Mattox: Why classic rock festival Desert Trip is worth the money

Randi Mattox

The first and only Desert Trip festival will take over the popular Coachella festival grounds in Indio, California, for two weekends in October. This once in a lifetime event will bring audiences three nights of concerts from some of the most iconic bands in the classic rock genre. The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Neil Young, The Who, and Roger Waters are all set to perform. _NewDesertTrip.comGrass_left2_24x18

Tickets for this event sold out on Desert Trip’s website in less than three hours, leaving those who want to attend the only option of purchasing tickets through third party websites like Ticket Master or Stub Hub. The original cost for a three-day pass to Desert Trip was $400, but buying a ticket through another source is currently costing fans upwards of $1000. 


That is a lot of money for a festival, and it doesn’t even include the costs of travel, food and lodging. But as someone who genuinely loves classic rock music and all of the artists that will be performing, I believe that the tickets are totally worth it. In fact, I would go as far to say that the tickets are priceless. 

Every band is a must-see

I would say this for many reasons. First, the bands are absolutely legendary. Bob Dylan basically wrote the soundtrack to the social revolution, and his music has prompted more change than any other artist, writer or band ever will. Just being in the presence of someone who has made such a lasting impact on the world is worth $1000 in my eyes, and I would know. I saw him in concert last summer and although his performance abilities have dwindled with age, listening to the songs that opened so many people’s eyes to injustices in the world and coming from the man who wrote them was something that I will never forget. 

All of the bands that will be playing at Desert Trip are of equal caliber. The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney and The Who were all pioneers in forming the sound and popularity of classic rock. Neil Young gave a new meaning to protest music with his politically poignant lyrics. And Roger Waters, through his participation in the band Pink Floyd, branded the psychedelic branch of classic rock. If you love classic rock, all of these acts are must-sees. 

The pricing is actually relatively reasonable 

Another reason Desert Trip Festival is worth the cost is the sheer number of bands performing. When lumped all together, $1000 to see six iconic bands in one venue during one weekend is actually not unreasonable, especially if you add up what it would cost to see each band individually. As previously mentioned, I have seen Bob Dylan in concert, and that ticket was $200. I have also seen The Rolling Stones at $100 for the worst seats in the stadium. So if we assume that tickets to see these bands individually average at about $150, then the cost to see all of them individually would be $900. So while the price sounds rather expensive, it’s really not that when you consider all of the shows that the ticket covers. 

Desert Trip might be the last big show for some of the bands

Desert Trip is a true example of a once in a lifetime experience. This is mainly because the bands are so iconic, but this is also because the bands are really old. To be frank, I don’t think these bands will be performing at very many more festivals before they retire. Lead singer of The Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger, lead singer of The Who, Roger Daltrey, and Roger Waters are all 72 years old. Neil Yong is 70, Paul McCartney is 73 and Bob Dylan is 75. I’m not saying that all of them will retire after Desert Trip, but people wanting to attend the festival should really take into consideration that this might be the last big show for some of these acts. 

Desert Trip is going to be the event of the year; the Coachella for classic rock fans; the Woodstock of the 21st century. I’ll admit that I myself will not be attending on account of the costs, but if I had $1000, as financially irresponsible as it might be for a college student, I would be spending it all on this festival. Every last cent. 

Collegian Arts and Culture Editor Randi Mattox can be reached at or on Twitter @randimattox.