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Like anything else, preplanning is always the most important part of a concert. It's everything from "What should I bring?" to "How much money will I need?" I currently work for an Arizona-based concert promoting company that allows me to travel different venues. (And it even saves me a good bit of money on concert tickets) The one thing I noticed while working though was seeing how unprepared or even how upset some people got while trying to enter a show or even trying to enjoy the show. Luckily for you, I enjoy a good bit of different music and always find myself at a show so I have some tips for you! And if you've never been to a concert don't worry, I made this list in order from cheapest/smallest to the more expensive/bigger shows.
Clubs/Local Shows: (Super Cheap/Free)
Prices: $10 pre sale (pick up from band or online) $12 at the door. OR Free.
What to wear: Whatever you're comfortable in, no need to get very dressed up.
What to bring: Money.
Pros: If you've never been to a show or are worried about going to an actual venue, local shows are your best bet and you can usually find one every weekend. I personally enjoy going to local shows for many reasons. The venues range from aesthetic yet sketchy looking clubs that are roughly around the size of your local bar and grill to even free stages at outlet malls or parks. I recommend these shows to everyone and anyone, especially if you're a social drinker or just looking for something cheap and fun to do with your friends late at night. The bands performing don't have to be your favorite and you don't even have to enjoy the music but these shows are almost never crowded, the drinks are cheap and you really don't need to bring anything other than your wallet. If you're lucky you'll sometimes even get the chance to talk with the performers after the show.
Cons: These guys usually aren't very interactive with the crowd, especially if not many people are out in the pit. The band/performers can come off as shy (Thus not being interactive) but if you show some support by showing you enjoy their performance they will sometimes warm up. These shows will sometimes seem a bit awkward but again, if you're just looking for a place to hangout or even warm up to the concert scene, it's still worth going to check out.
*I'm not putting this in a second category, this is really just a little extra helpful bit but bands/performers that are obviously making their way up the ladder of their career, by this I mean they aren't exactly local since they're touring but their name is definitely getting out there, will sometimes put on shows in these venues as well. The prices for these tickets are usually no more than $25 since they sometimes will have openers for them.
Prices: $25 to $50, or if you again are more of a social drinker or don't want to stand in the crowd and get sweaty, some venues offer balcony seating which costs an extra $15 or $20 at the stairs. (Definitely worth it)
What to wear: Tank Tops, shorts, shoes you don't mind getting dirty. (Girls, it's best to tie your hair up. It gets hot.)
What to bring: Small purse/or make sure you have pockets, a decent amount of money for drinks/water/merch (merch prices vary)
Pros: I absolutely love going to these venues, they're not too big but they're definitely the most interactive. I also love the idea of being surrounded by hundreds of people who are there for the same reason as you. People are usually super nice (Even the drunks) so its super easy and sometimes even very helpful to make friends with the people around you. These shows also tend to throw out goodies and by this I mean if you're pretty close up to the gate or riding the rail, you're within the throwing zone in which you could potentially get your hands on the set list, drums sticks, guitar picks, etc. These shows usually have the best stage energy and are the most interactive, but always do your best to stay safe and stay hydrated.
Cons: People tend to shove quite a bit (depending on who you're seeing usually) so make sure if you're with friends you have a meeting spot after the show just in case you get split up from each other or don't have signal in the venue. These shows tend to get rowdy so don't be surprised or mad if someone unintentionally is squishing you, spills their drink on you, etc. I have never had an incident that made me uncomfortable at these venues but if you do, make sure to let security know but understand that there is only so much they can do within a crowd of people. If you're in the throwing zone, be careful! I cant tell you how many people I've seen, including myself , that have gotten hurt over people fighting over items thrown into the crowd or got harshly shoved.
Prices: $50 to about $300 depending on seating
What to wear: Almost anything comfortable but I still suggest the usual shorts and a tank top or shirt since most stadiums are indoors.
What to bring: Small purse/bag, money, some venues will allow water but most don't.
Pros: These shows usually give you your moneys worth, even if you're in the nose bleed seats. These shows are long and super nice to look at. Plus you can sit down if you're tired so its great!
Cons: Everything is really expensive so make sure you bring enough money for merch and water. The pit is super expensive and yeah the nosebleeds are nice but I personally like being up close to the stage.
*I don't have a whole lot to say about stadiums mostly because I don't go to them very much; but in my personal opinion, I'd save that money for a festival.
Prices: $50 to $300 (Depending on festival)
*Some festivals, usually the ones that are more than one day, will do payment plans which is super helpful if you buy your tickets in advance.
What to wear: Dress for the art! Coachella, any EDM Fest, Warped Tour, they all have a specific look to them so dress the part but dress comfortably since these things usually last all day.
What to bring: Small backpacks are allowed, (Clear/see through plastic bags are your best bet) water, sharpies, bandaids, money, small snacks.
Pros: Festivals are by far the most fun. Not only do you get to dress up but you're able to see multiple artists, maybe even meet them, take photos, buy merch, play games and everyone is usually super friendly. It's definitely getting you your moneys worth and you can hangout wherever you want with whoever you want.
Cons: These places are definitely expensive, so food and water is going to be pretty expensive. Since festivals are all day, you're more than likely going to get tired but you cannot leave the festival and reenter, so make sure you have everything you need if you don't want to spend too much money.
Now that you read up on some of the basics, go out there and experience a concert! Its definitely worth trying and its always a memorable experience. I may or may not be forgetting anything but maybe you'll find out more helpful tips on your own. I hope this was helpful!