As someone who has gone to festivals since the 90’s, I was incredibly thrown by the introduction to ticket levels giving you access to different areas. The more you pay, the closer you are to the stage. This may have gone on back then too but not to my knowledge. I have always been against this in the past, I felt that it was unfair to those who couldn’t afford it and took away the fun of getting in early and standing at the front all day long. However, having now experienced both, I now look at it from different perspectives.
The cons are still as I have stated above, not really in favour for those with less finances but I do believe BST Hyde Park have payment plans in place to make this more affordable. Finances aside I am going to talk about the pros and cons of these Gold Circle tickets.
The Pros of the Gold Circle is a more limited capacity. For me, I felt at ease being able to dip in and out of the Gold Circle to do various things such as getting drinks and food and so on and not having to worry about getting/losing a good spot. The front of the section is of course going to be harder to get in and out of without saving a spot via a friend as it will be taken right away and it isn’t really a spot you can just turn up at later in the evening without having been there already with other people to save your spot. Anywhere in the Gold Circle though is a good spot and we found sitting at the back against the back barrier the perfect spot as it was easy to find each other when we went out and back in again as we didn’t have to push people out of the way by standing in front of them. In my experience of a few nights in the Gold Circle, it never got too crowded so we always had plenty of space (this is at the back). It seemed most places were spacious but I guess that also depends on the artist and how relaxed or rowdy their audience can be. We did walk through the Diamond Area and that was lovely to be so close and also was spacious most of the day (front rows not included) so again, depending on your budget, Diamond would be an amazing experience but Gold is close enough.
Another pro is if you buy the Gold Circle ticket which gives you access to the VIP Hydeaway area (not the Summer Garden area) then you have a really nice and relaxed seating area with private bars and food vendors who rarely have a queue if at all. I think every time I was in there the most to a queue was about five people. In that area was a large bar, a Pizza vendor, a Vegan vendor , Ice cream van and one more which I unfortunately cannot remember what they sold, I think it may have been wraps. The prices of these vendors aren’t cheaper than the main area and the choice is limited but you can go anywhere in general admission and get food from there and bring it back to the hydeaway. There are a lot of seats and bean bags so most of the day you will find somewhere to sit and it really is quite peaceful.
Another pro is toilets, never a queue and much cleaner. All of this is within close proximity of each other and close to the stage. In fact, the entrance to the entire event for Gold and VIP Hydeaway is on the opposite side of general admission so you don’t have to walk a long way through crowds of people to get to the main stage as it is a short walk. The Hydeaway is then literally on the left as you enter.
This Gold/VIP entrance is also next to the Birdcage stage and a merchandise stall which often has less people queuing. Both Gold Circle and Gold Circle VIP Hydeaway allow you entry one hour before general admission which also makes things a lot easier in terms of long queues to get in and a mad rush to the front of your designated area.
The prices…now these tend to vary per show. I think for Eagles, The Gold Circle VIP Hydeaway were around £170 each. This is quite different for Bruce Springsteen as are over £300 for that area.
It really does depend on what you want from the event and how big of a fan you are of the artist, what your budget is and if your entire group or person whom you are going with is also willing to spend the money. It is fun to go alone too though as it is easy to make temporary friends in the same section if you wish to. I personally loved it and found it worth it for the artists I love, Pearl Jam especially but I also like less crowds, nicer toilets and less queues so it all works for me personally. It should be noted that I went as Media but having experienced this area, if it was an artist I loved, I would be willing to pay the price (within reason of course) as I like to be able to walk around with ease and get food and drink.
Have you been in Gold or Diamond circle? If so what did you think of it? Or are you curious to try it or don’t agree with it?