From scoring last-minute tix to meeting the band, here's how you stress less and experience the show of your dreams.
For me, 2022 was the year of concerts; five rock bands, one 2014 throwback, and a weekend-long music festival on the beaches of Gulf Shores. Artists have been touring like crazy post-Covid and I've made certain that I'm soaking up every opportunity to experience live music.
With pop starlet Taylor Swift's recent tour announcement (can you believe her last one was 'Reputation' in 2018??), it's no surprise fans are dying to get tickets. Whether you're stressing about The 'Eras Tour' or another concert altogether, here are my tips for getting the most out of any show.
1. Do your research.
Every venue is different, so you want to make sure you're prepared before the day of the concert. Of course, basics like double-checking your tickets and times are great, but you'll have to do some extra work if you want to be at the front.
When you're purchasing your seats, take a look at the layout of the venue. If you don't want to splurge on tickets, try checking out videos from other cities to see if the artist runs down an aisle past fans or goes to a secondary stage. If they do, try to anticipate where they run and you may get close to them without spending a fortune. There may or may not be a pit depending on how big the space is. If you do decide to buy pit tickets and want to be at the very front, make sure you look into the arena's rules. Do they give out wristbands on a first-come, first-served basis? Do they allow camping?
Even if they don't, some fans may still decide to create their own system so people who get there early have a spot in line. A great way to find out about this is by joining Facebook groups for your specific city of the tour. If anything is being organized, someone will likely post about it on there. Offering to make a sub-group with other fans over text or on social media is perfect for making friends too, and an easy point of contact if you have any questions.
If you're looking for last-minute tickets, Facebook will be the place to find a bargain. Twitter can also have sellers, but remember to be absolutely certain a person is legit before buying from them. The last thing you want is to get turned away at the venue.
2. Prepare to camp.
You'll need to get to the stadium early if you want to be at the front of the pit or general admission section. I had GA tickets for a Greta Van Fleet concert in October, and despite the venue restricting camping, fans created their own system and started giving out wristbands two full days before the actual ticket booth opened.
But don't be discouraged if you miss out on pre-banding or just don't have the desire to wait up all night; I had a general wristband, got into line when the venue suggested and was only about eight people back from the front of the stage. This can all depend on the size of the floor and the security rules, but getting there as early as possible is always your best bet.
If you do decide to camp out overnight, don't forget to pack water, snacks, and some sort of self-defense weapon like pepper spray. Depending on where the venue is located, camping could be risky. Make sure to stay in a group or near security guards if they're present and follow the buddy system.
3. Don't be scared to go solo.
Going to a concert by yourself can feel daunting. Unfortunately, maybe your friends don't like your favorite music or you can't find anyone with a blank space in their schedule. Take it from me - going solo can be a ton of fun. I've found that concerts are one of the best ways to make new friends who happen to love the same music as you do, and I still stay in touch with most of the people I've met at shows.
If you're thinking about going by yourself, realize that no one is judging. Strike up a conversation with the people next to you in line; ask them who the opening act is, if they know where the band will be leaving the venue after the show, what the setlist is, etc. The more people you connect with, the easier it will be to meet the band at the end of the night too.
4. Make friends with the event staff.
On the day of the concert, it's likely you'll do a lot of waiting both inside and outside of the venue. I strongly encourage you to talk up the staff that will undoubtedly be walking around while you're hanging out. Your main focus should be any staff that works for the artist or band directly (photographers, sound technicians, managers, etc.). You literally never know when you're going to meet a producer or lighting person, so be extra nice to everyone.
If you do find yourself talking to one of the band's staff, play it cool. Don't immediately bring up how obsessed you are with meeting the artist; instead, ask about them. Flattery is your best friend! If you're talking to the photographer, show interest in their job. Tell them you've thought about getting into their line of work and ask how they got started. Develop the conversation from there, and I guarantee it will pay off. It can even be helpful to try this once the concert has ended and everyone is filing out.
5. Stand out.
Make yourself noticeable in the crowd. For me, this typically means wearing red lipstick because it's something I've found works at grabbing attention, but it could be anything! Pick something that's authentic to your own personal style, but also reflects the type of music you're going to see. Choose a few key details to represent your personality and help you stand out from the rest of the fans.
Standing out can be through wardrobe, but it can also mean your presence. If the artist sees you truly connecting with the music, it's likely they'll want to connect with you too. I've gotten noticed at basically every single concert I've been to simply because I'm present and try to bring an energy that's unique to me. Instead of screaming or throwing things, try to smile at the artist and interact with them like normal people. Eye contact works wonders.
6. Scope out the area after the concert.
Now that you've done your due diligence flattering the staff and catching the eye of the lead singer, it's time to kick it into high gear. Where you should wait outside the venue has a lot to do with the layout of the space, and every place is different. Try asking around first to see if any other fans know where the band will be meeting people or leaving from.
The most important thing is to find where the tour buses are parked, and the road or gate where they could leave out of. Most of the time, venue staff isn't allowed to help direct you to this area, but it never hurts to ask. Once you're in a spot you feel confident the band will be leaving out of, it's a waiting game. I waited outside a venue in Atlanta until two in the morning only to catch a glimpse of 5 Seconds of Summer. We picked the correct spot, but the artists won't always stop to chat if they're in a rush to the next tour stop.
Regardless, if you're adamant about meeting the artist, taking a chance and staying at the venue a few extra hours can be well worth it. I've met plenty of fans who were able to hang out with their favorites; it's a combination of picking the right spot, determination, and good old-fashioned luck.
7. Take a breath.
It can be so easy to obsess over making everything go perfectly, but don't forget to enjoy the experience. At the end of the day, you're getting to see live music that means something to you and you're surrounded by other people that love it too. So if you don't make barricade or get magically taken backstage, chill and remember it's not the end of the world. Appreciate the concert for what it is and try not to put too much pressure on yourself. Happy concerting!