How to See Your Favorite Bands Below Face Value

Concert Scratch

I go to concerts the way most people go see movies- it is my favorite way to simultaneously get pumped, unwind, and let my limbs go loose while I connect to something bigger. People are always asking me, Lamps! How do you do it? How do you afford to go to all those live shows?  Working hard doesn’t hurt, but I do love savin’ them hard-earned coins. I’ve already shared my secrets on how to save at a pricey festival, but now I’d like to pay homage to the everyday show.  Here are some of my favorite shameless money-saving tips to make sure you never miss your favorite band.

Note: Use these tips at your own risk, and remember: go in with a positive attitude, be nice to your neighbor, and have a good time no matter what happens.

1. Wait it out. Don’t buy tickets the day they go on sale unless you absolutely know that this will sell out immediately and be your only opportunity. It usually isn’t. Something always comes up, especially if you live in a big city. People are always looking over their shoulders for something better! Just like one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, one man’s “Yeah I’d probably go see PHISH” is another gal’s “I CANNOT MISS PHISH!” Craigslist is there for you, and it has almost always come through for me. There are some fair ticket trading sites  that can be a big help for fans, and even “these fans” will offer lower than face value prices if a show that was thought to be a hot seller ends up being a dud.

2. Show up the night of. This tip is for the true die-hard fan because it is much easier when you’re solo. Like most adventures, you have to endure some obstacles before you reach the final destination, and it makes it so much more exciting that way. Make sure you eat dinner, this could take some work. Maybe pour a stiff drink, you’re going to have to take initiative, be bold, and probably talk to strangers. Bring a few crisp $20’s.

3. Hang out, scope it out, look for these signals: You’re gonna want to keep you eyes peeled for two major green lights – trios of friends, and dudes alone. Chances are, the trio was once a quartet. The dude alone? Maybe his date stood him up or his buddy bailed out on him. All you have to do is politely say, “Does anyone have an extra?” You’ve got a 50/50 chance. The closer it is to showtime, the more willing people are to accept $20, because they were going to end up throwing it out anyway. Maybe you’ll get lucky and someone will notice the desperate look of hope in your eyes and offer you their extra first. And if you’re really lucky, you’ll hit the jackpot and find what I like to call The Golden Ticket – the sound guy you see taking a smoke break has a +1 Comp he doesn’t need.

4. Bribe a little, beg a lot. If scoping it out fails to find you a ticket, the mission is not over – you can’t give up just yet. You’ll have to swallow a little pride for this one, and get creative. Search for the employees who look less like actual security and more like volunteers wearing security vests. These nice folks are not getting paid much, so if you find the right one and ask nicely and maybe uncover one of those crisp $20’s in your pocket, you might find yourself getting escorted IN. Once I got into a sold out $65 Bob Dylan/Willie Nelson show by simply “borrowing” a staff badge for $20 from a guy working the “EXIT ONLY” gate. Thanks, Dennis! Another tactic is waiting until much later into showtime – skip the opening bands and talk to the guy at the door. This one works best if it’s a smaller venue with a good crowd. If it’s late enough, they might be open to letting you skip the cover, knowing they’ve already made their money at the bar. If it’s a bigger show? Look for the most approachable doorman. Maybe tell him how your Craigslist guy fell through and it’s your FAVORITE band and here you are alone in a dress again and you just really really need to see Dr. Dog to make your heart feel full again! Or something like that. Anyway, thanks, Gary!

5. If all else fails, RUN. You’ve tried everything, you’ve literally got nothing to lose here. If nothing else works, pretend you’re invisible and try to slip past security while they’re busy dealing with some other riff-raff. Maybe pretend you’re just coming in from a smoke break. BE COOL, act casual. Or, the ballsiest move yet – SPRINT inside, and GET LOST. Head for the restroom, change your shirt, put your hair up, put it down, take off your glasses, put on some glasses. Am I telling you to wear a disguise? Kind of. The slightest change will throw them off. I’ll admit, I’ve only used this once or twice, in dire moments. What can I say? I’m a professional.

Try these hot tips next time your favorite bands come to town, and you too can be well on your way to becoming a concert pro!

Erin Lampart is a comedian and story-teller living in Los Angeles with her cool dog, Jan. Part-time waitress and full-time dork, you can follow her on Twitter @ThatsSoLampy


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