5 Things to Know Before Attending Your First Concert
Going to see your first concert–ever?! Congratulations! You’re about to have one of the best times of your life. But with your first concert experience comes many questions. Like, what do you wear? What will the crowd be like? What time should you arrive? Find answers to all your burning questions below, and go from rookie to veteran in no time.
What Should I Wear to My First Concert?
This all depends on the type of music you’re going to see. As a woman, don’t fall into the trap of thinking you need to look super cute in order to fit in. Wear something that you feel good and can move easily in. For a general admission show, wear comfy shoes and light clothing as its likely to get a bit hot on the floor. Flip flops will stick to beer so that’s a big no. Never wear the shirt of the band you’re going to see, unless it’s a hippie show and then those rules don’t apply. For dudes, stray from button-ups and polos and rock your favorite t-shirt. For everybody: please wear deodorant. And above all else–put your hair in a ponytail. Nobody wants your hair in their mouth.
Is It Rude to Go to the Front of Crowd?
This is a long-debated question in the concert-going community. Again, it greatly depends on the band you’re going to see because that will indicate the vibe of the crowd. Here is this writer’s (who is also an avid concert-goer) feelings: Some people wait for hours before a show to stake their claim in the front. I always wonder what those people do when they have to pee. Anyway, yes it’s rude to just barge forward at a sold-out show and knock said people out of the way. However, there is such a thing as sharing the rail. If you are diligent about moving up when little gaps of space appear on the floor, generally your turn will come and you’ll naturally rotate into a front spot. And just like it was shared with you, don’t hog it. Enjoy your time and you’ll naturally rotate out when it’s time to go pee or get a drink. For die-hards: no way they’re moving from anywhere for anything.
What Time Do I Have to Get to the Concert?
The answer to this depends on how many openers (if any) are at the show. And if you want to see those openers. Rap shows, for example, generally have tons of artists on the bill with the main event not taking the stage until 10, 10:30, sometimes 11PM. Jam bands, however, sometimes have no opener and will take the stage around 9/9:30PM. Most tickets will have two times listed on them: doors / show. Seasoned concert-goers usually add about 30 minutes to the “show” time and that gets them in the door right before the main event begins. If this is a tour that has been underway for several dates, check online to see when the band has been getting onstage for the other nights. For venues with strict curfews (most theater shows), the show time listed on the ticket is generally pretty accurate.
How Do I Get There? Where Should I Park?
Most concert venues will have information regarding parking and travel on their website. For folks in major cities or with access to ride-sharing services, the subway or a car pickup is your best best. For the rest of the world, do a bit of Googling pre-show to find out what parking garages are nearby and/or have the best rates. If you don’t care about saving money and want convenience, call the venue and ask what parking garage is closest to your ticket entrance (if the information isn’t already available online). Parking garage rates will vary, but the average cost is around $30 per event.
What is Security Like?
Overzealous security guards generally lead to long entry lines, so if you’re going to get a full body search its best to give yourself extra time to get into the show. This question is dependent on the venue, the artist, how many days in a row the artist has been to the venue, and what the mood of the security guard is that day. Most mid-level venues that range in capacity from about 2,500-5,000 have the tightest security, with very thorough bag and body checks. The larger the venue, the less hands-on security and more metal detectors and body wands. Some venues have you line up by gender, with women being searched by female security guards and vice versa. Try to look objectively at the concert you’re going to see: is it Tori Amos or is it Marilyn Manson? Although profiling people based on their music preferences is totally whack, it’s another good signal of how extreme security will be.