Adele’s £580 tickets are for rich bankers quaffing champagne and arriving at VIP tent by jeep – John Niven

I’ve nothing against Adele. Honestly, I quite like her.

Musically speaking, her love-struck MOR ballads are not for me obviously. I mean, you’d be hard-pressed to get further from the New York Dolls. But I never minded her plucky working-class-lass done well persona.

Until last week, when her management company made the mistake of proudly announcing the ticket prices for her forthcoming Hyde Park shows.

Ready? Here they are…

General Admission: £90.45

Primary Entry: £111.85

Gold: £273.95

Diamond VIP Experience: £379.95

VIP Terrace: £434.95

Ultimate Bar Diamond and Ultimate Terrace: £579.95

You might as well have said…

Regular scumbag: £90.45

Premium Scumbag: £111.85

Own Some Bitcoin: £273.95

Foxtons Partner: £379.95

Hedge Fund Manager: £434.95

Actual Warlord Up To Your Neck In Blood Diamonds: £579.95

The VIP ticket idea – it’s a strategy that has been developed over the last couple of decades. Some bright spark cottoned on to the fact that there were now enough rich middle-aged rock fans with more money than sense.

The kind of nutters who would pay through the nose for “VIP” packages that included things like getting to attend the artist’s soundcheck and maybe get your photo taken with them.

Of course, anyone who has ever worked in the music industry would pay a great deal of money to avoid going to a soundcheck. An extra £1500 to listen to a drummer whacking the snare for 10 minutes? No thanks.

The announcement of the ticket prices was particularly badly timed, coming as it did on the same day that Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled his new Budget, a Budget that will leave the poorest in the country even worse off than they were before, while somehow simultaneously managing to announce a reduction in the price of champagne.

All of this when we have over 2000 food banks in operation and almost five million children living in poverty.

And can you imagine the kind of person who is going to fork out over a thousand pounds for a pair of tickets to the Platinum Jewel and Ruby Encrusted Mega VVIP enclosure? I can. I’ve seen them at Glastonbury…

There’s a certain type of banker and his wife who think it’ll be a laugh to come to the festival but who don’t want to bother with anything as tedious as walking around or going to see any bands they don’t know.

They’ll spend tens of thousands of pounds on corporate entertainment packages that include off-site “glamping”, where they drink their (now cheaper) champagne and eat gourmet barbecue many miles from the festival. They will only see one performance…

When it comes time for the biggest act of the weekend to take the stage – Adele, Ed Sheeran, The Rolling Stones or whoever – banker and wife will be driven onsite in a jeep where they’ll watch 10 minutes and get their perfect Instagram photo taken (“Hey Glasto! Not bad seats!”) before being driven back to the bubbly and the beef short ribs.

And so it will be with Adele’s gig.

After the first few songs the mega-rich who can afford the front-row seats will all b****r off to the VIP bars to quaff cocktails and bray their laughter while Adele looks out at the empty front section and then at her real fans stranded far, far beyond, the ones who could only afford the humble 90 quid tickets.

“Only” 90 quid. Dear God. As I so often do, I imagined the teenage me asking my dear, departed dad for 90 pounds to go to a gig.

And then the sound of him hitting the floor as his actual heart exploded.

I can remember a time when acts treated their fans very differently. I went to see Big Audio Dynamite at the Queen Margaret Union in Glasgow in 1986.

If you had a UB40 to prove you were unemployed, you got 50 pence back. Enough then to get a half-pint of lager at the bar.

Now that was a VIP ticket. Still, all of this – food banks, cheaper champagne, Adele’s ticket prices – did give me an idea for the Tories’ next election campaign advert…

We open on a close-up of an innocent child sleeping. The child is thin and pale, clearly poor and malnourished.

Music fades up: Adele’s Someone Like You.

A huge cow pat falls into shot from above, landing all over the kid’s face. The words ‘VOTE CONSERVATIVE’ appear on the screen.

Thank you, Saatchi and Saatchi – that’ll be a million quid.


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