The Ultimate Guide to Concerts

By: JoAnn Snavely

I have attended a handful of concerts over the past couple of years. Whether it be venues that fit 200 or 70,000 people, I’ve been there and experienced the good, bad, and everything in-between at these shows.

A couple of weeks ago, I gave an exhaustive list of things that the average concert-goer is doing wrong as I addressed concert etiquette post-Covid (which consisted of things I’ve witnessed or even been guilty of doing myself.) Now, I want to take a fresh step forward and give my best tips and tricks that I’ve learned for beginner concert-goers so that you can be safe, enjoy your experiences, and learn from my mistakes.


I think one of the biggest things to think about when preparing to attend a concert is a concert bag. For starters, most venues only allow for a small wallet or a clear bag, and those can get expensive. I personally got my bag off of Amazon for less than $15, and it has served me well. I recommend getting a crossbody bag, especially for standing shows, because you often won’t have the opportunity to place your bag somewhere safely or securely. In a concert bag, I usually put a small bag of trail mix (if I’m waiting for more than 2 hours), a small portable fan for summer shows, and a small card holder for I.D. and payment, the one I recommend is from Urban Outfitters. I also recommend bringing a portable charger (I suggest one that is magnetic so that there is no need for an exuberant amount of cords). I would also bring any other creature comforts you feel you need, such as i.e. chapstick, makeup for touch-ups, hygiene products, etc.

However, preparing a concert bag is most certainly not a necessity. I think there are a few circumstances where a bag would be deemed necessary. 

Firstly, if you’re going to a large show or something with seating, bring it. There’s no harm, and even if you don’t use it, you can maybe help someone who needs it, and if not, it can help you stay organized and easily navigate how chaotic these large-scale shows can be at times. 

Next, for smaller venues, I think there is a need to bring a concert bag if you are waiting for an extensive period of time. I would, however, recommend that if you are driving to the showdrop your bag off in your car before the show begins, but if you are unable to, you should be ok holding the bag.


Before going to a show, try to charge your phone as wholly as possible. I think it is necessary to have a phone with life, especially if it’s a lengthy show. It is really important for safety and is just generally a necessity. I would either bring a portable charger or something of that nature if you don’t have time to charge your phone. Put your phone in low power mode or any other battery saving precautions you can take to try to keep your phone usage at a minimum; I mean you ARE at a concert, take it all in. #dontviewtheshowfromyourphone 


If you do choose to wait for a show, please come prepared, depending on how long you plan on waiting. These tips generally apply to anything above 3 hours, and this also mostly applies to those driving themselves or those who are bringing a concert bag.  

Bring a book or card games, it can serve as something to keep yourself entertained while waiting. Bring some light snacks-not eating while waiting is the most dangerous thing you can do. In that same nature, bring water. Whether it be a disposable water bottle you can throw away before the show or a reusable water bottle you can place in your car, BRING IT. Also, if you’re waiting for an extensive amount of time, (4+ hours) think of seating. For example, some venues like Cat’s Cradle have seating options, but others like the Fillmore don’t. Bring a chair or something to sit on so you can be comfortable because standing for an extended period of time and then going into a show that is hot and crowded will be miserable.Just be aware of that so you don’t burn out, especially if it’s hot. Also, make friends. It is incredibly likely the people sitting near you are probably big fans of who you are seeing, so ust generally be nice as you will be spending an entire day/night near them.


Going to a concert alone seems pretty daunting and scary, but trust me, it can be so worth it if you make the most of it. I have attended a handful of concerts alone, and they have been pretty good experiences overall (some of my favorites were shows I went to alone). First, if you are waiting for an extensive amount of time, meet the people around you in line. Start talking with them and bonding. I have literally made some of my dearest friends while waiting for shows. I would also familiarize yourself with the people around you and even if you don’t talk to them when the show begins, it can be helpful to have those people you meet to help hold your spot for getting merch or if you have to use the restroom or anything. If you aren’t waiting for an extensive amount of time, just talk to those who are near your spot. It’s nice to have someone that you can ask for help if needed.


I know that sometimes for shows we want to dress in elaborate, detailed outfits, but I would try to dress appropriately according to the weather and size of the venue. For smaller venues, typically I would recommend dressing casually. However, it depends on the musician. Honestly, what you wear isn’t incredibly important, but dress for the weather, especially if you’re waiting for a while. Dress for the rain or anything else, you can always change later. Perhaps most importantly, wear comfortable shoes; Concerts involve a lot of dancing and standing, so take care of yourself. I know your platform Dr. Martens would be so cute, but remember how uncomfortable it will be and also remember the fact you will likely block people’s view, especially if you’re tall. I typically recommend wearing Converse or even sneakers if you feel so inclined. They’re comfortable and typically are ok to get dirty. 

Also, please avoid bringing signs if you’re gonna hold it up the whole time, it  blocks the view of others.


I touched on this in my concert etiquette article, but just stay safe. Be aware of your limits and don’t be afraid to speak out if you’re uncomfortable. Most shows end late at night, so please be aware of your surroundings and try to get to your car/ride home quickly and safely once the show ends. Even during the show, try to be aware of signs of sexual harassment or assault, even in regards to those around you. Try to make sure you’re sustaining yourself so as to not become faint; or, if you suffer from a medical condition, wear a bracelet or make it known in case something bad happens. Please keep yourself and others safe, and most importantly don’t be the person endangering others.


My final tip is try to check out the openers of the show before attending. Not only is it a respect thing, but it also will be helpful to familiarize yourself with the musician you will be seeing live eventually. Who knows, you may like them (I say as I’m wearing merch for a musician I saw open for Briston Maroney a bit ago).


Always try to get informed on the venue you’re attending. Often, you will find yourself attending the same venue, but when you are going to a new one, try to research it. See if they have a mask policy or anything of that nature. Check out their bag policy and payment policy. Be prepared to know what you NEED to bring with you, and what you CAN’T bring with you. I would just try to get a bit of general information about parking and anything so your concert experience can be as seamless as possible.

I hope these tips and tricks were helpful, and although some of these tips may not necessarily apply to every situation, just remember, be safe, be kind, and most importantly, have fun.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s