Concert season (noun | con·cert sea·son) : the time of year that Lala girls live for. Good music, good friends and good vibes abound. Synonym: Summer.
Successful pop concert-going is a mixture of strategic planning and taking opportunities, from buying the perfect ticket to meeting the band. It is at the very least a skill and at most an art form. Anyone can buy a ticket to a pop concert, show up at the venue the day of and have a decent time. But not everyone can get the best seat for the best price, properly deal with fellow concert-goers (some of whom aren’t the nicest) or meet the band at an arena or amphitheater concert.
Buying The Perfect Ticket
There are three opportune times to purchase tickets for pop concerts: during presale, during general public onsale, or on the day of the show. Presale gives you access to tickets before the public can get their hands on them, but it’s usually reserved for holders of certain credit cards or the artist’s fan club. But if you can’t find good seats or get access to presale, wait until public onsale to buy your tickets. Ticket companies have to withhold seats during presale to make sure the general public has a chance to get floor seats too. Public onsale dates are not for the faint of heart, as they require the patience to deal with jammed ticketing websites and the anxiety of the show possibly selling out.
To increase your chances of getting a good ticket, open multiple tabs of the website at least 10 minutes before, have a phone ready, or line up to buy them in person at the box office. Don’t fret if you can’t get good seats, as sometimes the venue releases tickets later on or offers upgrades the day of the show. If you are attending a smaller venue show, you won’t have to worry about these options, as the show will most likely be general admission.
Another option is the resale route, but be sure to read up on ticket resale and scalping laws for your state as it isn’t legal everywhere. There are several credible ticket resale websites. Of these, I’ve found StubHub to be most reliable. I have StubHub to thank for the time I was so close to One Direction that Louis Tomlinson wished me a happy birthday.
Scalping is a game that’s usually won by the scalpers, but you can beat them. Scalpers are usually desperate 30 minutes into the concert if they’re still trying to sell tickets. This is when you can bargain and end up getting the tickets for much cheaper than they’re worth. I got into Taylor Swift’s Red Tour for $8 just for showing up late and driving a hard bargain. With this method, you might have to sacrifice seeing the opening act, so keep that in mind when going this route.
Dealing With Your Seat-mate
So you’ve purchased a ticket and arrived at the show, only to find yourself next to the most annoying person you’ve ever laid eyes on. If you’ve ever been to a country show, you know exactly who I’m referring to. She’s loud, rowdy, and spills beer on everyone around her. You’re too afraid she’ll spit in your face if you ask her to calm down, so you try to enjoy the concert while passive-aggressively side-eying her throughout the entire show. Before you know it, the show is over and all you can think about is how annoying that girl was.
While the people around you don’t technically dictate how good of a time you have, they contribute to the atmosphere which will contribute to your experience. There’s no way around the elephant in the room: concerts are full of rude people. Depending on the show, they could also be drunk and obnoxious in addition to just being rude. This is why what I’ve found to be the friendliest crowds are at teenybopper shows. So unless you’re into One Direction, you’ll have to find a way to deal with mean people at concerts.
There are two ways of dealing with these people. The first is exactly what your mom told you to do to the mean girls in junior high: ignore them. Under no circumstances should you be rude back; it will escalate the situation and could end with both of you getting kicked out of the venue. But if a fellow concert-goer makes you feel unsafe, tell a security guard immediately. The second is to befriend them. You both want to have a good time and paid good money to see (insert artist name here), so be kind and strike up a conversation. The friendlier you are, the more likely they’ll be to reciprocate your behavior. A rule of thumb: concerts are more enjoyable when you befriend your seat-mates. This is especially helpful if you’re sitting behind a tall person as they’ll be more likely to switch seats with their shorter friend so you can see.
Meeting The Band
The concert ends and it’s time to go home, but don’t leave yet or you may miss out on the coolest opportunity of the night. It’s a common belief that meeting your favorite musicians is next to impossible. And while there’s some truth to that statement, there are ways to hang with the band without shelling out hundreds for a meet and greet ticket. There’s the creepy route.
Generally, diehard fans figure out where their favorite band is staying and wait for hours outside their hotel. While this route is a little embarrassing and I’ve never done it, it’s worked many a time for many people. At non-arena shows, it’s pretty easy to meet the artist. At most general admission concerts I’ve attended, the musicians come out into the lobby after their set to take pictures and sign autographs, so if you’re at a smaller venue and the artist mentions that he or she will be hanging around after the show, head towards the lobby during the last song. Leaving during the last song will help you get towards the front of the line so you can get your picture first and then avoid traffic later. Using this method in high school brought me the opportunity to slip my phone number to Cody Simpson. He hasn’t called me
yet but it made for a hilarious story.
Some people wonder why all of this planning matters. You can feel it in the heat of the bright lights, the sweaty bodies around you and in the uncontrollable grins on everyone’s faces. I’ve felt it everywhere from a Secondhand Serenade concert in New York City, to a One Direction show in Louisville, to a T-Pain performance in Chicago, to a Journey tour stop in Indianapolis. It’s the feeling of being alive; it’s this feeling that makes it all worth it. There’s just nothing like strangers coming together to belt out the lyrics of a shared favorite song.
Congratulations, you did it! You just had the best concert experience of your life: you got a great seat, you dealt with your seatmates, and you met the band. Go ahead and consider this a successful concert-going experience. Now what? The thing about concert-going is that the more you do it, the more skilled you become at it. So start planning your next concert adventure.