Once upon a time, we convinced a friend of ours to spill his secrets about how he gets into every show and music festival without ever going broke. His answer? Talk loudly on your phone and act like you’re important - they won’t even question your credentials at the door.
Because that method is maybe reliable 1% of the time, here are some other options you have for attending concerts, without having to fork over the money.
Volunteer at a show
Organizations like Rock Med* do a great job of staffing concerts with medical workers who apply to volunteer. Sure, you might have to respond to a crowdsurf or five gone wrong and freaky OD cases while upholding their motto (Setting the standard in non-judgemental event medicine), but at least you get to see some of the show. For the kiddos reading - something to think about when you’re selecting your college major.
Volunteer at a festival
Didn’t go to nursing school? No problem. Most major festivals in the spring and summer rely on hundreds of medically unskilled people just like you! to staff their events. Shifts can range from three hours and up, but for some, the payoff of free lodging and access to the festival in your off-time is worth it.
You know those email contests about free tickets? They actually work
Seriously though. You don’t know how many shows I went to in college just because I entered my name in a ticket giveaway. They’re everywhere - on music websites, newspapers, Facebook, etc. Given that Arcade Fire recently asked their fans to dress up in Reflektor-themed outfits just for a shot at getting tickets to see them live, emailing your name doesn’t sound that hard, now does it? Don’t be lazy - utilize your email!
Offer up your creative talents
Contrary to popular belief, journalism and photojournalism is open to pretty much anyone – which you’ll know if you’ve read a show review at all lately. If the prospect of volunteering at festivals and concerts doesn’t appeal to you, try attending the show as media. The best part? You don’t have to worry about the actual work until after the show is over!
Intern with the event company
Love music but hate picking and choosing which shows you go to because of your budget? Try interning with the promotional companies and event managers who run the show. Chances are, once you score a gig working at a place that deals daily in putting on concerts, an opportunity to attend a concert will turn up at some point in your job description. If not, you could always try name-dropping your colleagues at a show’s entrance and see if that gets you anywhere. (Probably not! But worth a shot.)
Don’t be scared of contacting the artist
A well-phrased shoutout to an artist you’re dying to see on Twitter just might be the one that catches their eye - and gets you tickets to the show. Also, don’t be afraid to contact the band’s management team. Most of the time, they’ll ignore you! But once in a blue moon, you might get lucky. (It’s how this guy got permission to propose to his fiancee at a Noah and the Whale concert.)
Act like you’re important
Talk loudly and act irritated near VIP entrance and you just might be mistaken for someone important. Sometimes, it really works. You didn’t hear it from us though.
*Rock Med was founded in 1972, when San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury Free Clinics were asked to staff medical care tents at Grateful Dead and Led Zeppelin outdoor shows.
[Photo: Eva Rinaldi]