Let me start by saying that, as a (black) metal lover who lives in Bergen, Norway, I love going to Beyond the Gates (BtG). I’ve been attending the festival since 2016, and I plan on continuing doing so. But man … it’s getting more and more difficult to get excited about it.
The ticket prices are getting extremely high – yes, even for Norwegian standards. If you want to buy a festival pass, prepare to pay up 3200 NOK (370 USD). A new concept, “The Nightshift,” is being added to the festival; this is a series of additional club shows at another venue. But this was already a thing. The only difference is that we now have to buy additional tickets (ranging from 600 to 900 NOK) for these shows. In prior years, you could freely attend additional events outside the festival if you had a festival ticket.
Worse yet, the festival is becoming a recycled lineup of previous ones: Lucifer played at BtG in 2019. One year earlier, Satyricon and 1349 hit the stage. Enslaved are festival veterans, having at played at BtG in 2018 and the year before that. Guess who else played at BtG in 2017? Mayhem, Mgla, Misþyrming, Vemond, and Whoredom Rife. In 2016, Gaahls Wyrd. In 2015, Angel Witch, Archgoat, Misþyrming (yes, the very same), and Tribulation. And in 2013, Year of the Goat alongside Mgla – but that’s almost almost a decade ago, so whatever.
It’s all fine and dandy if you’ve never seen any of these bands live on stage before – ever. But for festival regulars like me, it’s reaching a point of diminishing returns.
It’s getting insane … But it inspired me to write down a fictive press release for the 2023 edition of the festival:
‘We are proud to announce a whole new concept: The Morning Shift and the Fika Break. These are extra special club shows at Kvarteret – for the fans by the fans. What it practically means is that if you want to see all bands – bands that you’ve already seen twenty times before if you are a Beyond the Gates regular –, you will now have to buy additional tickets at 600 NOK a pop – per day.
In addition, the festival will be spread over twee weeks. This allows us to book the same amount of bands as in all the years before while still charging 900 NOK for a day pass.
Of course, when we say “day pass” we really only mean “evening pass,” as it doesn’t give you access to either the Morning Shift and the Fika Break club shows.
Oh, and you can now also buy keychains, which add a touch of swag to the whole festival experience. They look cheap and they most certainly are cheap – but we’re doing a “limited run” so we can increase the markup from 50 per cent to 300 per cent and say with a straight face, “Buy now! if you want one, there’s only 5 left,” only to announce a week later that a new batch has been made available.
So … if you want to buy a ticket for your partner, have fun scrolling through 20 pages at Ticketmaster’s web site trying to figure out just which one to buy.’