How To Attend Concerts for Free


Tomorrow night we're going to see the Motley Crue and Poison concert and we actually paid money for tickets. While this might not be unusual for most, it is for us. Over the past several years we've seen a few hundred concerts and 99% of them have not cost us any money. The main reason is that we're frugal and as much as I love live concert events and sporting events, sometimes I leave feeling like it just wasn't worth it. Like for instance tomorrow's concert tickets cost $95 each, but with the $5.50 facility charge, and the $30.40 convenience charge, and the $4 order processing charge the total comes to $230 for an evening of rock n' roll. Add on $11 beers and maybe a snack and it soon becomes a huge non-frugal affair.

On the other hand, if we were working at the St Pete Times Forum as guest services staff or security, we would be making over $100, and see the show too. So the swing between paying $230 and not making $100 makes it a $330 opportunity cost to attend the show as a guest. But we don't work there anymore since the motorcycle accident last fall, so now when we want to see a concert - we pay. We've actually seen Motley Crue about three times in the past few years, but they put on a great show and we know its worth it to attend and party, rather than babysit work.

The point is, if you want to see events for free, one way is to work for the venue, or in some cases you can even volunteer. We also used to work for Sentry Event Services and they staff events at Tropicana Field (baseball), Raymond James Stadium (football), the USF Sundome (concerts), and the Tampa Amphitheatre (concerts). Sentry will let your civic, community or church group volunteer and the money that would have been paid to staff goes to the organization you represent. The cool thing is that if you volunteer you really don't work that hard and you get good spots in the front sections. You're not going to get rich volunteering or working for $8/hour, but you can see lots of events for free.

But if you're not into working and standing for six hours at an event, you can still try another method to avoid having to pay for your tickets. We used to do this a lot before the economy took a dive, but I think it would still work for the right event. We would just buy an extra pair of tickets to an event and list them for sale on Stubhub for some ridiculous price and they would sell. The profit from the sale of one pair paid for our pair of tickets so we essentially went for free. But keep in mind this is risky and you may end up with tickets you have to sell for less than face value, or you may have to attend the show yourself. We would often buy a pair of tickets and plan to work the event, but if the tickets didn't sell we would just go as guests. This never happened but it was our insurance. You could also buy tickets for an event you know would sell out, (like playoff games) and take the profit and buy tickets to a concert or event you do want to attend.

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