If you know anything about me, you know that I love a good ol’ concert. I love the feeling of being a part of something, dancing in a crowd, … and putting it into an Excel spreadsheet (it’s helpful, you should try it!)
I’ve heard questions from a few people recently about what to do a concert, etc., and I figured someone might find this a bit helpful (or at least entertaining).
Go grab some tea and get comfortable; this is a long one:
- Hydrate 💦 It’s helpful to know which concert venues offer free water (example: the House of Blues gives out free water in a cup but many people still pay for the bottles because they don’t know). Just ask for a cup – if they say no, it was still worth a shot.
- If you’re going to a standing-room-only show, find the spot opposite to the door (assuming the entrance is on either side of the stage). It’s almost always less crowded and you can get closer.
- Do your best to predict whether or not a show is likely to have a huge mosh pit (think: punk rock, Warped Tour-esque, etc.). If so, I’d recommend somewhere along either side or the front because the mosh circles typically form in the center back.
- Remember exactly where you parked! Write it down, take a picture. There is nothing worse than wandering around trying to find your car late at night.
- Bring cash for your merchandise. It helps you limit your spending but also speeds up the process.
- Use the bathroom before you enter and get secure in where you’re standing.
- If the venue is outside, wear sunscreen or a hat! It sounds obvious, but so many people forget that the sun doesn’t go down until fairly late into the night in the summer after the show has already begun.
- Bring a flannel or a light jacket. 99% of the time I’m cold and it is always helpful to have an extra layer just in case.
- Wear comfortable shoes. Those heels (or sandals or even Converse) might look cute taking photos, but your trusty tennis shoes will save you during the concert. Your back and feet will thank you.
- If you’re unsure of what to expect, put in a search on YouTube or Twitter for advice. Something as easy as “Warped Tour 2017” in a search bar can be really helpful in knowing tips and tricks.
- Try not to elbow people.
- Print your ticket to save both your battery and the memory.
- Learn the venue-specific rules on what you can bring in. Where can you bring your huge backpack? (American Airlines Center) Who won’t let you bring in bags larger than the piece of cardstock they’re provided with and try to convince you to throw your purse in the trash? (Dallas Cowboys Stadium) All of the venues have this (and more) on their website and it’s worth taking a look before you get yourself into trouble (or have to walk back to your car and get out of line).
- Bring a sharpie, just in case.
- Look up to see if there are restaurants in the area offering shuttle services (J. Gilligan’s in Dallas does for AT&T Stadium).
- Ignore the people who roll their eyes at you because you’re actually enjoying yourself.
- Don’t be afraid to ask an employee if you need help or just have a question! That’s what they’re there for. Band-aid? Directions? They’ve got you covered.
- Timing. You can fairly easily do the math to see what time the main act is playing, when the show will end, etc. The first act is usually 30 minutes long (unless there are a few openers), there is either a 15- or 30-minute break between the acts (depending on the setup and venue), and many venues have a curfew. For example, at the House of Blues, you’re likely to see an opener perform from 8:00-8:30, and the main act from 9:00 to either 10:00 or 10:15 (10:30 if you’re lucky), etc.
- Always go for the raincoat vs. the umbrella. Virtually no one will let you into a venue with an umbrella.
- Sighing really loudly because someone is in the way will not help you in any way.
- Go with friends who generally want the same experience as you (or be willing to break off mid-show if you want something different). It’s absolutely great if you both want to get there 4 hours early, and it’s great if you want to just slip in the back at curtain call. But it’s also great to grab dinner beforehand and you go to the front while your friend stays in the back. In the words of my wise friend Heather, “YOU DO YOU.”
- Understand that some people will have their phones out. You might, you might not. I try to take a photo or a Snapchat and then put my phone away. No matter what, do your best to just enjoy the moment.
- Enter into as many radio contests as possible – they aren’t a scam!!! That’s how I won tickets to Jingle Ball (aka the best night of my life)
- Don’t be afraid to make friends! Obviously gut check this, but the majority of people around you just want to have a good time too.
- Eat something filling before-hand to avoid sluggishness or having to purchase a candy bar. Kayla and I have the tradition of Sonic Kids Meals, but you do you.
- Know your priorities: do you need to be right up front or stay after and try to meet them? Cool. Just plan for that. If you don’t want that, also cool. Some concerts I will sit at a computer and refresh Ticketmaster compulsively, and others I’ll buy a few days later because I don’t care as much. I still want to be there, but I know what specifically matters to me.
- Be open-minded when it comes to the opening acts. Sometimes they’re great and sometimes not. Either way, the band you came to see loves them enough to tour with them and show them to you.
No matter what, ENJOY YOURSELF. A concert is a judgment-free zone meant to encourage you and make you feel something. There is an electricity about being in a room where everyone simultaneously cares and doesn’t care. It’s freeing and fun for me, and I hope you feel the same.
*Bonus * – Allison’s Top Concert Experiences (in no particular order):
- Sleeping With Sirens @ the Houston House of Blues
- any time I’ve ever seen Ed Sheeran (including the time he unexpectedly came out when I was in LA for Jingle Ball and I cried like a literal child)
- Seeing Lorde in Sydney, Australia
- any time I’ve ever seen State Champs
- Twenty One Pilots at the Allen Event Center
- Warped Tour 2016
- any time I’ve ever seen 5 Seconds of Summer (basically all 5 times)
A bit of self-promo: if you’re interested in more concert content, check out the Music Category on the blog HERE