Stone me! £299 for VIP standing tickets at Rolling Stones sparks anger among fans (but gig sells out in 5 minutes)


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The Independent Culture

Tickets for the Rolling Stones’ Hyde Park gig may have sold out within 5 minutes this morning, but fans have expressed anger at the high price of tickets.

Those wanting access to a VIP area to the right of the stage to cheer the ageing rockers on had to shell out £299 for a standing ticket (with hospitality) plus booking fees (around £30).  

The Stones are due to play at the London park on 6 July and all 65,000 tickets have been sold.

"Basically we sold 65,000 tickets in the speed the system could handle it," concert promoter Rob Hallett of AEG said. "If the system could handle it in seconds, we would have probably sold out in seconds."

The band last played Hyde Park 44 years ago when they treated 500,000 to a free concert in tribute to their former guitarist, the late Brian Jones.

Fans had hoped tickets to the Stones’ next concert would be more affordable than the price of their 50th anniversary gigs at the 02 Arena last year which cost up to £950 and went for much more on secondary ticket sites.

The cheapest price for the Hyde Park festival is £95 with fees on top. This year’s show is part of a 10-day series of concerts for the British Summer Time festival.

There had been some suggestion that those with more expensive tickets would have closer access to the stage than those who purchased the basic tickets, but this has been denied by the organisers.

Mr Hallett said: "The band wanted the regular ticket-holders to be right at the front of the stage staring at the whites of their eyes, not 200 yards away."

A spokesman for LD Communications said: "There is no privileged golden circle. As long as you get there early enough you can get to the front".

Fans took to Twitter this morning to express frustration at the cost of tickets.

One remarked: “Why do Rolling Stones tickets have to be so expensive? #ripoff”.

While another disappointed fan wrote: “Dad was gonna get tickets to the rolling stones, but they were too expensive, aw:(“

Another writes: “Reasons to envy my parents' generation: my Mum went to see the Rolling Stones in Hyde Park for free. Cost me £95.”

The forums were filled with outraged fans with one person posting: "£330 for Hyde Park. Oops, they did it again," and another saying: "Very reasonable. The fees are only four times the actual ticket price of the 1981 shows."

Another writes: "I'm not paying £100 to stand in a field 300 metres from the screen."

Last year resales for the 02 concerts went for sky high prices. Already secondary ticket site Viagogo is selling Hyde Park tickets for up to £6,000.

The Stones are also headlining at Glastonbury in June but tickets for the festival sold out long before it was confirmed that they would be playing.

Speaking about the Hyde Park concert earlier this week Sir Mick Jagger said: “We had such a great time playing the five concerts last year, we want to keep it going. Hyde Park holds such great memories for us and we can’t think of anywhere better to perform to our UK fans this summer.”

The concert takes place almost 44 years to the day since the Stones first played Hyde Park on 5 July 1969, two days after Jones drowned in his swimming pool.

Mick Taylor subsequently replaced Jones.

The lineup for this year's gigs is Ronnie Wood, 65, Jagger, 69, Keith Richards, 69, and drummer Charlie Watts, 71. Although there are rumours that they will be joined at Glastonbury by former bandmate Bill Wyman.

The Stones, who also announced a North American tour, rejected offers to headline at the Olympic Park where a rival series of Summer concerts are being staged.

The Stones, who won two NME awards following their 50th anniversary comeback shows last year, have chosen a crop of “indie” bands to support them at Hyde Park, with The Vaccines and Palma Violets sharing the bill.

Bon Jovi will headline the first Hyde Park concert of the Summer on 5 July.

Yesterday Watts expressed reluctance to appear at outdoor gigs Glastonbury and Hyde Park, telling the Guardian: "I don't want to do it [Glastonbury]. Everyone else does. I don't like playing outdoors, and I certainly don't like festivals."

"The worst thing playing outdoors is when the wind blows, if you're a drummer, because the cymbals move … it really is hard to play then."