MIAMI (AP) - Tickets for Miami's Ultra Music Festival are on the rise.
Early bird tickets for the March 2014 electronica festival sold out in just four minutes when they were released online in May at $149.95 a pop. The Miami Herald (http://hrld.us/10PzrPu ) reports advanced tickets that went on sale immediately afterward for $274.95 each sold out in 20 minutes.
That leaves anyone else wanting to attend the multi-day festival at Miami's Bayfront Park will pay $399.95 per ticket - a $100 increase over 2013 prices. With service charges and shipping fees, the Herald says the price rises to $504.95. And VIP tickets are selling for $849 each.
Ultra fan Matthew Agramonte of Kendall says he's been to five festivals, but won't be going next year.
"Ultra is isolating its fan base that simply can't afford outrageous prices. What was once a great experience is a ripoff and a great shame," he told the newspaper.
In a statement, Ultra organizers said blamed rising ticket prices on city fees. They say that ticket prices had remained the same for two years. They said the increase was "unfortunately necessary" to ensure the "premium quality and evolution of Ultra's groundbreaking stage productions and artist lineups."
The Bayfront Park Management Trust said Ultra paid $1.3 million in 2012 for the venue and $3.4 million in 2013, which was the first time the festival expanded to six days over two weekends.
"We had to charge them more because it was two weekends," said Timothy Schmand, executive director of the trust. "It's as simple as that."
So far, a second weekend hasn't been added to the 2014 schedule.
The Herald reports that increased ticket prices have been noted at electronica festivals. But a payment plan used by the Coachella festival in California, which charged $399 in 2013, and the Bonaroo event in Tennessee, which was $235 in 2013, allows fans to pay over five or six months.
The festival, which began in Miami Beach in 1999 as a one-day party with a nominal fee, now takes place in Europe, Asia and South America. As crowds grew each year, the festival moved downtown.
Sam Oropesa of Plantation told The Herald he attended that first festival and paid about $50 for his ticket.
"It wasn't as commercial as it is now," he said. "Now it's just enormous, too many people and the $500 is just ridiculous - I don't know anyone who would justify paying that.
Information from: The Miami Herald, http://www.herald.com
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