Thrifty Tips: How to Go to Concerts for Free

Muse at LIB 2017

Written by Kevin Bessey
Chief Music Writer and Concert Master
Photos by Stephen Ray Bessey

I love going to concerts. Ever since I went to my first rock concert (Blink 182 and My Chemical Romance in 2011) I’ve been an addict. I prefer to go to concerts with other people. It can sometimes be hard to convince friends to attend a concert that will cost them $40-$100. So, I’ve had to figure out some ways to get free tickets. Here are a few methods I’ve used to get free tickets:

Make Friends

It’s surprising how many people have extra tickets to events. Musicians have tickets, people who work at venues have tickets, and for Vegas locals, those who work at Casinos have tickets. If a friend says that they went to a concert for free, ask them how.

My coworker recently went to a few Backstreet Boys Concerts. I asked her how she could afford it. She explained that her sisters works for Caesar’s Entertainment. I asked if her sister would be going to the John Mayer concert. It turns out that she wasn’t. I asked if I could get a couple free tickets. Just like that, I got terrific seats to see John Mayer with my little sister for her birthday.

Volunteer With A Charity

Some bands and artists have charities and policies that they really care about. How much do they care about these causes? So much so that they are willing to let volunteers attend their concerts for free. Andrew McMahon is doing that with his current The Pen And The Piano Tour. Those who volunteer with the Dear Jack Foundation at the show get free access to the show.

Andrew McMahon in Concert, 2017
Here Andrew McMahon talks about the Dear Jack Foundation. Probably. Photo by Stephen Ray Bessey, LIB Festival 2017.

U2 does this during their tours with One. I took advantage of that effort this last Saturday. I volunteered with One in their initiative to get people to sign a petition for legislation that would help build infrastructure in impoverished parts of Africa. I felt good while volunteering and then I watched some of the kings of rock play an amazing show.

This may not seem free because volunteering involves work. But, if we plan on volunteering for these good causes anyway, then why not get a free concert out of it.

Seat Fillers

Seat fillers are the businesses who give away tickets to fill seats at concerts. Companies like 1iota help give the impression that a stadium is full. A simple sign up gives us the chance to be a part of that experience.

LIB Festival 2017, Cage the Elephant
This Cage the Elephant stage would look odd if not for the packed rows of seats before them.

Work For A Magazine

If you like to take pictures in high stress environments or like to write articles about the music industry, why not go to concerts for free for it? PR companies love to have press cover their artists. It’s a really fun environment and it’s surprisingly easy to get into. And, press access to a festival is amazing! They have a tent or building set up with free food and Wi-Fi. Photographers get to stand in a photo pit that is closer than front row. And, this improved experience is free! People get payed to have a better experience at a concert or festival. The one downside is that it can feel a little like work. But, it’s totally worth it.

So, next time you’re looking at shelling out insane amounts of money for a concert, think twice about your options. There may be a way to benefit the artist in ways outside of direct payment.


Kevin Bessey at LIB 2017
Don’t believe me? Well, here I am at the Life is Beautiful Festival 2017 in Las Vegas. For free. And my brother, the photographer taking my picture, also got in for free!

Speaking of concerts…
Check out our piece on DAK’s concert from last month! Click here and read up!