So your favourite band is playing a show near you and you’re desperate to go – but none of your friends seem bothered. You consider roping in a sibling, but they’d spend the whole time moaning. Should you ask a co-worker? No, it might be weird. Maybe a parent – no, terrible idea. What are you left to do? If you think the only option left is just not going, you are so, so wrong. Why miss out on the night of a lifetime simply because you’d have to go alone? We do get it, though – going to a gig with people has become so socialised it feels like there aren’t any other options, but it needn’t be that way.
To help you out on your next venture out into the wilds of the put alone, we’ve compiled a list of why you definitely should try it and how to make it even easier.
You’re completely in control
Want to turn up 12 hours early and queue for the very best spot? Sure.
Want to completely skip the support acts (who even are they?) and turn up an hour or so into the show? Go for it.
Want to drink? Cool. Don’t want to? Also cool. Mosh if you want to, avoid it completely if you want to – it doesn’t matter!
The beauty of going to a gig alone is you are completely in control of the night. You don’t have to coordinate anyone else’s schedule or whims, figure out lifts and taxis home – you don’t even have to discuss where to stand in the venue. See a good spot? Nab it immediately. Speed is everything when you enter the battlefield.
If you’re old like me (23) and you go to a lot of gigs, sometimes you might actually just want to go home early and call it a day once you’ve heard your favourite song. Search on Twitter and see if anyone has posted the setlist, then you can even plan ahead if need be.
The night is yours! So go to the gig alone, make the most of it and enjoy it your way.
Remember what you’re there for
You’re heading into a room of loud, loud music. How much conversation are you really going to be having whilst the bass is pulsing through your ears? No matter how many ‘WHAT? HUH? *shakes head* I CAN’T HEAR YOU’s you scream into your friends face from one inch away, nothing is going to be worth saying when the music is playing. Sure it might be nice to look over and see your friend enjoying themselves and share that knowing glance, but if they don’t like the act as much as you…
Honestly, a gig isn’t the best place for conversation. It’s dark, loud, people are moving around and it’s hard to stand still enough to form any kind of coherent hand signs to communicate anything. You’re there to focus on the band and the music, so focus on it and go to that gig alone!
Make some new friends
This goes more if you’re going to be queuing, but going to a gig alone can be the perfect opportunity to make some new friends – friends that actually share your interests in music. I have to say I’ve met some lovely people whilst queuing for gigs (I am definitely one of those to turn up 12 hours early), the energy of the line is just amazing sometimes.
Everyone’s there for the exact same reason as you, they’re excited, they want to gush over the band’s latest release or post. Take that chance put yourself out there! If you need some conversation starters, try “do you know who’s opening?”, “have you seen them before?”, “how long have you been a fan?”.
But of course, no pressure. I mean, we’ve already established that this isn’t the place for chatting. If socialising isn’t your thing, don’t worry and just keep to yourself. Get pumped by listening to the band with your headphones in, make sure you know all the lyrics so you can scream along later – just make sure you come well prepared…
A downside of going to a gig alone is that you have to bring everything you may need yourself, but with trained and practiced knowledge you’ll be able to get it down to a fine art.
Things you will definitely need: Water – bigger venues may chuck it out but it’s always worth bringing along, there’s nothing worse than getting dehydrated in the middle of a gig.
Portable phone charger – you can get some great ones online, and trust me, spending that little bit extra is worth it. A good charger can you at least two charges worth, so when you’re trying to pass the time in between acts or capture those perfect moments, you can rest assured you’ll have enough juice to get home too. It also can be a great conversation starter if you trying to make friends in the queue and someone’s out.
Cash – this may only apply if you’re planning on getting merch, but make sure you’ve got something in your pocket. You never know when the venue won’t accept cards at the bar, or if you need it for a taxi home. Also, it might be a good idea to leave your wallet at your home and take exactly what you need – that way you won’t be conscious of all your most important items going missing in the pit or in a dodgy cloakroom.
Comfy shoes – I have learnt this the hard way. Dressing comfortably >>>>>>>>>>>> Dressing fashionably a gig. Don’t wear straps that fall down. Don’t wear uncomfy, impractical shoes. Don’t wear too much, but also don’t wear too little. Preferably something quite light that’s easy to take off and wrap around your waist, but also warm enough to stop you from freezing on the way home.
Soft small bag, or no bag at all – Once at a festival, I brought with me the smallest bag I had to carry my phone, money and chargers, but until it was digging into the poor girl in front of me’s back I didn’t realise it had a slight problem – the bag was rigid.
Ideally, you want a bag that is just fabric and can be folded any which way with no buckles, chains, clips etc. That way when the crowd pushes you forward, your bag doesn’t end up bothering anyone around you.
Better yet, try and leave the bag at home. Get a jacket or some bottoms that have some nice deep pockets you can shove everything into.
Tickets & ID – You might not need ID, so make sure to check ahead of time so you can leave it behind but don’t forget your tickets! None of this matters if you can’t even get in.
Remember to go to the loo before the gig starts
This is again, a lesson I have learned the hard way. If you follow my advice and stay hydrated, prepare to feel the consequences of also needing to pee later. Rather than suffering until the next break and potentially losing your spot or missing something good, just go as you’re heading in.
That way, you can avoid the absolute mess that venue toilets become in the aftermath of a gig, as well as the overwhelming rush to them as all the fools who chose to go after head in at once. Just don’t use this to justify not drinking anything, stay hydrated!!
This is advice I struggle to follow myself, but I’m trying my best. They say that crowds are the best place to hide from people, and it’s true! Let all of your inhibitions go and dance along to your favourite song, scream out the lyrics that mean the most to you – just enjoy it!
If you’re worried about people seeing you, making fun of you – don’t! I know that’s easier said than done, but think about it. None of these people are there to watch you, chances are you don’t really know any of them and they won’t ever see you again. Even if they do, are they really going to remember? No, of course not. Dancing how you want to dance without the post-concert shame or embarrassment to follow is definitely one of the best things about going to a gig alone.
See that guilty pleasure you’ve always wanted to
Sometimes, there is just no way you can confess to your friends that you actually love someone. Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Nickelback? Look, it’s okay. No one’s judging you. Grab tickets to go to the gig alone, and just go. So what if you know all the lyrics to “How You Remind Me”? I’m pretty sure everyone does…
And if you’re in the mood to meet people, you may even make some new friends who won’t shame you for your music taste!
And not be guilted
You know when your friend agrees to come along to a gig with you, despite not really knowing the band? You ask them “are you sure?” about a million times and yeah, they seem up for it! They’ve “not been to a gig in a while and it seems fun”.
But then, they stand beside you motionless. They don’t look up from their phone once and send you judging eyes whenever someone even accidentally bumps into them as if you did made that happen. Or better yet, they leave you alone anyway to go sit in the stairwell because “it’s too loud”, leaving you to stress and feel guilty for inviting them along.
Tell me, why do we keep putting ourselves through that? If none of your mates like the act, just go to the gig alone and have fun anyway! No one needs that kind of guilt hanging over them when they’re just trying to have a good time.
Ultimately, the important thing to remember is: no one cares if you’re going to a gig alone. Everyone’s there to just have fun and enjoy the music, and if anything they’ll be impressed that you loved the band enough to just go regardless.