It's no secret that concert ticket prices are going up again in Los Angeles. The new average ceiling is $17.50, the price tag for recent concerts--or upcoming shows--by Ozzy Osbourne, Van Halen and Stevie Nicks. Even steeper will be the $19.50 top ticket price for the Eurythmics show at the Greek.
But here's the really bad news: You can't buy that $17.50 ticket for $17.50 at most halls--even at their box offices. To see a show at halls like the Universal Amphitheatre, the Pacific Amphitheatre, Irvine Meadows, the Greek Theatre or the Hollywood Palladium, concert-goers have to pay an extra $1 or $1.50 "facility fee" service charge, which is tacked on to the regular ticket price.
It's no wonder fans are complaining. The upcoming Julian Lennon shows at Irvine Meadows and Universal Amphitheatre cost $17.50, but if you get tickets at Ticketron, you have to pay a service charge. And even if you buy them at either location's box-office, you have to pay a facility fee (and that's not counting a few extra dollars for parking fees charged at many facilities).
What's going on here?
"Our people--the MCA management--came to us and said, 'Hey, we've spent $23 million building a new facility and we've got to find ways to help pay for it,' " explained Larry Vallon, the executive vice president of the Universal Amphitheatre, which began charging a $1 facility fee May 1. "Most of our competitors had already instituted fees or charges. We resisted as long as we could, but in order for us to retire our debt and remain competitive with the other halls, we felt we had to go along."