For everything you need to know about this summer’s concerts and music festivals, check out our Summer Concert Guide.


Summer is the time for going to the beach, relaxing, and enjoying summer concerts. It’s the season where we can stop simply streaming our favorite music and get out to see our favorite artists performing live.

Attending summer concerts is a great way to spend time with your friends and family, but concerts often come and go without grabbing our attention. There are many great ways to find concerts and stay on top of who’s playing in your area - Social Music: 5 Ways to Find Concerts Near You.  But once you decide to go to a show, how can you get the best deal on tickets?  Using the tips below you can snag great tickets at the lowest prices possible.

Understanding the ticket markets is a helpful starting point, so I will begin with an overview of the types of ticket markets. This background information will provide context for our money-saving tips.

Know the ticket markets

Concert ticket markets are fairly complex. With some basic knowledge of the markets, your purchasing experience will be more successful.  There are two types of markets where tickets are sold: (1) the primary ticket market and (2) the secondary ticket market:

Primary Ticket Market – The primary market includes initial sale tickets sold from box offices, team or venue websites, and primary authorized resellers.

Pros

  • First access to tickets
  • Ability to get tickets at face value

Cons

  • Tickets–especially for popular events–often sell out quickly
  • High “convenience” and service fees
  • Can’t get a bargain (no tickets below face value)

Secondary Ticket Market – The secondary ticket market includes resale tickets in a variety of forms such as P2P selling, scalping, secondary ticket websites, and ticket search engines/aggregators.

Pros

  • Vast inventories almost guarantee you can find the tickets you are looking for–even when they are sold out on the primary market
  • The ability to find ticket deals well below face value

Cons

  • Tickets are available first on the primary market
  • There is price uncertainty because ticket prices fluctuate significantly on the secondary market; but savvy consumers can use price fluctuations to their advantage by buying when tickets prices are at their lowest


10 Money saving tips for summer concertgoers

Now that you have a basic understanding of ticket markets, here is a simple list of tips to help you save money:

  1. There is a common misperception that tickets are always more expensive on the secondary market, when in fact 40% of tickets are at or below face value–check both the primary and secondary market to get the best deal.
  2. Be patient when buying tickets for major pop artists such as Taylor Swift and Lady GaGa, as their concerts tend to have high ticket prices when they first hit the resale market, but drop as the event approaches.
  3. However, as an exception to the above rule,if a major artist is playing in a small venue, prices tend to increase, so buy early.
  4. Music festivals, such as Bonnaroo, offer great bargains on an music-per-dollar basis.
  5. If it has been a long time since the artist has toured in your city, be patient–prices tend to drop as the event approaches.
  6. Want to see a big-time artist for cheap?  Go to a General Admission concert and show up very early to snag front-row seats.
  7. Get great ticket deals by joining the fan clubs of your favorite bands.  You may get the chance to buy tickets at discounted prices before they’re publicly available.
  8. Try to avoid the first night of a multi-night series of shows for an artist, as they are generally the most expensive.
  9. Don’t just go to a single ticket marketplace–just like Kayak makes it easier to search for travel tickets across multiple sites, you can use secondary market ticket aggregators to see all the tickets on the web in a single place
  10. Be careful if you choose to buy tickets on Craigslist.  It’s far more likely you will be ripped-off or defrauded than if you buy from an established ticket marketplace.  If you do buy on Craigslist, never buy tickets that are emails print-outs.  They are often fakes.

For more money saving tips check out Jack’s interview with Time – Q&A: SeatGeek’s Jack Groetzinger on How to Find Cheap Sports and Concert Tickets.