Tourist, as seen at Velvet Underground on September 30th, 2016
When I first moved to Toronto, I became overwhelmingly excited about how many opportunities there were to watch live music. Friday night DJ set? Check. Intimate jazz night at Orbit room on Saturday’s? Double check. Wednesday night hip hop at Sneaky Dees? YOU BETCHA.
Sorry, but when you’ve spent the last 23 years of your life watching the same three bands headline the same three festivals, you’re going to try and catch ’em all. On the East Coast, you take what you can get. Our Lady Peace, I’m looking at you.
Anyways, my point is, I was super excited to watch bands that I actually listened to in my spare time. Unfortunately, I quickly realized that attending concerts was going to cost a pretty penny. Toronto attracts a lot of top-tier talent!
And although the city has a lot to offer, there aren’t actually that many large venues. Definitely don’t get me started on attending a show at the ACC or Rogers Center. Odds are, if you LOVE that new Bon Iver album, 3000 other people die for it as well, and they’re also going to be scrambling for the highly coveted general admission ticket.
After three years of heavy show attendance, I’ve thankfully discovered a few hacks to help you score the ticket you want without breaking the bank:
Conveniently, these websites allow you to create a free account where you can select your music preferences (or, in Spotify’s case, it actually synchs to your music library). This way, you’re notified by e-mail when an artist has an upcoming show near you. I swear this is how I find out about 99% of events I attend. Sometimes Ticketmaster even accidentally releases an event’s information before the artist themselves! All of your friends will love you and wonder how you became such a hot ticket. (er, how you have so many, I mean…)
2. Stalk every single artist you love on every single social media platform.
Actually, I recommend liking them on Facebook. Despite the fact that my weird step aunt continues to “like” everything I do on this website, their event function (and algorithm) is still way better than any other I’ve encountered. If you like, for example, Jamie XX’s page, his event page will likely show up on your newsfeed, even if it’s not a sponsored advertisement! Then, if you click “Interested”, you’ll get notifications and information about the concert – including when they’re going on sale. Bonus notifications for set times and secret music videos.
I also recommend signing up for artist e-mail newsletters. Although very 2000’s, these are definitely making a comeback, with artists offering pre-sale ticket codes to loyal subscribers.
3. Buy early, often, and in bulk when you can!
This is probably my #1 tip for ensuring you get to see what you want (despite the fact that I’ve listed it as #3). A lot of ticket sellers (even occasionally Ticketmaster) offer tickets on a tier-by-tier basis. This means that they’re selling 1000 tickets at $40, and then the next 1000 at $60. You’ll get the best bang for your buck if you’re one of the first people to buy tickets. And since you already know about said event by following my other tips, this one shouldn’t be problem. I recommend buying tickets for any event that you’re even SLIGHTLY interested in attending, because…
4. You can always sell tickets you can’t use on StubHub or Facebook.
If you can’t make it, no problem! It’s usually not a problem to find a new owner for your ticket. I’m a massive fan of StubHub. It’s extremely easy to list your ticket, and when you sell it, the money is automatically deposited into your PayPal account. There’s also a buyer’s guarantee – if for some reason a seller uploaded a fake ticket, you’ll be reimbursed. One of the only downsides to StubHub is that everything is listed in USD, so if you’re buying, it might be a little more expensive. However, if you’re selling, you’re likely to make a small profit. Bonus.
I’m also a fan of selling tickets on Facebook. I recommend listing your ticket on the concert’s event page, or even a music group with likeminded fans. (Try Toronto Rave Community). Although it’s not as a secure as StubHub, I find I’m much more trusting of Facebook than Kijiji (which is home base for scumbag scalpers), because at least you can see someone’s profile and contact information.
Phew, that was long – I hope you learned something! Although these tips might seem pretty basic, they’ve definitely helped me out, and I’m always surprised when people don’t know about them!
*Images are mine.