3 Great Ways to Have a Great Concert Experience for Less Money

by on November 27th, 2010
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Whether it’s a huge arena rock show or an intimate chamber music recital, concerts are a great way to spend time with the family or grab an evening away with your significant other. Concerts can take a bite out of the budget, but following these tips can help you find just the right concert at just the right price.

Join the mailing lists for major ticket outlets. Although outlets like Ticketmaster (ticketmaster.com) are notorious for adding a significant processing fee to ticket sales, they also offer the occasional steep discount. These are more common in the summer, when concert season is at full swing and venues, engaged in heavy competition, find themselves undersold. These can be excellent deals, too-I was able to attend a high-profile show at Red Rocks Amphitheater (Goo Goo Dolls and Switchfoot) for a mere $10 per ticket. And with no additional processing fee!

Follow local and/or independent bands. Some of the best rock music out there comes from independent bands who are doing all their own recording, producing, and sometimes even their own booking. These groups tend to perform in tiny venues where the price of admission is less than you’re likely to spend on drinks while you’re watching the show. A disadvantage to this approach is that many of these bands play in venues that are technically bars, and can be limited to 16+, 18+ or even 21+ attendees, making them less than ideal for a family outing. This isn’t always the case, though, so play close attention to where and when your favorite indie band is performing. As an example, I was recently able to catch Empires, a Chicago-based independent band recently featured in Rolling Stone magazine, at Larimer Lounge in Denver for only an $8 cover charge. This is a 21+ venue, but these guys also play at all ages venues, particularly in the Chicago area. So find a good local band and follow them on Twitter or Facebook. They’ll let you know when and where their next appearance will be. There’s also a high likelihood of an up-close and personal experience with the performers, who are often happy to interact with their fans, signing autographs, posing for photos, chatting and even dispensing handshakes and hugs.

Another downtown Denver venue, the Marquis Theater, also books smaller bands for tickets at much lower prices than Red Rocks or the Pepsi Center, and they host numerous all ages shows. These smaller venues also often have Facebook or Twitter accounts where you can easily keep track of upcoming, low-priced shows.

Attend performances of local chorales or orchestras. Here in Denver, a concert with the Colorado Symphony or the Denver Philharmonic can run as high as $50 or $80 a ticket. Keep an eye out, though, for programs at lower prices, since even the major symphonies in a metropolitan area will have varying ticket prices depending upon the show. In addition, Denver isn’t the only game in town. Suburbs like Lakewood, and mountain towns like Evergreen, have their own chorales and orchestras where you can enjoy high quality music at a much lower price. Local colleges also stage recitals and performances, often with high-caliber performers. At many of these venues, an evening of great classical music can be yours for much less than it would cost downtown. In your area, use your favorite search engine to find these local performers, then keep an eye on different performances, special family packages, or matinee performances to keep the prices down.

Music is a rewarding experience for anyone, so finding a way to take your friends, family, or that special someone out for a concert is well worth the effort of chasing down affordable tickets.


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