I like to think of myself as a concert enthusiast. If I could spend all my free time at a concert, I would. Since I’ve been to quite a few shows I thought I’d create a little guide for those of you just venturing out into the concert world. Here’s my concert survival guide:
- Purchasing tickets. When you buy your tickets, decide how you’re going to provide tickets, via print out, mailed or QR code on your phone. It can cost more to have them mailed to you so I wouldn’t suggest it unless the ticket site offers it for free or you plan on keeping the ticket stubs for nostalgic purposes. Technology is not always reliable as you might lose service when entering the venue, so make sure you have your ticket already loaded on your phone, or a screenshot of the barcode, before getting in line at the entrance. Printing your ticket is the best bet because it doesn’t cost you money, and you have it on hand rather than relying on your cell service.
- Always hydrate before you go to a show. A lot of people don’t think about this but drinking a ton of water will give you more energy and allow you to sweat more, which keeps your body cool—especially if you’re going to a standing-room-only (which means there are’t any seats, you just file in a line and find a good spot) show where you will be packed into a large crowd and sweating buckets.
- Eat before you get there. Especially if you’re going to an arena show like at the Toyota Center, where the food will be extremely overpriced. Also it’s difficult to enjoy the show when you’re trying not to spill food everywhere. If you’re going to an outdoor festival instead of a venue show, there will be more food options available, but it’s still a good idea to eat before attending. Food is fuel for your body: it’s important to keep your energy up.
- Get there early to scope out the venue. Check out the merchandise tables, where the lines are significantly shorter before the show rather than after. Find the restrooms— always go before the show, nothing is worse than having to pee while your favorite song is playing. Look at the food choices. Find free water stations—this pertains more to festival-goers rather than arenas and small venues where you’ll probably have to pay $4.00 for a bottle. Map out your exit signs: it’s always important to know your way out in case of an emergency.
- Bring a lightweight bag. Always check the venue website to learn what you can and cannot bring with you. For example, at Warped Tour you can bring one refillable water bottle with no top. Also if you bring a bag then you have a place to store all your merch! Here’s a general list of things to bring with you to a concert:
- Tickets (of course)
- Wallet (a lot of venues take cash only, especially food trucks at music festivals)
- Sunscreen and sunglasses (for outdoor events)
- Portable phone card and cords
- Mini deodorant stick
- Hand sanitizer (for the horror that is porta potties)
- Aspirin and antacids (This definitely comes in handy at an outdoor festival considering you’re on your feet all day long and most of the food is greasy and fatty. Your body will thank you.)
- Figure out what you want before getting to the front of the line. This goes for concession stands and merch tents. Don’t be that person standing in front of the cashier still thinking about what you want while there are loads of people waiting behind you.
- Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. You’d think this is a given but a lot people make the mistake of wearing heels and dresses to concerts without thinking of the fact they’re going to be on their feet for a long period of time. No one wants to listen to you complain that your feet hurt. Be smart and sensible, wear something you don’t mind getting dirty and that you can freely move around in.
- Be kind to others. Everyone is there with the same goal in mind: to have a good time. If someone falls, help pick them up. If someone shorter than you can’t see above your head, let them in front. Be considerate of others around you.
Dan Lambton from Real Friends at Warped Tour. Photo by: Lexus Jacobs
- Have fun. This is your safe place. The place where all your cares melt away, and it’s you being consumed by the music. Release all your inhibitions and let loose. Sing your heart out and dance all night long. Make lots of memories and fully immerse yourself in the moment.