I haven't been to the Sundance Film Festival in 6 years, so visiting their website in search of information on how one should go about purchasing individual tickets to festival events was quite a chore, as well as an eye-opener!
Boy, how expensive a trip to the festival has become! Not that it was significantly cheaper the last time I went, in 2002, but I don't recall being this shell-shocked!
It's quite clear that they prefer attendees purchase one of the pricey packages or festival passes (all in the hundreds and thousands of dollars), as opposed to individual tickets to specific screening events.
Purchasing advance tickets to individual screenings requires several steps: First, one has to register just to be allowed the opportunity to buy individual advance tickets, within a given window of time. And they make it quite clear, during the registration process, that registering guarantees nothing, as tickets are limited and demand is high!
Second, after registering, you are told that after the registration period is over, each registrant will receive an email, which won't happen until December 23rd, indicating whether or not you were assigned a purchase timeslot. If you were assigned a purchase timeslot, your email will include the website to use when purchasing your advance tickets. It doesn't say what will happen if your email does not assign you a purchase timeslot - I'd guess that it would mean you'll be unable to buy advance tickets?!?
The purchase date, the website says, will fall sometime during the second week of January 2009.
This baffles me for obvious reasons! The festival begins on the 15th of January, the second week of the month; so, in essence, you won't even know whether you'll be able to get the tickets you want until the week that the festival begins!
What this means is that, someone like me, who wants to go to the festival, but who isn't rich enough to afford one of their pricey packages or festival passes, will have to blindly book my flight and lodging, uncertain of whether I'd even be able to get tickets to the films I want to see, or panels I want to attend, during the period of my already planned and paid for flight and hotel stay. So, I could very well get to Park City, only to discover that I won't be able to see any films, or attend any panels, because there aren't any tickets available for those few days that I'm there, which would be extremely annoying, and a near-complete waste of my time and money!
I don't think I want to take that chance!
I understand what's going on here... after all, it IS the Sundance Film Festival, and all that the name signifies to film enthusiasts everywhere. So, of course, they can operate this way.
And, not surprisingly, hotel room prices are outrageous for those 10 days of the festival, most requesting minimum night stays, and full payment at the time of registration, which, by the way, is non-refundable!
They have become quite the elitist affair, haven't they? The message seems to be: if you're "poor," don't even bother. Just stay home and follow the festivities on the Internet, just like the other "average" Janes and Joes.
I don't recall how much I spent in 2002 - but, in 2009, if I do attend, I'd say a minimum of $1,000 is about what one can expect to shell out - for a 4-day/3-night stay, including air fare, event tickets and sustenance. $1,000 may actually be low. Unless, of course, you do what I know a lot of others are doing - share costs, by squeezing 5 bodies into a 1-bedroom suite, something I'm averse to doing. 2 bodies, maybe, but not more than that.
Call me a prima donna if you want... but I'm not doing it! :o)
I've received a few bunking offers from acquaintances planning on making the trip, some of them with films in the festival, and I'm considering them all; however, as much as I'd like to go to the festival next month, the more I ponder it, the less likely it is to happen.
I just don't care for the entire scheduling process. Sure, I suppose I could spend $650 on "Ticket Package B," which guarantees me 20 tickets to screenings between January 21st and the 25th. But, that's a lot of money. Or I could spend just $400 on the "Adrenaline Pass;" BUT, as the stipulations state, with that specific pass, I'll only be able to see those films screening BEFORE 10AM, and AFTER 10PM. Great! And it's only $400? Wow! I should rush to purchase it right now!
It's just not the same anymore. With the likes of P Diddy, 50 Cent, Kim Kardashian, and Paris Hilton strutting down Main Street, it's clear to me that things definitely have changed... although whether for the better or worse is debatable.
I think I might have to skip the festival this time around... yet again!
But I can be convinced otherwise, with the right argument in favor.