How do ticket prices nowadays compare to prices in the 80s?

You never think a simple rummage through your parents’‭ ‬old knick-knacks would lead to a full research project and eventually an article‭ ‬‮–‬‭ ‬yet here I am‭. ‬

Merchandise booklet from The Police tour.

After looking through my dads’ stuff I stumbled across some concert tickets‭ ‬‮–‬‭ ‬I was intrigued due to my keen interest in music‭, ‬however, it wasn’t the artist or the venue or even the worn-down condition of the tickets that attracted me to delve in further‭, ‬no‭, ‬it was the price on the tickets‭. ‬

Most fans would be willing to pay over-the-odds to see their favourite band nowadays‭. ‬It’s difficult to imagine seeing big artists like Beyonce‭, ‬Adele or Ed Sheeran for any less than‭ ‬£50‭ ‬‮–‬‭ ‬yet these artists sell out tours with tickets these prices‭, ‬and even spark huge re-sales on ticket-selling websites for up‭ ‬to‭ ‬£1000‭ – much to most of the artists’ dismay.

So‭, ‬just imagine seeing one of these artists for as little as‭ ‬£8.40‭ ‬‮–‬‭ ‬kids back in the 80s did just that‭. ‬After looking through my dads’‭ ‬historic tickets to see The Smiths in 1984‭ , it would have cost him‭ ‬£8.40‭ ‬in today’s money‭, ‬as well as bands like New Order for‭ ‬£12.94‭, ‬just‭ ‬£16.71‭ ‬for the Liverpool City Council Benefit featuring The Smiths‭, ‬New Order‭, ‬John Cooper Clarke and The Fall and arguably the most famous at the time The Police in 1980‭ ‬for just‭ ‬£20‭ ‬‮–‬‭ ‬reasonably priced compared to an Ed Sheeran concert costing double‭, ‬if not triple the price‭.‬

Merchandise price list from The Police Tour.

Another issue fans face is merchandise prices‭ – ‬especially at tours‭. ‬Artists charge over the odds‭, ‬starting at around‭ ‬£30‭ ‬for a tour t-shirt‭. ‬Most fans often are willing to pay this as well‭, ‬as they feel this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to‭ ‬buy these items‭, ‬to prove that they attended‭.

‬However‭, ‬in a lot of cases, the artists then end up selling this merchandise online after their tour anyway‭ – ‬and often at lower prices‭. ‬I looked into old merchandise‭ – ‬for example‭, ‬The Police who charged around‭ ‬£4‭ ‬for a t-shirt‭, ‬and‭ ‬£8‭ ‬for a sweatshirt‭. ‬However nowadays they charge‭ ‬£30+‭ ‬for a t-shirt and up to‭ ‬£60‭ ‬for a sweatshirt‭. ‬It has become apparent that nowadays merch prices are extravagant and not catered towards all fans‭, ‬as many‭ ‬would struggle to afford these extravagant prices‭.‬

Artists like Beyonce and Justin Bieber also charge extortionate prices for their merchandise‭, ‬starting at around‭ ‬£40‭ ‬for a t-shirt‭, ‬and‭ ‬£60+‭ ‬for a sweatshirt or any other type of merchandise‭. ‬However‭, ‬these artists have created a more revolutionary way to sell more‭ ‬by making their merchandise appealing to even those who are fans‭ – ‬their merchandise is considered‭ ‬‘fashionable’‭ ‬amongst young people‭, ‬and so not just worn by a fan‭.‬

For example‭, ‬Justin Bieber’s range of merchandise is sold in Topshop and Topman throughout the UK‭.‬

When researching‭, ‬I felt it would be interesting to look into whether some of the artists my Dad saw back in the 80s still charged appropriate prices for their gigs‭. ‬

Morrisey recently performing, ©WikiCommons, 2017

I decided to focus on The Smiths‭, ‬as Morrissey is still touring‭. ‬I found out that in 1991‭ ‬Morrissey charged only‭ ‬£12‭ ‬for tickets‭ ‬‮–‬‭ ‬still extremely reasonable for the time‭, ‬whereas the most recent tour charged up to‭ ‬£50‭ ‬for a ticket‭ – ‬which arguably may be a decent price to see a renowned musician live‭, ‬yet when considering how cheap prices were up until the early 2000’s it seems prices are continuing to escalate‭.‬

The price of tickets and merchandise nowadays arguably seems to take advantage of the youngsters who would do anything to see their favourite singer or band in concert and be able to take away ultimately a piece of the artist home with them‭. ‬This inevitably puts a lot of pressure on parents/guardians as they want to provide everything for their children‭ – ‬without breaking the bank‭.‬‭ ‬

Looking back on the cheap prices of concerts back in the 80’s‭, ‬it made me question whether artists in this day and age are as passionate about their music‭ ‬‮–‬‭ ‬is there a need for artists to‭ ‬perform at big venues‭, ‬therefore inflating ticket prices‭, ‬as apposed to wanting to provide a smaller intimate gig for their fans‭ ‬and more of them‭ ‬‮–‬‭ ‬ultimately providing a better experience for both artist and fans alike‭.‬

The Comeback Kids

Comebacks and reunions have always been a‭ ‬‘thing’‭ ‬throughout the eras‭, ‬with musical artists and bands dramatically splitting up‭, ‬only for them to return with a bang a few years‭ ‬later‭. ‬It seems most artists reform due to lack of money‭, ‬and in most bands’‭ ‬cases due to lack of solo career success‭. ‬More often than not‭, ‬bands’‭ ‬reunions start with the iconic‭ ‬‘reunion tour’‭. ‬This tends to attract a bigger audience‭, ‬for those who didn’t get the chance to see them during their childhood‭, ‬or those who may not even have been fans but are intrigued to see how the reunion will go‭ ‬‮–‬‭ ‬a great money-making scheme for even the worst of reunions‭.‬

Artists such as Busted‭, ‬Blink 182‭, ‬Fall Out Boy‭, ‬MGMT‭, ‬Britney Spears and Liam Gallagher have all returned recently to music‭, ‬followed by a successive climb of fame‭, ‬fortune‭, ‬and even a new wave of fans‭. ‬Artists that reform may have a tendency to stick to‭ ‬their original sound‭, ‬however, substantial success could come in the shape of an artist trying something new and fans still sticking by them‭.‬

Blink-182‭ ‬fan Jordan Newall‭ (‬see image‭) ‬was over the moon when he heard his favourite childhood band were reforming in 2016‭ ‬for‭ ‬their first headlining tour since their 20th-anniversary tour in 2011‭. ‬The‭ ‬‘California’‭ ‬Tour supported the bands’ seventh studio album and featured support acts Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls and The Front Bottoms‭.‬

Jordan Newall in the Blink 182 Tour T-Shirt

‭ ‬Long-time fan Jordan saw the band at Liverpool Echo Arena back in 2017‭, ‬and said that the concert was one of the best nights of‭ ‬his life‭ ‬“the atmosphere was incredible‭, ‬everyone sang along to every song‭ ‬‮–‬‭ ‬the old and the new‭. ‬The band were so good at getting everyone hyped‭, ‬it was like surreal seeing my favourite childhood band on stage‭, ‬I loved it‭.‬”‭

The bands most recent album‭ ‬‘California’‭ ‬named after their origins‭, ‬still sounds like their old traditional pop-punk style music‭, ‬much to the appreciation of fans‭, ‬showing they haven’t changed their iconic original sound since they first formed in 1992‭. ‬

Subsequently‭, ‬fans still feel like it’s the same band only improved‭, ‬Jordan stated‭ ‬“I was worried I would hate the new music‭. ‬I had no idea if the sound would change or not‭, ‬especially compared to the iconic‭ ‬‘Enema Of The State’‭ ‬album‭, ‬but I was surprised I actually loved the album‭ ‬and liked every song on it as well‭, ‬which made the tour even more exciting‭, ‬‘cos it was the classics as well as their new stuff‭. ‬And it was good‭ ‬‘cos people actually didn’t just sing to the old stuff which I thought they would‭.‬”‭.‬img_2446


It seems the bands’ reformation wasn’t a flop‭, ‬with the tour selling out‭, ‬making a staggering‭ $‬2.8M from its first 28‭ ‬shows‭, ‬with 119‭ ‬shows in total and an attendance of 745,395‭.

However‭, ‬some bands only set out to reunite for a reunion tour‭ ‬‮–‬‭ ‬with the intention to simply excite fans‭, ‬or earn some money before going off the radar again‭.

‬A prime example of this was with pop-punk band Busted‭, ‬the‭ ‬‘est.2002’‭ ‬band‭ (‬featuring members James Bourne‭, ‬Matt Willis and Charlie Simpson‭) ‬were teenage heartthrobs in their day‭, ‬following a similar sound to bands like Green Day‭, ‬Blink 182‭ ‬and Sum 41‭ ‬‮–‬‭ ‬but with a British twist‭. ‬Despite the bands’ success during their 3‭ ‬years active‭, ‬they only had 4‭ ‬number ones and only two of their three albums managed to make it into the top 10‭ ‬‮–‬‭ ‬regardless of the‭ ‬fact they had 3‭ ‬sell-out tours during this time‭.

All of Busted’s albums to-date.

It came with a huge outcry in 2005‭ ‬when the band announced they were splitting up‭, ‬due to Simpson wanting to focus his efforts on‭ ‬being part of heavy metal band Fightstar‭. ‬Myself‭ ‬and thousands across the country were inevitably disappointed by this‭ ‬‮–‬‭ ‬seeing‭ ‬their favourite band breakup with no real promise of ever getting back together‭, ‬simply saying they couldn’t go on without a member‭, ‬saying they’re not going to retire‭, ‬but haven’t thought about the future‭.

‬The members each did their own solo stuff‭, ‬with Bourne firstly forming his own pop-punk band‭ ‬‘Son Of Dork’‭ ‬and then went on to have his own solo career under the identity‭ ‬‘Future Boy’‭, ‬although Bourne did have some success with a sell-out acoustic tour‭, ‬it was short-lived and led to him writing his own musical‭ ‬‘Loserville’‭ ‬based on a single he released with Son Of Dork‭, ‬this musical proved a success and led to Bourne working on two other musicals before the famous forming of the super-group‭ ‬‘McBusted’‭.‬

Matt Willis also went on to do his own solo stuff‭, ‬signing to label Mercury Records and releasing three original singles and one‭ ‬cover of The Primitives Song‭ ‬‘Crash’‭ ‬which was famously featured in‭ ‬‘Mr. Beans Holiday’‭. ‬Although Willis received some success it wasn’t enough for him to continue with his solo career‭, ‬as before he released a full album he joined super-group‭ ‬‘McBusted’‭ ‬along with former Busted member James Bourne and pop group McFly‭. ‬

The super-group McBusted provided Busted fans with an exciting opportunity to see Busted’s songs performed by two original members alongside McFly‭, ‬nearly 10‭ ‬years after the original bands split‭ ‬‮–‬‭ ‬they played over 42‭ ‬sold-out shows across the UK‭, ‬performing both Busted and McFly songs‭, whilst ‬also releasing two songs in the process‭. ‬However‭, ‬much to‭ ‬Busted fans dismay‭, ‬the third member Charlie Simpson refused to join the band‭, ‬still working on his own solo stuff and was adamant he wouldn’t reform anytime soon with the other two members due to his solo career taking off‭. ‬


Youngest member Charlie Simpson was the main reason the band broke up in 2005‭, ‬due to him wanting to focus his efforts on heavy‭ ‬metal band Fightstar‭ ‬‮–‬‭ ‬which he did stay with up until 2010‭ (‬longer than Busted were together for‭). ‬Although Fightstar were popular within their own genre‭, ‬they only managed to have one top 10‭ ‬single during their time together‭. ‬Moreover, it was Charlie’s solo career that surprised fans the most‭ ‬‮–‬‭ ‬when in 2011‭ ‬his album‭ ‬‘Young Pilgrim’‭ ‬was released‭, ‬with a surprising folk sound to it‭, ‬yet entering the UK albums charts at number 6‭ ‬‮–‬‭ ‬a huge success for Simpson’s‭ ‬first solo album‭. ‬His next album‭ ‬‘Long Road Home’‭ ‬released in 2014‭ ‬also charted straight at number 10‭, ‬followed by his final release‭ ‬‘Little Hands’‭ ‬in 2016‭. ‬All three albums had a strong acoustic-folk sound‭, ‬yet suited Simpsons character well and proved popular with Busted fans and new fans alike‭.‬

Thankfully 2015‭ ‬saw the band announce a‭ ‬‘comeback tour’‭, ‬announcing 13‭ ‬arena dates throughout the UK‭, ‬selling 100,000‭ ‬tickets within the first hour and more dates added due to high-demand‭. ‬Fans still queried whether this return would be short-lived‭, ‬however, the band announced they would be releasing a third‭ ‬studio album within the next year‭. ‬When the‭ ‬‘Night Driver’‭ ‬album finally came in 2016‭, ‬fans were shocked at the new innovative sound‭, ‬with the album being described as a‭ ‬‘synth-pop’‭ ‬sound‭, ‬adding electric guitars and a more classic electro sound‭. ‬The sound still enticed old and new fans with their Night Driver tour still selling out for 49‭ ‬dates across Europe‭, ‬North America and Asia‭. ‬

Since this‭, ‬in 2018‭ ‬the band announced new album ‘Half Way There’ as well as another tour to go along with this album. The band teased the album by releasing four songs over the months since the release, with first song ‘Nineties’, which excited fans due to it replicating Busted’s original sound, followed by All My Friends, Reunion and Radio, all which still replicate Busted’s original sound. The music videos for ‘Nineties’ and ‘Radio’ also follow suit in the vintage Busted style-video.

The album is officially released on February 1st, but you can pre-order now here:

Jamie T – An advocate for mental health through music

It is important that artists face not only positive appraisal but criticism to help shape them as an artist. I feel it is important for artists nowadays to be honest in their lyrics and performance style, as this encourages consumers to trust them.

It is evident that some parts of society may not be as welcoming of Jamie Treays’ mental health conditions – which is reflective of society as a whole, the general British public find it difficult to talk about these difficult topics, with organisations like Time To Change and Mind, who encourage people to speak openly about mental health. It is artists like Jamie T who are advocates for these organisations and help and encourage people to speak about difficult issues.

In an interview in 2016 Treays revealed he has received a lot of letters from people suffering from anxiety who found solace in a shared experience, “It’s hard when you’re afflicted with a disorder of some type, and it can be kind of debilitating.

I’m glad that it made some people feel a bit better

The first time I heard Jamie T, I was in the canteen at Sixth Form College, ‘Zombie’ was playing through the speakers; the unusual lyrics and fast tempo intrigued me from the outset, “‘Cos I’m a sad sad post-teen, could have been a love machine, no dream, come clean walking like a zombie..”  Treays was speaking the lyrics rather than singing them – as if telling a story.

Originally from Wimbledon, London, Treays was privately educated however, suffered severely with anxiety and panic attacks throughout the entirety of his early life – ultimately leading to his first album ‘Panic Prevention’ (2007). What struck me about the indie, alternative, post-punk eclectic sound was Treays’ unusual yet relatable lyrics – these were intriguing, and made me want to listen to more; I started with his first album ‘Panic Prevention’, with iconic tracks like ‘Sheila’, ‘If You Got The Money’ and ‘Ike and Tina’.

Jamie T
Jamie T Performing © 2015 Laurent Besson, All rights reserved

In Treays’ own words, this was the point in his life where his anxiety hit its peak, he felt that songwriting and performing was his only escapism. In an interview with FaceCulture in 2016, said: “performing took my mind off it – dare I say it was therapeutic”. In a one-off intimate performance in 2015, Treays performed new material, “We’re going to be playing some weird stuff, like ‘Lonely Bastard’. I don’t remember writing this, but it says I wrote it six years ago and I must have been pretty depressed at the time.”

Treays has had his fair share of criticism throughout his career – with critics not appreciating his quirky performance style and revealing lyrics, in an interview with The Guardian in 2016 Treays stated “People were a bit iffy about it – I continued to speak about it on other records and things and people tended to be like:  ‘What, you still going through that?’

People get weirded out by it. But it seemed natural to me to talk about it.

However, it is Treays’ reckless attitude, ‘I do whatever I want, I’m not watching anyone else, I’m not trying to fit into any box’ that shows he takes no notice of criticism and makes music for himself. This is a huge selling point for him, and why I particularly like him. In 2018, Treays released an album of B-Sides from the past 10 years of his music career. This was accidentally leaked by a friend of Treays’ from university – a situation in which Treays was able to laugh about, through a statement on Twitter, “that was how we celebrated the fact that Joe went to university!!”

It is unknown what Treays’ new album will sound like – he is no stranger to the personal touch, so that is a given, but the sound has changed with each album and since his last album in 2016, Treays may have adopted a new sound or experienced something that may shape his writing – the wait will definitely be worth it.

A Magical Christmas in Hamburg

Sure, there are incredible Christmas markets all over, probably one in your local hometown, but, why not go the extra mile this Christmas and take a trip to (in my humble opinion) some of the best Christmas markets in the whole world – Germany.

Now, these markets aren’t just a train or bus journey away, a plane is most likely your best bet – and with planes come costs. Then you’ll need a hotel for at least one night – which again comes at a cost. Not forgetting the money you’ll have to spend at the markets if you want to enjoy it to its full. So, no fear, the whole reason I’m writing this post is to help save you as much money as possible for a trip to the breathtaking Hamburg… you could think of it as a Christmas present to yourself.


I took my trip to Hamburg at the start of December with my boyfriend. We are both students and so evidently aren’t made of money. We’d (or maybe I should just say I’d) been wanting to visit the German Christmas markets for a while. Our first choice was the capital Berlin, but after hearing about a one-off flash sale of flights to Hamburg through a budget holiday site I was subscribed too we jumped at the opportunity – bagging return flights from Manchester Airport to Hamburg Airport for £30 each! So this is my first tip, subscribe to sites like HolidayPirates and myholidayguru which constantly send you updates on cheap holidays, hotels and flights.

Second tip – although similar to the first – is to subscribe to discount sites like Groupon and LivingSocial which are constantly updated with holiday deals, in particular, hotels. This is where we found our hotel for the stay – a 4* modern hotel, 25mins from the airport and 10mins from Hamburg town centre (where the Christmas markets are located) for only £60 each for two nights.

Food is an expense whilst on holiday – and as we only had a Room Only basis Hotel Room for our stay, eating out was our only option. However, this is where travelling at Christmas time comes in handy, especially when it comes to the Christmas markets. Third tip – buy food at the markets, as they are known for having a wide array of food and drinks – and from my point of view, could save you a lot of money for dinner time, with the opportunity to get traditional Bratwurst sausages, baked potatoes, sweets, crepes, doughnuts and mulled wine – pretty much anything your heart desires!


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Once arriving at the airport, the first thing we did was got to grips with the train systems in Hamburg, with the regular trains running across the whole city, and the underground running through the city centre. Fourth tip – try to avoid taxi’s if possible. The number one method for saving money whilst abroad is using the public transport – and the underground in Hamburg allowed us to get to and from our hotel to anywhere in the city centre in less than 10 minutes and for less than €5.

The other beauty of travelling to a magical city like Hamburg at Christmas is not only the beauty of the city centre, with everywhere lit up, making the whole city sparkle, creating the most magical winter wonderland you’ll possibly ever see – it’s the stalls. They not only sell festive food and drinks but also gifts and mementos, at cheerfully cheap prices – and the most wonderful thing about the items on the stall is that the majority of them are hand-crafted, making for a one-off, unique gift for your loved ones.

All-in-all, Hamburg at Christmas is truly enchanting, and the Christmas markets are an unforgettable experience. So, if one Christmas you’re looking for a change, Hamburg is definitely one to visit.