With a hefty bump in the price of the popular VIP passes, the first wave of early-bird tickets for the fifth annual Tortuga Music Festival will go on sale 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 9. The festival returns to Fort Lauderdale beach April 7 to 9.
Prices for the early-bird tickets will be $189 for a three-day general-admission pass, $849 for a three-day VIP pass and $1,299 for a three-day Super VIP pass. The passes, limit four per customer, can be purchased at TortugaMusicFestival.com and by calling 877-987-6487.
The cost of the VIP pass is $170 higher than the early-bird ticket for the 2016 festival, a 25 percent increase. The general-admission pass is up $10 and the Super VIP increases by $150.
A.J. Niland, founder and chief experience officer of festival producer Huka Entertainment, says the VIP offerings, which include proximity to the main stage, shade trees, exclusive bars and restroom access, along with a deck-lined swimming pool, have proven more popular that the company anticipated.
Niland says that as part of an overall effort to increase "flow and access to amenities" everywhere at the 2017 festival, the VIP space is getting re-engineered. The lines at the VIP bars are a specific target.
"There are a lot of little details in how we lay things out – where the restrooms are going, where the bars are going – that's going to completely open up the area and the space itself, creating more bar frontage," he says.
No performers for the 2017 festival have been announced, but that never dampens interest in advance tickets. Early-bird passes sold out in 90 minutes when the 2015 festival lineup was still unknown, and they were gone in half that time last year when Blake Shelton was the only confirmed 2016 performer.
As soon as the early-bird passes are gone, a second level of advance tickets, with prices slightly higher, will go on sale immediately on the website, according to a Huka Entertainment statement.
This year, more than 90,000 fans packed the sand at Fort Lauderdale Beach Park April 15-17, the first Tortuga Music Festival expanded from two to three days. Along with Shelton, the big draws were Dierks Bentley, Tim McGraw, Sam Hunt, Kelsea Ballerini, Elle King, Cam, Old Dominion, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Kristian Bush and Michael Franti & Spearhead.
Past performers have included Kenny Chesney, Zac Brown, Eric Church, Sheryl Crow, Jake Owen and Little Big Town.
A major component of the festival are conservation efforts aimed at protecting the ocean and the sea turtles that give the event its name. In four years, Huka says the festival has raised more than $300,000 for marine research and conservation.