Three-tier pricing in effect as Hillside Festival eyes change |

The situation got a lot worse in 2016, with Hillside estimating it sold 58% of its weekend passes, almost all of its Saturday passes, two-thirds of its Sunday passes and under one-third of its Friday evening passes.

For 2017, Hillside is trying a new pricing strategy — a three-tier, step-up pricing system that has seen weekend passes available for $129 plus tax since Jan. 3. The price goes up to $139 plus tax on May 1, and up to $149 plus tax starting July 1.

The new pricing strategy aims to encourage people to buy tickets early, which boosts Hillside’s cash flow, Zimmerman said in an interview Monday. She said the festival’s marketing committee thought three-tier pricing would be a good way to “galvanize more commitment early on, just give people an incentive.”

The line-up for this summer’s Hillside Festival isn’t yet finalized, but it will be announced before the second-tier pricing takes effect May 1, said Zimmerman.

Weekend passes currently can be bought at The Bookshelf, in person at the Hillside office at 341 Woolwich St., or online through Ticketfly. Seniors’ weekend passes and individual day passes will be available online in the spring. Children 12 and under get into Hillside for free, so no tickets are needed for them.

Although it has adopted this form of three-tier pricing, Zimmerman said, Hillside isn’t like a lot of festivals that sell VIP tickets offering side-stage or back-stage access or “glamping” – glamorous camping — for a higher price.

“We don’t offer that sort of thing,” she said. “One of our principles remains egalitarianism, so we just don’t pander to this notion that your money can buy you special access to features of the festival.”

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Three-tier pricing in effect as Hillside Festival eyes change |