A Twin Cities musical institution, The Rose Ensemble, recently finished their concert season with a concert entitled "Cantigas from the Land of Three Faiths." The day of the concert I got online and purchased my ticket, $23 plus a $2 service charge from Vendini. "Ouch!" I thought. 25 bucks!

The very next week a friend of mine announced that she was going to attend a Keane concert-did anyone want to go with her? Without batting an eye I said yes and didn't even think about the ticket price. The ticket was $30 and including all the service fees the price rose to $40. Still, I didn't think much about it.Photo by Shelly Baumeister

Yes, a paradigm shift is indeed in order. Let's explore a little, shall we?

The Rose Ensemble's program is a music history lesson in itself. The singers are all versatile, successful performers who sing effectively in ensemble and solo settings, sometimes write their own program notes, and sing in a variety of languages and dialects. Each instrumentalist employs multiple period instruments. Their training and performance stands behind their well-earned reputation. Not only does The Rose Ensemble perform all over the country and regularly internationally, but it maintains a Composer-in-Residence as well as performing outreach in schools. The audience followed traditional concert conventions and following the concert there was a sort of end-of-season reception.

Photo by Shelly BaumeisterThe Keane concert was opened by a two-man group called The Helio Sequence, followed by Mat Kearney, and then finally Keane. In total the concert lasted about 4 hours and included colored lights, three sets of instruments, two fog machines, and a multi-colored, geometrical backdrop. They all sang in English. There were no program notes, no dressy clothes (save Mat Kearney's hat), and drinks were extra. One audience member interrupted the concert with a song request and after one of the bouncers quieted him down, he chose to use some rather creative gesticulation and almost got thrown out. The rest of the audience sang along, clapped & shouted between songs and sets, sang along some more, danced a bit, and sang along some more.

Granted, there were several hundred more audience members at Keane than there were at the Rose Ensemble concert. This aside, wherein lies the difference in the price of a ticket? The venue? Genre? The marketing behind the product? The "brand" of the ensemble/band? The need (or lack thereof) to use ear plugs? Bilingualism of the concert program? Position of the locale on the group's tour? Profitability for the respective musicians?

What determines a or the fair price of a ticket for you? What do you think a fair price is for a ticket to see an ensemble like The Rose Ensemble? What is a fair price for a rock/pop concert ticket? Write me.