Why do some venues (Pitchfork, Bonnaroo, lollapalooza, etc. ) hand out free tickets at the gate?

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Later that night after sharing this story with a pitchfork employee he was surprisingly knowledgeable about the ways of festivals such as this and he was able to tell me, in detail, why we (and maybe a 100 other people) got our free tickets.

It was getting dark and the employees still present are tired and ready to go home so the darkness would make it easier for people to sneak in. With the concert nearing its close people would think it's their last chance to get in.

It was getting dark and seeing how the festival was in a bad neighborhood we knew there would be plenty of muggers, drug dealers, and car thieves out to take advantage of the stragglers hanging around. Not only would these kids be let in off the street but others that show up would see the streets empty and not want to hang around.

They assume everyone who could have bought/afforded a ticket by now would have already done so.

Some of these people have been hanging around the fence all day and instead of going home empty handed while complaining about the commercialization of today's music industry they would love the festival for letting them in for free.

All the shops, stalls, and food carts had dwindling business since everyone who wanted a poster, T-shirt, or $6 bratwurst would have had already bought one or would have simply run out of money. This last influx of concert-goers would not only want to take home a souvenir but, having just saved $50+ on admission, they would not feel bad paying even the shops inflated prices.

The ticket readers keep track of how many people are in the park, as people are leaving they would want to replace them with more people, especially those rested an full of energy. This is done so that the videos of the show have as large and energetic a crowd as possible.

This is also done to avoid having artists complain about being on at the end of the day. Not only are most people going to be tired and drowsy but if there are only 2-3 acts left to perform then the only people around are those that would like to see those last few acts.

This list explains why some venues will give out free tickets to people at the gate. This will usually occur towards the end of the day, such as between 4-6 PM. Although if you were to go to the gate even later they may let you in unless you were to stop someone leaving and ask if you can have their ticket or wristband instead. If the festival is for 3-7 days then your chances are best on the last day. Even if someone were to arrive with free tickets they would quickly be collected, therefor the only sure way of getting one is to just wait. Go for a walk around the fence, listen to the music, look at the people, and maybe find a tall place close to the entrance from where you can see the stage. Just hope that if someone does show up you will see/hear them or they'll approach you. Good Luck and I hope this was informative.

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