Not many things are better than the spectacular setting of a live concert. Bands and artists from all around the world, visiting your city and playing the albums you love the most – well, it’s just something else. But some concerts [*and festivals*] require more thought than just buying a ticket and turning up. So, here is a friendly, helpful guide for all those eagerly waiting to go to their first concert!
General things to consider:
As concerts come in all shapes and sizes, from small, dainty venues to sold out arena tours, it should come as no surprise that different venues require different preparation. But, before booking a ticket you should always familiarise yourself with these points…
1. The price of the tickets, merchandise and beverages.
The price of concerts can range, and so it’s no surprise that they can be extremely expensive. From personal experience, the cheapest concert I have been to was £4.00 at the O2 Academy Birmingham, and the most expensive was near £80 at the Ricoh Arena. You have to question if the experience is really worth the money you’re spending.
2. The price and availability of parking/ public transport.
If the concert is at a small location, it may be simple to park, but if not, then prepare for long, long, LONG, queues in and out of an arena. I suggest you come a couple of hours early to park and grab something to eat if you have time. Leaving it until last minute means parking will be hectic and that type of stress can ruin the relaxing vibes of live music.
On another note, do not always pay the extra money to park at the arena if there is the option to pay less and park a 20-40 minute walk away. By the time I had completed the 35 minute walk to the car, which only cost £5 to park, some people who had paid £20 at the Ricoh arena were still in the car park, unable to move, as the roads had been closed to allow everyone attending the concert to leave. [*The concert finished at 10.30. Some people were still in the car park at midnight*]
3. The type of ticket – seated or standing. [*It is clear standing tickets for a local band will differ from the stuffy adventure that is standing at a sold out Bon Jovi concert*]
This question is very important as it can change your whole outlook on the night. If you’re seated, you may still have the option to stand and dance in your tiny space to the songs, but seeing everything that’s going on could be a problem. However, if you’re standing, there is no sitting option. Yes you will be closer, but remember to think about the closeness with others, the screaming, the heat, and the feet-ache. You have no real personal space, but of course the upside is that you are closer to the stage.
POINT: Whether seated or standing, always arrange a meeting point with your friends inside or outside the arena. This means if you get lost in the crowds, and your phone has died, you will always find your friends.
Just a small note to remind you all to keep hydrated. Most, if not all, venues do not allow you to bring in your own water bottle, and so if you’re unwilling to buy a drink inside, it is vital that beforehand you drink a lot of water. Concerts can be exhausting – the jumping, the dancing, the singing – and you do not want to ruin the concert for yourself by suddenly feeling dizzy and unwell.
POINT: A handful of venues do pass drinks back [*the venue that comes to my mind is the O2 Academy Birmingham*] – but there is no guarantee you will get one, and I don’t know about you guys but I am not a fan of sharing drinks.
What to wear:
Different genres incorporate different types of clothing, but here is a list of all things concert-goers can agree on…
No large bags. Nobody wants to lug a heavy bag around for hours, and nobody wants to be near one either.
No heels or open shoes. Comfortable trainers/shoes are the way to go in order to avoid injury.
A jumper or thin coat that can be tied around your waist. As concerts can get very warm very quickly it’s important to wear clothing that doesn’t cause you to overheat. But at the same time, carrying a thin jumper or coat prepares you for the cold walk back to the car.
If the concert is outside in the summer, always remember sun-cream and a hat.
POINT: It is best to keep jewellery to a minimal also.
FINALLY – Let’s make a list of what to bring:
TICKETS/ WRISTBANDS. How are you meant to get into the concert if you forget these important fellas?
Money, preferably cash. Bring as much as you want for the merchandise, drinks, etc, but bring spare as an emergency fund. [*I’d also space it out into at least two different pockets, in case you lose some out of one pocket. I always do this now after losing a £20 note I wished to buy a Panic! At the Disco T-shirt with*]
Your phone, preferably completely charged and ready to go. Not only are you then able to video those memorable moments and songs, but you are also then prepared for the unexpected. E.g. If your train is cancelled, there is the option to phone a taxi.
A camera. If your phone’s camera quality is poor, or you wish to save battery, bringing a small camera would allow you to still capture the moments. However, I wouldn’t recommend bringing a fancy, expensive camera, especially if you’re standing.
ID. If you’re lucky enough to look younger than you are, then remember to bring your ID if you wish to purchase alcohol.