The rise of internet touts has made getting a ticket for a gig frustrating AND expensive.
Tickets, even for massive venues, sell out in minutes, and magically appear with hugely inflated prices on secondary sites moments later. Even if the concert doesn’t sell out, tickets aren’t cheap, with the hefty face-value boosted by questionable booking and postage fees. However, you can beat the touts most of time.
Here are my top tips for not just getting a ticket, but getting it as cheap as possible too.
1. Get your ticket before they go on general sale
To cheapest way to get a ticket is to get it before the touts and avoid massive resale fees. Use E-Festivals, Songkick and GetToTheFront, and follow the twitter and email lists of your top acts to know what’s happening and when they go on sale.
You then might be able to grab the tickets before anyone else. Look for presale through fan sites and forums, O2 Priority Tickets or Amex and Mastercard member schemes. If a tour in announced sign up straight away to their mailing list – you might be in time to get a special code.
2. Be ready for when they go on sale
If there’s no presale, you need to be one of the first to try for tickets. These tricks will help.
If the sites require accounts, register and log-in ahead of the ticket release time.
Have more than one browser open at the same time (so Chrome, Safari and Firefox for example) and have different ticket sites open on different tabs in each browser. Use your smart phone, tablet and computer at the same time to give you a better chance of getting through.
And finally, have the pages loaded up well before the published time. Start hitting refresh and keep your fingers crossed.
3. Shop around for the lowest booking fees
Fees are a pain, so if it’s not a hot ticket and not likely to sell out in 2 minutes, shop around.
Booking and delivery fees vary from gig to gig and site to site, so it’s impossible to say which is the best. In the past, I’ve found WeGotTickets and Skiddle have really low fees but few of the big acts.
4. Pay face value when you get them in person
Even better than low fees are no fees, and you can often avoid them if you try the box office in person.
Venues such as the Brixton Academy and the Phones4U Manchester Arena don’t charge any fees if you do this, though you’ll need to pay cash. Stargreen has a free collection service in London, while Tickets-Scotland only charges £1 to collect from their Edinburgh or Glasgow offices (booking fees still apply to both).
5. Be careful of re-selling sites
You can pay through the nose on sites such as Viagogo, StubHub and Get Me In through hidden fees, and I don’t recommend it unless you really want a ticket. If you can leave it to the last minute you can sometimes get a real bargain with people desperate to sell. BE CAREFUL OF ANY SITE YOU’VE NOT HEARD OF – they could well be dodgy.
6. Go for free
London’s Rough Trade shops often have free in-store gigs when you buy the band’s new album. Every autumn the iTunes Festival in London gives competition winners entry to 15 gigs by big acts. Pubs around the country have local bands gigging for nothing – they could be the next big thing.
If you’ve the time and don’t mind missing some of the bands, you can register to volunteer as stewards and bar staff at most of the big festivals. You get a ticket in exchange for a couple of shifts. Oxfam handles big ones such as Glastonbury.