Budgeting on concert and gig tickets
Experiencing live music doesn't have to cost the earth. Find the best ways to save money when booking tickets to your next gig with our discount tips and tricks.
Stay ahead of the curve
To be in with a shout of good value gig tickets, you need to know well in advance when your favourite bands are playing. Join their mailing lists for reliable info and special offers. Liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter and Instagram will also help if you want to find out first when they're heading out on the road. You can also sign up to mailing lists for specific venues and ticket selling sites which will keep you up to date.
Here's a pro-tip: by following your top acts on social media, you'll also stand a chance of buying - or winning - affordable tickets to 'secret' or warm-up gigs, for only the truest fans.
If the band you want to see is very popular, be ready. Virtual waiting rooms are increasingly used by ticket operators and may open an hour or two before tickets go on sale. To be in with a chance of accessing good tickets, aim to be first in the waiting room when it opens (try setting a reminder on your phone). If the band you want to see isn't so well known, it can be worth hanging back to see if tickets are discounted nearer the time of the performance.
One of the best ways to get a good deal is to buy from the venue directly, avoiding agency commission. Buying straight from the box office can swerve booking fees and added postage costs. Not all venues sell tickets this way, but call them and ask if you can turn up in person on the day tickets go on sale, or if they operate their own telephone booking line.
Compare ticket agencies – and venues
Some of the biggest ticket agencies add as much as 15% in commission to the face value of tickets. Smaller ticket agencies add smaller mark-ups, so find a few agencies that are selling tickets to a gig and compare prices. You can also compare venues if you're looking for a good deal. If you're city-based, but a band is playing a smaller venue in a different part of the country, it might be cheaper to see them play out of town, even taking added travel costs into account.
Invest in indie
While big, megastar bands put on huge, spectacular shows, tickets to see them can be extortionate. If you love live music, consider smaller gigs by independent bands at local venues, where advance tickets can be as cheap as a pound or two. There are plenty of great bands playing pubs and arts venues for free, too. Look at local listings and check Facebook pages for the best gigs near you.
You'll be crowd surfing before you know it.