As an avid concertgoer, I’ve learned many tips and tricks to ensure I have the best concert experience. Whether you’re going to a show at a GA venue or have a ticket for a GA pit, here are some of my favorite hacks to survive being in the crowd of a general admission concert.
Getting a Good Spot
If you want to get up close and personal with your favorite artist/band, you need to get to the venue early. “Early” is different depending on the popularity of the artist(s). Personally, I suggest arriving either in the morning of the show or in the early afternoon around 1 pm. For bigger artists (like Harry Styles, BTS, or Justin Bieber), fans may camp out a day or so before – if the venue allows it. Check social media and see what previous shows for that artist/tour looked like to get an idea of when to arrive.
Either way, you’ll be in line for a number of hours. This means you need to be prepared and pack the essentials: bring food and water, bring a jacket or raincoat, and don’t forget your portable phone charger!
Get a Number + Wristband
The venue (or sometimes a superfan/line leader) will have a numbering system in place. For Billie Eilish’s opening night show in New Orleans, fans began lining up outside the venue as early as 12 hours before the show. Yes, outside at 8 AM with raincoats and umbrellas in hand. Talk about dedication! Fans were given numbers as they waited in line to prevent people from cutting the line. While in line, the venue also conducted health checks (vaccine card and ID verification) so fans would have a smoother and quicker process getting into the venue.
Check to see if the artist you’re seeing live or the venue is selling upgrades – VIP, Fast Lane, or Early Entry! Most VIP packages, especially for GA shows, include early entry. Some Live Nation venues sell Fast Lane passes as add-ons. For Jack Harlow’s show at the Coca-Cola Roxy in Atlanta, my friend and I purchased fast lane passes. We jumped in the fast lane line when doors opened at 7 PM and secured a spot five people back from the barricade! It allowed us to skip thousands of fans who were already in the regular GA line + we didn’t have to camp out all day for a good spot.
Use the Bathroom BEFORE
Once the show starts, it’s nearly impossible to get through the crowd, especially to your original spot. Visit the restroom before you enter the floor. If possible, try to use it before they open the doors inside a local restaurant!
Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate.
Clearly, I can not stress this enough. It’s important to stay hydrated and well-nourished at any concert or festival but ESPECIALLY at a general admission event. Dehydration is no fun. Your energy dwindles, you feel miserable, and you definitely won’t make it to the end of the show in the overheated crowd.
At Lil Weezyana Fest, fans were passing out so much Travis Scott stopped his set to point out where paramedics needed to go. Recently, I went to Austin City Limits and at 2:30 pm fans were being pulled from the crowd and carried to the first aid tent. The festival gates hadn’t even been opened for three hours yet!!!
Most concerts don’t allow you to bring outside food or drink, so bring money to buy a bottle inside. Check the FAQ for the festival you’re planning to attend. They either allow you to bring in a factory-sealed water bottle OR an empty water bottle to fill at their refill stations.
Comfort = Cute
Wear comfortable, sturdy shoes. From walking to standing to dancing to jumping, you’re definitely going to be on your feet. Since you’ll be in a sea of people, it’s best to avoid open-toed shoes so your toes don’t get stepped on. Also avoid wearing sandals, heels, or shoes you haven’t broken in yet. Closed-toe shoes such as combat boots, slip-ons, or tennis shoes are your best options.
Give your eardrums extra coverage. Protect yourself from loud sounds especially if you’re planning on being upfront near the stage!
Run to the Sides
Once you’re inside, scope out the venue and find a spot where you’ll be able to see the show comfortably. Keep an eye out for the location of speakers and if anything will obstruct your view of the stage.
Fun fact: most people go straight for the middle of the stage. So you should aim for the side. For Lizzo’s sold-out show at the Fillmore, I scored a spot in the front row against the barricade by going a bit to the side instead of the middle like everyone else!
Adios Personal Space
I’m not going to sugarcoat this. You are cramped, sweaty, and hot in general admission. Your personal space is sacrificed, especially towards the middle of the venue/stage. Be prepared to be VERY close to those around you especially if the crowd starts pushing.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told “my friend is up there” when really they’re just trying to see how far up they can get. People are not afraid to stand their ground and not let people pass. If you have to go to the bathroom, get a drink, or just get out for a moment, your spot is forfeited to anyone else that wants it. To ensure your spot is saved, try to make friends with those around you. Ask them to hold your space and help you to get back in place.
Get Merch at the END!
I made the mistake of buying merchandise at Jack Harlow’s show and had to have someone in the ADA section let me put it on an extra seat next to them because 1) it was inconvenient to hold while standing in the GA crowd and 2) it was a hoodie so wearing it would have probably resulted in me getting a heat stroke. With that being said, grab merchandise as you leave the venue OR purchase it online!
Enjoy the Show!
Have fun – dance like no one is watching and sing as loud as you can! Enjoy every moment.
What’s better than buying a concert ticket? Winning free tickets! Check my Instagram page for ticket giveaways.
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