Have you got a gig coming up that you desperately want to go to, but no one to go with? Relax it’s fine – we’re going to lay down the best way to go for it, but also why you’re probably going to have a better going to a gig alone anyway!
Tips for going to a gig alone
1. Search for the setlist in advance
One of the best things about going it alone is not having to tailor the night to anyone else’s needs. You can arrive when you want and leave when you want. If you’re the type that likes to party hard – go for it, but if you feel like seeing a snippet then heading out early – do that. We advise maybe doing an online search for the setlist so you can tell when your favourite song is coming on, and at which point you might want to leave.
2. Tool up
A downside of going to a gig alone is that you have to bring everything you may need yourself, but with trained and practised 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.
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.
3. Wear comfortable shoes and warm clothes
We’ve learnt this the hard way. Dressing comfortably massively trumps dressing fashionably a gig. Don’t wear straps that fall down or painful, impractical shoes. Don’t wear too much, but also don’t wear too little. There’s nothing worse than being cold afterwards. Opt for 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.
4. 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!!
5. Let go but stay in control
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.
Of course – it’s always best to be wild and free with dancing – but perhaps more cautious when it comes to drinking. Make sure you have a good time – but that you’re able to get home afterwards.
6. Plan your journey home in advance
Speaking of getting home afterwards, it’s a good idea to plan this journey before heading out. If someone is picking you up – find a meeting point not too far away. It’s best to decide this in advance just in case your phone dies on you – we’ve all been there!
If you’re making your own way – check how late public transport runs, or whether you can afford to get an Uber or taxi.
However you decide, just make sure you stay safe and warm! Running home at 5am with frozen toes is certainly not in style!
Why should you go to a gig alone?
So we know how to go to a gig alone, but why should you?
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. Going to a gig alone can actually be a great choice – and here are five reasons why!
1. 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.
You might also want to go home early and call it a day once you’ve heard your favourite song. So be it – the night can play out how you decide.
Top Tip: If you’re thinking of leaving after your favourite track, 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.
2. You have more chance of getting to the front
We’ve all been in the situation where you’re holding your friend’s hand trying to make your way together to get closer to the stage. But it’s so hard to snake your way through when there’s a few of you and to keep together. If you go it alone, there’s a much better chance you’ll be able to weave around crowds to find a spot right in front of your favourite act. Let’s face it – who would you rather be up close and personal with? Your friend or the superstar you’re there to see? So ditch the mates at home and go it alone!
3. You can really appreciate the music
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.
Let’s be honest – there’s nothing worse than when you’re trying to get lost in your favourite song and your (now not-so-favourite) friend keeps trying to talk about something else. So why not just go alone and really make it about the music! After all – that’s what it’s all about.
4. You don’t have to impress anyone
Whether you want to croon or mosh without the judgement, going to a gig alone can relieve the pressure of having to appear ‘cool’ in front of anyone. When you feel like you’re being watched, it can sometimes make it difficult to lose control and dance how you want to. You might also be put off seeing artists you’re too embarrassed to listen to around friends. So let go, and use the experience to enjoy yourself.
5. You might make some new friends
Ok so we said a gig isn’t the place for conversations with friends. And it’s true! But there’s still plenty of opportunities to bond with people who enjoy the same music as you. Whether it’s in the queue, in the loos or while you’re waiting for a taxi, going to a gig alone can be a great opportunity to make some new friends. And if you’re one of those people that likes to get there 12 hours early to wait in line for the best spot near the stage, you might be surprised by how amazing the energy of the line is.
Everyone’s there for the exact same reason as you, they’re excited, they want to gush over the band’s latest release. Take that chance to put yourself out there! If you need some conversation starters, try asking who’s opening, have they seen the band before or been a fan long?
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, and learn all the lyrics so you can scream along later. Just make sure you come well prepared…
Convinced yet? Why not browse upcoming gigs to see who’s playing. Once you’ve got your ticket, check out our guide on how to go to a gig alone for handy tips and tricks for first-timers.