how early to get to a concert?

Tips to help you plan your night at a concert

Anyone who has ever been to a concert before knows that it can be a little bit stressful on the night. You have to arrange the transport, get dressed, and also make sure that you’re not late. That’s a ton of stuff to worry about.

If you’re late then you’re going to miss the start of the concert, and that's if the security will let you in past the start time. With such a pressure involved in getting to a concert, it's important to have an understanding of the time factor. How early should you be to the concert? Once you know the answer to this question you can plan your night accordingly.

The opening act

Most concerts these days have an opening act, or sometimes two or three. The opening act could be a deciding factor on how early you want to get to the concert. If you would like to see the openers, or ‘guests’ as they are also known, then plan your transport carefully so you can get there before they start.

If you don't want to see the guests, then arrange to arrive when they are supposed to be on. They are there to warm up the crowd and allow the main attraction to get ready. If you’re not too fussed about seeing them, then this gives you a little more time to play with.

Are you driving?

With a large venue (one where bigger acts will play) there will most likely be parking available. This doesn’t mean it’s easy to park though. With so many people clamoring to get in and see the concert, the parking can be an absolute nightmare. It will give you a huge amount of stress if you’re not there early enough to get parked and then be able to walk into the venue calmly. A rush is definitely not what you need.

Get there at least an hour before the concert starts and you should be able to park reasonably easily. Of course, you cannot predict what parking is like, but if you're there with an hour to spare, that should take care of most car park traffic jams.

There are ways to make this even smoother. Most venues now allow you to pay for parking in advance, and this is something you should definitely do if you are taking a car. Not having to worry about finding the right change or the pay meter makes all the difference when you are trying to have a relaxed start to the evening.

Top tip: if you are able to have someone drive you to the concert venue (or nearby), all the hassle that comes with parking is removed.

The golden rule

With most concerts, no matter how big the band or artist is, they will generally start letting people in an hour before the support band comes on. This is your time to get there, get parked, get comfortable and purchase the drinks and other refreshments you want. Sometimes there are large queues at venues, and getting there an hour before gives you the best chance of getting in calmly and being settled.

If you’re not that concerned about whether you see the guests or not, you can leave it a little later. You could also keep up with social media and the news to see how late the main act is coming on stage. With some acts, especially established performers, the time they get on stage could be a lot later than what it says on the ticket. That’s down to the artist, and it’s worth checking social media to see what has been happening on the tour so far.

Generally speaking, the golden rule is to get there an hour before the first act is due to come on stage. Leaving it any later may mean missing the support, or worse, being late to see the main act. You never know. Treat the concert like an experience and get there early and you can’t go wrong.

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