I was in the mood to write and lay out something, so I wrote a concert guide. The tips are based on my own experiences and some input from a more music-obsessed compatriot. Enjoy this as an article while I work on the print layout.
AMP IT UP
You’ve got tickets to a great show, and you wanna know how to plan. Maybe you’ve never been to a concert before. Maybe it’s been a long time. Either way, we’ve got the info you need: here’re ten tips to maximize your concert experience.
Many vendors don’t take credit cards. Even at bigger stages, you’d be better served by bills. Concessions likely won’t be amused by the plastic—pretty unlikely the guy toting water bottles whips a card reader out of his pocket.
Aside from convenience, cash can force you to budget. It’s one thing to charge $40 to a card, and quite another to feel it physically leaving your hand. And of course, if your funds are finite, you can only spend so much. Bring the tens with you. And singles, to be safe.
arrive less than early.
The “doors open” time on your tickets tells you how early you should show up. If the time written is 7PM, show up at 6:30PM the latest. Anything with first-come, first-serve seating is guaranteed to have sunrisers; successful attempts to grab a good spot entail showing up early.
Use common sense here, obviously—don’t stand in the cold for a front-row. Just avoid showing up after the doors open.
There’re a few essentials you should definitely take, but don’t pack the bathroom sink. You’re gonna be standing for a long time. Your pack should be light enough to handle for hours straight, and small enough to curb audience ire. Taking up precious space with a towel you don’t need? Not cool. Your back won’t appreciate it, either.
Excepting any medical necessities, your carry-with should be ultralight. Most venues ban big bags anyway.
let your bladder ruin your night.
We’ve seen it too many times: a fan shuffles uncomfortably in their spot at the front. The friend casts nervous glances at the ever-thickening crowd. Eventually, the physical overtakes the resolute, and the pair dash off towards the stalls, never to be seen again.
No matter how friendly the person you ask to hold your spot, the fact is it’s nigh impossible to break back through the throng. Save yourself the heartbreak and unload before the show.
Are you going to a rock concert soon? Has it been your lifelong dream to develop tinnitus? Then take no further action! —Simply attend the concert with no ear protection, and you’re guaranteed to experience some level of hearing loss!
Seriously, protect your ears. Even if it’s just one concert, the chance of loud music causing damage is high, and chances are that damage is irreversible. They make earplugs specifically for music-listening, so “fidelity” isn’t a good reason to risk it. Get some earplugs, fam.
Your response to the “watch your bladder” warning might’ve been, “Fine then! No water ‘til show’s over.” Understandable. But not a great idea. If you’re at a show in 70°F weather on a humid night in the middle of July, stomping and sweating with and surrounded by other fans…you’re on the fast track for dehydration, babe. Nothing says “worst concert ever” like someone passing out from heatstroke, so drink some water.
Biology’s a balancing act. Empty your bladder before the show. Refill your body during it.
prepare an itinerary.
Make all your plans before the show. Know how you’re gonna get there, how you’re gonna get back, who you’ll meet up with, and where you’ll meet them. If you’re going to a festival, plan which acts you’ll see and when you’ll break to refuel.
Be prepared for delays, too. Whether it’s a risk of rain or a held-up performer or Deadmau5’s equipment shorting out the power three times in a row, plan for the show to start or end later than it claims.
wear shoes your feet hate.
There’s a time and place for statement shoes. A concert is neither. Aside from the 100% chance of people stepping on your beloved kicks, your feet’ll be hella wrecked if they’re stuck in a bad sole. Remember: you’ll be on your feet for the entirety of the show, plus the train ride or the walk from the parking lot.
You’re already gonna be standing all night. And jumping. And possibly dancing. Cut the toes some slack.
read up on lyrics before the show.
A thousand fans screaming familiar Paramore songs while Hayley herself smiles the whole time, mic facing the crowd, drowned by the love of a sweat-soaked stadium. A dream come true. Of all the shows I’ve been to, the best moments are always when the crowd becomes one with the music.
If you’ve been slacking on that new album, power through before the show date. Doesn’t have to be every word. Just enough to sing along.
be that guy.
We’re all at a show to have a good time. Each of us will have a different experience, though. Some will have better views; some will get more leg room. Accept your dice roll with grace. Be considerate. Don’t be that guy.
You know the one. The late kid who shoves his way to the front. The girl who takes up five yards to flail her arms wildly. The scrub who spends the whole night blocking the show with their phone.
It only takes one egg to ruin a whole night. Don’t be that egg. Don’t be that guy.
Last but not least, do have fun. The whole point of the show is to have a good time. Make some good memories, and revel in the moment. Make it an experience that leaves you electrified.
I aimed to put the more last-minute tips first, and tips for earlier preppers last. Thanks to Alex Fevry for some of this guide’s content.