Concert Tips (What Time to Attend? Where and When to Buy Tickets? )
After attending hundreds of concerts in the Toronto area, I thought I’d provide a little write up with tips that could help or amplify your concert attending experience. Though this article is written with a Toronto emphasis, you can apply the general rules to any venue in North America.
Frank Ocean vs. 2 Chainz
July 31st is a rainy day in Toronto and the line up to see Frank Ocean extends around the venue. A typical Kool Haus night doesn’t require you to be at the venue prior to one hour before doors open to get a decent spot inside. Due to the buzz around Frank Ocean though, the lineup started accumulating at 4:00 PM for a show that didn’t start until 10:30 PM. Is it really necessary to spend an entire day waiting for a concert that’s barely 90 minutes? No. Ask anyone who waited in line though, and they’ll tell you it was worth it.
The 2 Chainz concert at the Phoneix on September 4th, 2012 demanded about a 2 hour wait before getting into the venue. DJ Charlie Brown put on an excellent set as people got comfortable before the premier of one of the hottest rappers in the game right now, Tru.
With general admission venues the lineup usually starts to develop extremely early because everyone wants to be close to the stage. When your ticket says doors are at 8:00 PM, that usually means that the openers will come out at around 9 PM and the main artist will arrive at about 10 PM. This obviously differs per show, but it’s the norm for majority of the general admission tours which stop in Toronto.
The problem with wanting to get up close to the stage is that only the people who are in the first couple rows will have a good view. Anyone directly behind them, though they still might be close to the stage, will be forced to look at a pretty high angle for the next couple of hours. This isn’t a comfortable spot to be in, especially if you have taller people in front of you. So it comes down to this, either you are a diehard fan and want to take the gamble and sacrifice a couple extra hours to get there extra early, or you wait until the lineup is finished. Especially for a Hip Hop concert that is happening at either The Opera House, The Phoenix Concert Theatre, Kool Haus, or any of the Guvernment buildings, showing up one hour after doors open is the ideal time. This way, you aren’t waiting outside and you can comfortably find spots on the sides of the venue. Though you aren’t close the stage, you’ll still be able to enjoy the show comfortably and likely have more space to lean back.
VIP Balcony vs Mosh Pits
Attending a concert from the balcony or being right up at the stage are two extremely different experiences. This will all depend on what type of a night you want. The Balcony atmosphere is usually still very positive and you’ll have one of the better views in the venue of the show. You’ll have a lot more space and easier access to the bar. If you decide to get up close to the stage, you’ll likely have no space, and no option of going to the bar or restrooms. You’re pretty much committed at this point and escaping is easier said than done. Depending on what show you’re at, expect a riot, as 2 Chainz would put it. At the ASAP Rocky concert, which happened at the Opera House, it got violent when Drake made his surprise appearance. All common sense goes out the door when the industry’s biggest rapper steps out to a $25 show. People starting biting others, to get a chance to get closer to the hometown hero. This isn’t an exaggeration.
Venues with Seats
The Massey Hall, The Roy Thompson Hall, The Sony Centre and the Danforth Music Hall are some of the best venues in Toronto that have seats. The shows usually start a lot closer to the time found on your ticket. People still like to line up though, which doesn’t make sense. The best time to go would be 20 to 30 minutes after doors open so you can avoid the lineup, your seats aren’t going anywhere.
Don’t expect to wait at all at the Air Canada Centre as there are plenty of gates to enter through. Again, if you show up a little after the stated time you’ll have the advantage of not dealing with the initial rush.
The Molson Amphitheatre has strict security so you have two lines you have to deal with. One to get into the venue and another to get your bags checked. In this case there are usually multiple openers so it could be beneficial to arrive early and avoid lengthy lines to get your seat.
Where to Buy Concert Tickets?
Where should I buy my tickets from? It can become overwhelming to decide where to buy concert tickets from. There are a lot of options including: Ticketmaster, Stubhub, Ebay, Scalpers, Kijiji, Craigslist, MrTicketKing.com, and various other ticketing websites. Your first concern when buying tickets should be to avoid ticket scams as opposed to getting the lowest prices. Some sellers on Craigslist and Kijiji offer exceptional prices, because the tickets are either duplicated or just all together fraudulent. Avoid buying from any website or any seller who can’t offer you a 100% money back guarantee on your tickets. You’ll always find someone outside venues in tears because there tickets were invalid. Don’t let that person be you.
The misconception that people usually have is to go to Ticketmaster first and go to secondary sources if the show is completely sold out. You should always compare prices before purchasing, secondary market websites like MrTicketKing.com offers prices at times that are lower than face value. For example, the 2 Chainz concert tickets were about $40 on Ticketmaster and only $25 on MrTicketKing.com. The show then sold out on Ticketmaster, and tickets were still available on MrTicketKing.com for about $30 the night of the show. Keep in mind though on secondary websites you could also end up paying more for a ticket then the face value. These prices are all determined by the sellers and owners of the ticket. However this scenario is likely to occur when the show is sold out or the tickets you are purchasing are premium.
Ebay is another option, but it doesn’t make searching for tickets easy and at times the various different shipping options can become confusing and frustrating if the event are approaching soon. With MrTicketKing.com you are guaranteed that even if you order minutes before the show, your tickets will be in your hands or your credit card won’t get charged.
Finally buying from scalpers on the street at times can get expensive. Fraudulent tickets on the streets are rare but possible as you don’t have that guarantee. The prices however can be slightly higher due to the urgency that the customers are in.
When to Buy Concert Tickets?
Prices on the secondary market fluctuate by the day so it’s important to know when you should buy tickets. Prices fluctuate depending on the demand for the event. If it’s a high profile artist you should buy your tickets right away as prices will begin to creep up when the show officially becomes sold out. If it’s a general admission event that probably won’t get sold out, hold off until the last two weeks to see if you can find tickets on MrTicketKing.com for under face value. If the event is seated, and you don’t care about where you sit, again the last minute option isn’t terrible. However if you’d like a specific spot, such as the first row of any section, buy your tickets as soon as possible as those seats usually won’t last. For high profile events like Drake’s OVO Festival in Toronto, tickets started at $110 for the 400 level at the Molson Amphitheatre and rose to about $300 for the same seats. However seats for the Big Time Rush concert which were about $80 per seat are going for about $5 right now on MrTicketKing.com. (Mainly because One Direction won’t be there)
Try to get an idea of how popular the artist is before you decide when to buy. Usually the safe bet is to buy early so you can be ensured you get your tickets, and sit exactly where you want. MrTicketKing.com doesn’t use the “Best Available” philosophy. You can select exactly which section and row you’d like to be in by visiting the website or calling the customer service number at 1-888-803-0759. (365 Days, 7:00 AM – 1:00 AM EST)
If you have any more concert tips, please share them!