Desert Survival: How to Do Psycho Las Vegas on a Budget

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Hey, if you’re going to go broke, let’s face it: You’re not likely to run into many causes as worthy as the lineup culled together for Psycho Las Vegas. It ain’t cheap — any event that advertises a payment plan obviously knows it’s a considerable ask — but whether you’re going to see Slo Burn for their only US gig or King Diamond doing Abigail or Mulatu Astatke because going to see Mulatu Astatke is a life-event, the arguments in favor are plentiful and convincing. Whatever else you want to say, Psycho Las Vegas is the first annually-held American festival with a focus on heavy and underground rock to really establish itself as world class.

That in itself is a reason to support the cause, whether it’s through a day ticket or a pass for the entire weekend, but it doesn’t necessarily lesson the expense of making the trip or staying in one of the US’ most lucrative tourist traps, let alone things like band merchandise, meals and the occasional adult beverage if you’re inclined to have one. The thought of seeing NeurosisSleep and Carcass share a stage over the course of a weekend or watching Conan, the new trio-incarnation of Pentagram and Yawning Man poolside or from the balcony of a room in the Casino Tower is incredible, and after hearing stories from those who undertook the journey in 2016 or attended the prior Psycho California in 2015, the idea wants nothing for appeal. Fiscal issues can be a bummer. By the time August rolls around, I’ll have been out of paid work for two months. I know how it goes.

And I’m hardly the most responsible person when it comes to money, but the truth of the matter is there are ways to mitigate costs for travel, lodging and other concerns, and if the thing preventing you from picking up a ticket to the show has been the seeming impossibility of affording a stay at the Hard Rock or of finding a cheap-enough flight to get there, maybe it’s worth trying to shift finances around to make it happen. Music is important, and when debt collectors are spamming your phone it’s hard to think about the non-cash value of life experiences, but the fact is the bills you need to pay will still be there. The bill with Corrosion of Conformity in a lineup alongside Kylesa‘s Laura Pleasants, Domkraft, Swans, Elephant Tree and Heavy Temple? Much less so.

Here are a few pointers that hopefully can save you a couple bucks. Some of it’s day-one stuff, but things like hotel picks and transportation nuances are good to know either way.

Check it out:


Flying In
• Buy tickets on a Tuesday for the cheapest rates.
• Use a discount flight search.
• If you can, fly in on Thursday and leave on Monday for better rates, search different days and times to come in and leave.
• Book early. Rates go up in the summer.

Getting There
• Ride apps cost less than cabs.
• The Hard Rock is less than a mile from the airport. Cheap trip anyway.
• There are free shuttles from most Vegas hotels to the strip and tourist attractions.

Staying There
• This one is huge… don’t stay at the Hard Rock if you can’t afford it! Alexis Park, RUMOR, Red Roof Inn are all across the street and cheap. Scope out a position on a map if you need to; that’s what Street View is there for.
• Partner up to share rooms. You’ve got social media and it’s not like you’re going to do more than sleep and (hopefully) shower there anyway. Might as well join forces and save expense where you can.

• BYO. Vegas has open-container laws. If you think hooch is too expensive at the Hard Rock, get loaded on the sidewalk before you go in.
• One way or another, hydrate. You’re staying in the desert in August. Don’t be stupid.

Psycho Las Vegas 2017 Lineup
Abbath, Ace Frehley, Black Anvil, Blood Ceremony, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Buzzov*en, Carcass, Celeste, Chelsea Wolfe, Cirith Ungol, Cloud Catcher, Code Orange, Conan, Corrosion of Conformity, Cough, Cult Leader, Cult Of Luna With Julie Christmas Diamond Head, Domkraft, Earthless, Elephant Tree, Eternal Tapestry, Fister, Floorian, Gatecreeper, GEQ, Gojira, Gost, Graf Orlock, Heavy Temple, Hollow Leg, Inter Arma, Khemmis, King Diamond, Laura Pleasants & Special Guests, Magma, Manilla Road, Merlin, Minsk, Morne, Mothership, Mouth of the Architect, Mulatu Astatke, Murder City Devils, Mustard Gas & Roses, Myrkur, Neurosis, North, Oathbreaker, Pelican, Pentagram, Psychic TV, The Rods, Ruby the Hatchet, Sasquatch, Saturndust, Sleep, Slo Burn, Slomatics, Snail, Sons of Otis, Sumac, Summoner, Swans, The Skull, Toke, Urchin, Usnea, Vhol, Weedeater, Windhand, Wizard Rifle, Wolves in the Throne Room, Yawning Man, Year of the Cobra, Youngblood Supercult, Zeal & Ardor.

Pentagram, “Relentless / Broken Vows” Live in Richmond, VA, 2017

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7 Responses to “Desert Survival: How to Do Psycho Las Vegas on a Budget”

  1. miller says:

    Was the best weekend of my life last weekend, so of course I am headed out again!

    Candlewood Suites is walking distance, as is La Quinta. Like two blocks down Paradise.

  2. Nico says:

    Just wanted to share my experience after spending $22k on a (admittedly round-the-world) trip last year with my partner with Psycho as the feature-piece.

    1. The accommodation options within spitting distance are cheaper and probably better than the Hard Rock. Probably quicker to get to also – lots of long hallways and slow elevators can make accessing your room a 25-minute return trip, which means you miss most of Acid King’s set when you’re trying to drop off an overstacked merch haul.

    2. As others have mentioned, the food rules at Roberto’s taqueria across the road, and you can eat enough to power you through a full day for around $15. There’s also a bottle shop next door.

    3. Bring a bag or backpack with the necessary supplies to get through each day – hydration is especially important, but a change of clothes and enough room to store your merch safely is a must. Just be prepared for said bag to be searched multiple times as you come and go from the various venues.

    4. If you’re drinking, eating or staying within the Hard Rock, do your best to get friendly with the staff – they’ll take care of you. Tipping solidly (a very foreign concept to someone who lives in Australia) will go a long way towards making sure you get taken care of properly when you order your next drink, or next time you need something. (Also is it just me or is it crazy how you pretty much have to bribe people to do their job sometimes?)

    • JJ Koczan says:

      RE: Tipping. It’s actually less about bribing people to do their job than the tipping system is set up such that tips are how those people actually get paid. Bar staff and wait staff especially in the US — employers pay less than minimum wage as a base salary and justify it because tips will make up the difference, so tips become how they actually earn their living. Kind of a fucked system if you think about it, but I’m a firm believer in over-tipping as a result.

  3. Ian says:

    Another piece of information to add: If you are staying in a 2 Queen Bed room at the Hard Rock, they will not allow you to have a roll-away bed added, so that takes some of the savings out if you are sharing a room and don’t want to share beds.

    Having said that, I loved Psycho Las Vegas 2016 and am even more pumped about this year’s lineup over last year. Love the addition of more black metal themed bands.

    I stayed in the Casino Tower last year and it took me no more than 5 minutes total to walk from my room to get to The Joint or Vinyl. I think I left at 11:55 p.m. for Electric Wizard and walked into the Joint at like 11:59 p.m.

    The food is not so good at the Hard Rock and the coffee is pretty awful but getting around is easy and not too expensive with taxis.

  4. Johnny says:

    It’s worth mentioning that the city bus from the airport is $2 and passes a block away from the Hard Rock.

    Anyone looking to split a room? Drop me a line:

  5. Link says:

    I stayed at the Rumor Hotel across the street last year, (literally RIGHT across the street)….it wasn’t as nice or as fancy as they tried to make it out to be, but still more than adequate, and cost a lot less than the Hard Rock by almost half. However, the hotel property appears to be under new ownership and is no longer called Rumor….but it is still open and operating under the name “Serene”. They don’t have their own website, and as far as I’ve seen, the only way to book this property is through….but if you’re looking to save some money on a room, and still want to be close by, you might want to look into it. You can walk from the front door of the Hard Rock to a room on the far side of the Rumor/Serene property in about 5 minutes, (unless you have to wait for traffic for a chance to walk across Harmon….I never bothered to walk down to the corner to use the cross walk).

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