The Summer season is waltzing in already, with more shows announced than we know what to do with. If you’re anything like us, you’ve already got your calendar filled to capacity with prospective concerts and events. Unfortunately, your wallet isn’t quite as overflowing. You sigh as you watch the trust fund babies of Facebook RSVP to all your favorite shows. The day of the concert comes and you’re at home binge-watching “The Office” — periodically checking Snapchat and drowning your sorrows with Sweet Cow ice cream as all your friends rage to Alt-J — sound familiar?
Good news: That’s not going to be you this summer, because you’re a resourceful and thrifty concert attending queen or king. If you follow these tips, we can ensure you won’t be that salty, resentful friend sitting at home this summer.
What better way to immerse yourself in your favorite venue and community than to volunteer? Warm, fuzzy feelings and free entry to any show of your choosing — sounds like a no-brainer, right? There’s plenty of opportunities for people like you looking to help out and receive free admission. Some of the common options out there include setting up before, cleaning up after, Friends of Red Rocks, canvassing, Conscious Alliance and reaching out directly to the venue or artist to ask about volunteer opportunities.
You may feel like you’re one of those people who never wins anything and that entering in contests is a waste of time — but so does everyone else — which is why your chances for winning are actually much better than you imagine. There are plenty of places where ticket giveaways go down, including but not limited to, radio stations, social media, the artists’ website and ticket resellers.
This is a sure-fire way to guarantee your ticket to an event. However, it requires a little bit more effort than just winning a contest. It’s more of a lengthy commitment — usually consisting of five hours of promotional work for the event you’re trying to attend. The benefit of street teaming is that you do all the work ahead of time, so once you’re at the show you can simply enjoy it, without worrying about any added responsibilities.
Work at the Venue
There are many perks of working at a venue that features your favorite artists. The most obvious is that you are getting paid to go to concerts. The other main perk is the numerous employee discount programs allowing you to save a bundle on your off days. You get to work in such a lively environment with other music lovers and are in the know before everyone else about upcoming shows. Some common positions include being a bouncer, working concessions, bartenders, ticket sales and general oversight or security.
Probably the easiest way to save money on concert tickets is to regularly engage in social media — as if you don’t already. Facebook groups and event pages will feature a plethora of people wanting to connect with you and resell some tickets. Committed fans will often be open to doing trades. Regularly you will come across someone who has acquired a couple of tickets but is without a ride to the venue — willing to trade a ticket in exchange for transportation. Craigslist is another great resource to purchase discounted tickets, but be wary of the validity of the ticket you’re buying before sending money to someone you don’t know. If it seems too good to be true — it probably is. Here at 303 Magazine, we occasionally offer ticket giveaways, and so do other local businesses like Buffalo Exchange. Join Facebook groups like Colorado Ticket Scene for the occasional last-minute free ticket because someone could no longer make it.
Primary vs. Secondary Ticket Market
The primary market includes initial sale tickets sold from box offices, team or venue websites and primary authorized resellers. This primary market is usually more expensive and includes service fees. The secondary ticket market includes resale tickets in a variety of forms such as person-to-person selling, scalping, secondary ticket websites and ticket search engines. By choosing the secondary ticket market, you are able to avoid service fees, find tickets for under face value and not stress about securing your spot in the primary sale. Pro-tip — be sure to check out the free ticket wall at Twist & Shout. Most of the time there’s nothing special, but every once-in-a-while you’ll strike gold.
Events That are Already Free
City Park Jazz Festival is a summer tradition every local looks forward to. Levitt Pavilion is a nonprofit venue that features a lot of free festivities as well. Anythink-Backyard-Concert-Series hosts three free concerts this summer at Anythink Wright Farms in Thorton, Colorado. You might have to purchase drinks or food once you get there, but at least it won’t be in addition to a $40 ticket. Bohemian Nights is a massive free (mostly local) music showcase in Fort Collins. Plus, Black Shirt Brewing, Oskar Blues Black Buzzard and more host free concert series throughout the summer.
Pre-sales and Promotions
On that note, pre-sale tickets win up against both primary and secondary ticket options. By signing up for your favorite artists’ email lists, you will receive alerts the second tickets are available and before sales open up to the general crowd. Artists will often reward committed fans by offering promotions and discounts to people who follow their tour closely and pay attention to the release dates and times for tickets. Loyalty pays off here and the extra emails in your inbox are worth it to your wallet. In addition, some local promoters and other members of the music industry like Roux Black, Greeblehaus and more conduct spontaneous giveaways and offer the occasional promo code.
Buy at the Venue
When you physically go to the venue, you can save up to $30 on service fees. The Red Rocks Box Office is open day of show only. If tickets are still available for that day’s show, and other upcoming shows, you can usually purchase them at the Box Office. Also, all available Red Rocks tickets can be purchased at the Denver Coliseum on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. On Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. you can purchase tickets with no fees at the Ogden Theatre, the Gothic Theatre and the Bluebird Theater. On Fridays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., you can pay (cash only) at the Summit Music Hall box office and avoid service fees on all tickets. Here you can find tickets for shows not only at the Summit, but also the Marquis Theatre and Colorado Springs venue the Black Sheep. Finally, Vine Street Brewery is a novelty in the Uptown neighborhood of Denver — providing some of the best brewskis and concert tickets (without the service fees). Make friends with the bartenders and see about what tickets and beers they’ve got brewing in the back.
Budget for It
Truly the best way to afford to feed your music addiction is to be proactive about it and save. Factoring in the cost of concerts into your monthly budget will help you to know how much you have to spend on that cute girl from work or that $15 sushi roll from Whole Foods. Make music, food and bills a priority — in that order.