Your concert survival guide for 2015
Well its that season for outdoor concerts and festivals. There’s nothing like seeing your favorite band with 5000 other screaming fans live, it sure beats the hell out of listening to Mp3’s on your home stereo. There are some huge bands heading to our shores this year as well as some amazing outdoor festivals so getting prepared to have a great time is not tough, but here’s a guide to help the newbie (and seasoned pro) concert goer.
Tickets and merch
The best place to buy tickets are on-line if you know they are going to be hot. Log into the website with your credit card handy at least 10 minutes before they go on sale and keep hitting that refresh button. Once you get the chance, nab that bad boy. Hopefully you’re going with a friend, so grab their ticket while you’re there. However, the cheapest way to buy a ticket is directly from the venue on the night. You’ll avoid all the ticketing fees, and they often offer cheap early bird tickets, or even discounted tickets if the event is struggling for sales. Of course you might be left out like no-friends Nigel if tickets have sold out online.
Merchandise is expensive. Like ‘wide-eyed holy crap how much?‘ expensive. You may want to bring a spare $100 or so just in case you want a t-shirt or CD. T-shirts run around $60 and CDs normally $30, possibly more if they are signed. If you’re at a festival there will be loads of merch from all the bands playing. If you want something signed, bands will only sign their own merch (duh). Its expensive, but also exclusive so you won’t ever get another chance. If you’re a fan, this is the cost of your affliction. If you’re looking to get signature, take a silver or white Sharpie with you – most merch is black, so this is the only way to have your precious signature actually show up.
Parking can be a nightmare, so try to use public transport or a taxi if possible. If you must take a car, get there early and try to park as close to the exit as possible. It might be a little bit more walking now, but at the end of the night when everybody wants to leave at the same time, being near the exit could save you hours of waiting to get out. Often times you will have parking attendants so you’ll have to go where they say, but at least being early will can get into the venue ahead of the crowds.
Consider leaving a drink and snack in the car – after a long day at a concert you’ll be knackered by the time you get back, food can be a lifesaver during the imminent waiting game to get out of the car park.
Food and Drinks
Unfortunately most events won’t let you bring your own food or drinks, including water bottles. There should be free water taps around the place, so buy a resealable bottle of drink early on and keep refilling it. Expect to pay fairly exorbitant prices for anything. If you go in expecting to drop $100 on food and drink, you’ll have a great time and maybe pleasantly surprised when you get home and find $5 in lose change left over. Do drink lots of water though, getting dehydrated sucks.
If you’re planning on getting stuck into the most pit, crowd surfing and that kinda thing – you need tight comfortable clothing with button pockets. Shoes should be comfortable and secure – if you lose one, you’re not getting it back. You will also lose your sunnies, caps, cell phone etc. If its not tightly connected to your body, its gone.
If you’re more interested in sitting back and taking in the sounds, dress for comfort, not fashion – high heel are a no-no girls. Remember it might be hot during the day, but will get cold at night. Jeans work, as do longs that you can roll up if its too hot. A singlet with long sleeve shirt on top is handy as you can strip off the top layer if needed. Hats and sunnies are great, but again expect to lose or break them – take cheapie ones.
Earplugs. If you can at least get those cheap yellow ones from the chemist, your ears will thank you for it. They actually make loud music sound better believe it or not (they cut out all the damaging high frequencies), but they will make it difficult to hold a conversation with your friends. The best kind are the plastic ones you wear on a necklace and can pop in and out easily.
Cameras are cool if the event allows them, but you wont get in with a pro DSLR with 200mm zoom lens. Just a pocket point and shoot works, or just use your cell phone. Again, expect to lose or damage it and you wont be disappointed. Speaking of cell phones, you won’t be able to talk on them with all the noise, but txting is cool – but with thousands of other people doing the same thing often the local network tower will get overloaded. Attach your phone to your body – lanyard around your neck works well.
Bags are a pain to carry all day, and security will check it for anything illegal. They are also high on the list of stuff stolen, so try to take what you need in your pockets and leave the luggage in the car boot.
If you have any degree of love for you fellow man – personal hygiene goes a long way, as does a shower and underarm that morning.
Its really easy to lose someone amongst all the people. Set up a meeting point if you get separated – maybe near the loos, the main entrance gate or some landmark area at the venue.
Don’t be that dickhead
There will be security everywhere, inside and out looking for idiots. If you’re caught with illegal substances, expect to get ejected from the venue, even handed over to the police if they are present. Avoid fights. There will be some tension at the front, it can’t be avoided with so many people closely packed like that. If you bump into someone, acknowledge a sorry (just a eyebrow pop or wave often works) – most understand and have bumped into plenty of people already. If something starts flaring up, move away from the trouble if you can. The security will come down pretty harshly on trouble makers, and so will the crowd – don’t be that egg being escorted out of the venue with a bloody nose and no shirt.
If you’re at the front, just be cool and go with the flow. People are going to be jumping and screaming, you just need to handle the jandal and tough it out. The media photographers are often in the pit area shooting the bands, they’ll take a photo of you too if you’re having fun – nothing like getting your photo in the paper, the ultimate ‘I was there‘ badge of honor.
If you are at the front and getting crushed, or feeling faint – just signal out to the security, they will get you out, its part of their job. If you don’t want to be knocked around, groped, deafened, covered in filth – the front of the crowd is not for you.
So, as you’ve probably derived, festival concerts are expensive, tiring and potentially dangerous places. After you’ve paid hundreds for your ticket, expect to drop that again on the day for goodies. You’re going to get sun burnt or pissed all over by the rain, you’ll be deaf for the next three days, you’ll lose your wallet and your favorite baseball cap, you’ll have words with that loudmouth drunk guy up front, spend half the day queuing for a drink or a piss – but after all thats over and done and you’re back home, I will guarantee you be thinking yeah, that was the best day ever!