the bayou city. According to an economic impact study conducted by UH and the Houston Business Journal, last year’s summer festival brought in $14 million to the Houston economy.

Even the VIP passes, which cost $350, aren’t worth it. The perks don’t include meeting the artists, which to some defies the purpose of a VIP pass.

According to the Free Press website, the winter festival “promises to be a visceral experience for the eyes and ears…The festival will be focused on emerging technology and sound, and how audiences experience them.”

This festival will be a great addition to the art scene in Houston. However, for the festival’s targeted demographic, those ticket prices aren’t worth it, especially if the lineup hasn’t been released yet.

In its first year, Day for Night can’t ask for so much without the audience what they’re in for.

If Free Press wants to cater to their audience, they should look at the whole picture.

—The Cougar Editorial Board


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