TUCSON, Ariz. — DIY venue The Kickplate came under scrutiny last week when a recent show advertised with a $5 cover was actually considerably more expensive once hidden fees and service charges were applied.
“That was so fucked up,” said Andrea Cartwright, who attended the show. “How the fuck can they advertise something as $5 when there’s an extra dollar added in for whatever the fuck a ‘Toilet Paper Fee’ is? I have to pay for the toilet paper? If that’s the case, why wasn’t there any in the bathroom?”
Show promoters defended their right to include unadvertised fees in the cost of admittance, citing the corporate concert world as precedent.
“Everybody does it,” said Harry Shelman, owner of The Kickplate. “You go see Metallica in the UPS Dome or whatever, they tack on $40, $50 to your ticket. When you keep stuff like that in mind, suddenly a $0.75 cash handling surcharge doesn’t seem so predatory, now does it?”
Despite the objections of most in attendance, the consensus seemed to be that while the previously unmentioned additional charges were egregious, the sum wasn’t enough to deter them from paying the full price of $8.30.
“Yeah, it’s a total rip off,” said Ben Moon, another attendee. “But we slammed a bunch of beers in the parking lot so we wouldn’t have to buy $6 tallboys. In that sense, we’re still up a few bucks, even with that ridiculous ‘Offline Ordering Fee.’ Also, I swiped one of the bands’ CDs off the merch table when no one was looking, so I think I actually made money at that show.”
For his part, Shelman maintained that he knew the move would be unpopular, but also one that would be begrudgingly accepted.
“If Pearl Jam suing Ticketmaster in the ’90s didn’t do anything, then what are these glue sniffers going to do?” he asked. “Luckily that band has no punk cred whatsoever, or else these kids might have gotten the idea to fight back against this sort of thing.”
At press time, Shelman was promoting the next event at the venue, which will cost $15 with a date and lineup yet to be determined.
Photo by Shelby Kettrick.