Concerts are a huge part of fan culture—there’s nothing better than finding out your favorite artist is going on tour and coming near you. They bring people together and create lifelong memories, but they can also be a new and frightening experience. There’s a few crucial tips and tricks I’ve learned over many years of going to many concerts of various genres. So, here’s seven things that I think everyone should know before going to a show.
Firstly, before the day of the show, figure out what time you want to get to the venue. Do you have general admission and want to queue all day, or are you seated and plan to walk in a few minutes before the show begins? It’s always good to plan ahead, and always set aside more time than you think you’ll need, just in case. If you decide to line up early, always check the venue’s social media, as they’ll typically post something about what time you’re allowed to line up and if camping is allowed. Lots of times venues will honor fan lines if they begin off of venue property, but always be careful and listen to what the venue enforces. Remember, no matter where you’re standing or seated, it’ll be a great time regardless, so don’t stress too badly about queuing and lines.
Debatably, one of the most important things to do to prepare your body for a concert is to properly hydrate and fuel up. This means eating properly during the day, and consistently having water. If you’re queuing all day, be sure to search for what restaurants or stores are close to the venue and see if they have restrooms. It always helps to plan ahead and know what food is readily available to you near the venue, especially if you have a specific diet or food preference. For shows during the summer, freezing water bottles the night before the show is also useful, as it’ll thaw throughout the day and assure you have ice cold water. During the colder months, regular water bottles will do, as they most likely will remain a drinkable temperature throughout the day. Regardless of the way you choose to hydrate and fuel yourself, it needs to be done to assure that your body is ready for the concert.
Alright, you know when you want to get to the venue. Time to check the weather and prepare an outfit for the show. There’s no right or wrong way to dress for a concert. Some people like to go with a theme that correlates to the artist, and some people go in sweatpants and a t-shirt. You want to be as comfortable as possible, which varies from person to person. Take into consideration that by the time the concert is over, it’ll most likely be colder than when you went in, especially during the chillier months. Some venues have coat checks for jackets and bigger sweaters, but it all depends on the venue. A lot of people don’t realize how tiring and painful it can be to stand for an entire show, as they’re usually more than two hours long. Try to find the most comfortable shoes for you and think about what you’ll be doing during the show to help choose. Do you plan to be sitting down, or jumping and dancing? Treat your feet with kindness.
You’re dressed and ready to go, but you’re probably going to want to bring some essentials into the venue. Most venues allow small, clutch-sized or smaller bags in, but it’s always best to check a venue’s bag policy before going. Most times clear bags are allowed without a size restriction. Obviously, you’re going to want to bring your phone, and it’s always a good idea to bring a portable charger. There are ones that plug into the bottom of your phone to save space in your bag, or you could always bring a good old corded portable charger. Don’t forget your wallet, including any cards you may want to use for merch, food, etc, and your ID. I always recommend bringing a small, quiet fidget toy to shows to help calm anxiety and restlessness. And earplugs are a must, you don’t want to cause hearing issues when they’re so easily avoidable. Since concerts happen year round, the weather will determine what extras will be a benefit to bring. For the warmer months, things like mini sunscreen tubes, tissues or handkerchiefs, mini fans, and sunglasses will be useful throughout the day. For the colder months, beanies, ear warmers, disposable hand warmers, scarves, and blankets will help make the colder weather more bearable. Another thing I’ve found useful to bring during any season is medicine, whether that be anti-nausea or headache relief, bring whatever you anticipate you may need. You should bring whatever you feel like will help make your concert experience a more enjoyable one.
Getting into the venue itself is usually a simple process: if you have a bag, security will typically check it to assure everything is allowed into the venue, and you’ll walk through a metal detector. If all goes well, you’ll be through the gates in no time. But what now? If you’ve queued up all day or longer, you’ll probably be close to the front if not barricade. Congratulations, you’re gonna have an up close and personal view of the artists! There are a few things to remember before deciding to stay in the front few rows. You most likely won’t be able to leave the crowd without losing your spot, so take that into consideration. If you decide to hang in the back of pit, you’ll have a lot more freedom to do whatever you’d like. Bathroom access is easier, you can move around the venue, and sometimes if there’s space, you can sit down on the floor ( not the cleanest, but sometimes necessary for resting your legs ). Remember that the closer you are to the stage, the more pushing occurs and less room you’ll have. Certain crowds and artists can attract more rowdy audiences, so just take that into consideration. If you’re ever in the front and feel claustrophobic, or simply want to leave the crowd, you’ll have to push your way out and to the back. Middle pit is good for those who want to be semi-close and don’t really mind being pushed around and stuck in tight spaces, as this is usually where the bulk of movement happens. These are all things to take into consideration when planning where you’d like to be in the venue during the show.
You’re settled in the crowd, and the show is about to start. What now? Enjoy the show! Remember that everyone enjoys live music differently, so do your best not to judge how others are enjoying the show. Some people like to dance, some like to scream every lyric with their whole chest, while others may stand there in silence, or quietly sing. Never make assumptions about others based on how they’re enjoying the show; worry about yourself and yourself only. You’re there for yourself and whoever you’re seeing, so enjoy the show however you feel fit and treat everyone around you with care and respect.
The band has left the stage, and the show has come to an end, so what now? You’re probably going to want to leave the venue. Always be respectful of others around you, as everyone’s trying to leave at generally the same time. If crowds and large amounts of people moving at once aren’t really your thing, wait a bit in the venue. Typically, people try to leave immediately after the show, but if you wait for a few minutes, the crowds will disperse, and it’ll be less stressful to leave. Sometimes people will wait outside the venue to try and meet whoever they saw, but it’s never guaranteed and depending on the area you’re in, may not be the safest idea. Make sure you’re okay to drive after the show, because you may be quite tired, and always replenish your body with a good meal and water after. You’ll have lost lots of fluids from sweating and exerting energy for the show, and the combination of post-show exhaustion and dehydration is never good. Once you’re safely home, you’ll probably want to sleep as most shows end quite late. You may feel sad after the show, or the day after. That’s normal, and it’s called post-concert depression ( PCD ). Basically, once the burst of dopamine you had during the show is gone, it leaves you feeling empty and sad. Treat yourself kindly during this time, as it’s completely normal and happens to many people. The intensity and time it lasts varies from person to person, and it can last for quite a bit of time. There’re a few ways to help ease the PCD, like rewatching your videos or looking at your pictures. For some, that may worsen it. Just remember to be gentle with yourself during these times and remind yourself that it will pass.
Concerts are a magical place where people come together to enjoy the same artist for one ( or multiple ) nights together, and it’s a beautiful thing. There’re always ways to better your experience, and hopefully, some of these tips will help assure you have the safest and best time possible at your show.