San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

How to maximize your concert experience in seven steps

As concert season ramps up, these tips will take your experience from good to great
Noah Lyons
Indie-rock band Bleachers performs at Humphreys Concerts by the Bay in San Diego on Oct. 13, 2021

I have been thoroughly studying concerts for the last year. Well, sort of. 

In the span of two years, and much to the dismay of my wallet, I attended 45 concerts — many of which were general admission shows, which I will contend are the best ones to see. 

As I’ve seen shows across different genres, styles and venues, I’ve unearthed some tips and tricks to make a good concert experience into a great one. With many premiere artists starting their tours in March and beyond, it’s time to start thinking about your next show. Every artist and show is unique, but these seven pieces of advice have been tried and true for me. And they just might be for you.


Buy your tickets far ahead of time

Picture this: It’s three months ahead of a highly-anticipated concert. You see the cost and you know your wallet will hurt, but you gingerly click the “confirm purchase” button. Now, concert day is here and your current bank account is seemingly unaffected. 

Buying a concert ticket weeks or months ahead of time is a great way to cope with the cost. And it guarantees your spot in the venue in case the show gets sold out.

Sometimes it’s necessary to take the risk and hope for a price drop, but I always recommend paying early and enjoying later.

Plan out your food and drink schedule

Eating and drinking on a concert day is a delicate balance. You don’t want to eat and drink too much, causing you to rush to the bathroom and lose your precious spot in the pit. At the same time, undereating can easily lead to dehydration and, in the worst case, someone passing out. It’s crucial to manage what and when you eat and drink on the day of a concert — it’ll save you a lot of trouble.

Show up early, get a good spot near the front

If you are seeking out the best spot at a general admission show, you have to put in the work and get there when doors open. The benefits of being there for the opening band is twofold — you can figure out if the sound is good at your spot and you may discover an artist you genuinely enjoy. 

If the people in front of you are too tall (like me), you can find a lane with a better view. If you want to be in the barricade spots, you should get there even earlier than doors opening. The spot you chose will likely be a three hour investment, so make it count!

Don’t be afraid to mingle between songs

I may have lost the introverts with this piece of advice, but some of my favorite concerts have been characterized by fun interactions with fellow fans. At a bar or a club, it may be hard to strike up a conversation with people around you, but concerts give you something to talk about. What’s their favorite song? Have they seen this artist before? How far did they travel to see the show? The options are endless.

You’re probably not going to find your new best friend. You may not ever talk to them again. But you also might make a connection you didn’t expect to make. I recommend giving it a try.

Limit your videos, live in the moment

It’s time to make a confession: I am really bad at following this guideline. But in my defense, I’m working on it. 

Videos are great, until they start taking away from the experience itself. You may look back at your camera roll to relive the music glory days, but taking countless videos can be distracting to yourself and the people around you. 

When I went to a Young the Giant concert last year, I took more than 10 videos during their set. Each time, I had to get my phone out, click record and put it back in my pocket instead of simply paying attention to the performance. The next time I caught their show, I gave myself an ultimatum — only record 3-4 songs. My experience was vastly improved.

Remember, you paid good money to watch them, not record them.

Hang around after (and take pictures)

Everyone knows how bad post-concert traffic can be. This presents a fight or flight scenario — do you rush out of the venue and into the parking structure right as the show ends, or do you take it easy while others escape? For my money, it’s always best to wait. This gives you time to catch up with anyone you came with, check out the merch stands and take pictures.

I’m all for taking mini photoshoots at concerts, but the best time to do it is before or after the show. Some of my favorite concert pictures were the ones I took right after the set wrapped — you can really see a palpable excitement in everyone’s faces.

Last but not least, there’s the best-case scenario of waiting — the possibility of your favorite artist hanging around afterward and signing autographs or snapping photos with fans. 

Treat yourself with treats, you’ve earned it!

Now that the show is over, the constraints of your bladder and stomach are no longer a problem. So go get your drinks, munchies and In-N-Out burgers. Plus, the night is still young and sleep is overrated. Don’t let the fun stop!


So, you followed my advice and had the best concert experience of your life. First of all, you’re welcome. And second of all, pass on the news to a friend. And never stop spending too much money on concerts.

About the Contributor
Noah Lyons, '23-24 Opinion Editor
Noah Lyons (he/him) is a Journalism major and transfer student from Irvine, California. Ever since he was young, he loved to tell stories and dive deep into his favorite subjects — sports, music, current events, and film. He joined the Daily Aztec in 2022, and has since covered the Wonderfront and Rolling Loud music festivals, attended advanced movie screenings and interviewed several musicians. When he isn't doing homework until midnight or writing articles, you can expect to see Noah searching for the best California burritos that San Diego has to offer or walking around campus listening to Bleachers and Paramore.