When it comes to scoring the coveted front row real estate at a concert, you’re going to need to be resourceful and determined. If a concert has assigned seating, you’ll need to be on your A-game while shopping for tickets. General admission tickets, while typically the cheapest ones you can buy, come at a different cost. When you don’t have assigned seating, it’s every person for themselves. It won’t be an easy journey to the front row, but it’ll be worth it.

Part 1

Planning Ahead

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    Try to purchase front row tickets the minute they go on sale. If the concert venue or the musical artist has a mailing list, sign up. Oftentimes, they’ll offer pre-sale tickets which can increase your chances of getting a limited front row spot. If you’re willing to shell out a little more, you can also look into purchasing a VIP package that often comes with premium seating.[1] Whether you’re trying to purchase via pre-sale or regular sale, make sure to set your alarm and be on the ticket website right when tickets go on sale. The faster you are, the more tickets you’ll have to choose from.

    • If there are no front row tickets available, you can try the “high risk, high reward” approach of waiting until the day of the concert to check again. Some venues will release more premium seats right before doors open. Typically these are tickets that the artist or venue management reserved that ended up being unused.
    • Sometimes you can even find front row tickets through scalpers or CraigsList. However, you may not be able to get tickets until right before the concert, and buying them from an unauthorized vendor comes with risks.
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    Arrive right when the doors open if you have general admission tickets.Sometimes this is only an hour before the show begins, and other times it’s hours. Depending on how committed you are to getting a spot in the front row, you should get there as early as you can.[2] You can stake out a prime spot before the venue begins to fill up. This, of course, is the easiest way to get a front row spot without fighting through crowds.

    • Sometimes, you have to take this step to the extreme and camp out before a big concert. You may have to camp out in a line to get your front row tickets. You can learn all about camping out overnight here!
    • Arriving super early or camping out can turn a simple concert into a weekend-long event. Bring your favorite friends, and make it a party.
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    Bring the proper supplies. If it’s an outdoor venue, you may be able to claim your territory with picnic blankets or lawn chairs. Sunscreen and a water bottle (if allowed) are also helpful so you can stay in your spot comfortably. If it’s indoor and standing room only, you’ll need to wear comfortable shoes so you can post up pain-free. Look up the venue beforehand, so you know what to expect and which items are allowed.

    • It’s also important to consider the venue to ensure that you dress appropriately. If you’re going to be squeezed into a small bar, you may want to wear less clothing so you don’t overheat. If you’re going to an outdoor concert, you may want to bring a jacket for chillier temperatures after the sun sets.[3]
    • Another “supply” you should bring is a good cell phone battery. You’ll want a fully-charged cell phone to make sure it lasts for the whole concert. You do not want to risk getting separated from your friends without a cell phone.
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    Reduce your liquid intake a few hours before the concert. This sounds ridiculous, but there is no way you’ll be able to hold your spot if you’re running off to the bathroom. Not only does “dibs” not work at a concert, but you’ll also have to fight through crowds of people and stand in long lines. To avoid this, just ease up on the water or booze in plenty of time.[4]

    • Sometimes bathroom trips are unavoidable. That’s OK! Unless you’re at the concert alone, you can take turns in the bathroom with whoever you’re with. That way one person can hold the spot.

Part 2

Maneuvering to the Front

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    Take the path of least resistance. It’s probably not wise to charge straight through the middle of the crowd. Instead, try to get as close to the front as you can by weaving down the side of the crowd, along the perimeter. Once you’ve gotten as close to the front as you can with that method, try shimmying your way into the crowd sideways.[5]

    • People will probably be more willing to let you through when you are coming from the side, rather than rushing them from behind. They’ll likely think you’re finding a new spot, rather than cutting in front of people
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    Link hands with your friends. This is especially important in packed venues, where there is a risk of getting separated and lost from the people you came with. Link hands so you can weave through the crowd as a chain. You won’t be able to walk side by side in a crowd, so just firmly join hands to stay together.

    • If the crowd is more aggressive, there is always a chance that you will get separated from your friends. In these situations, it’s important that everyone has cell phones so you can safely find each other. If there is no cell phone service at the venue, make sure you have a designated meeting spot!
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    Be assertive but polite. This is most important for the person at the front of your linked chain. You have to be a little forceful to get around people, but you should still be saying “please” and “thank you.” People will be much more inclined to help you if you treat them respectfully.

    • If someone won’t budge even after you say “please,” then you can get a little sassy.
    • Don’t feel shy about speaking up and forcing your way through people. Chances are you’ll never see those people again, but you will always remember seeing the artist up close.

Part 3

Standing Your Ground

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    Sacrifice the beer. You’ll never maintain your spot in the front row if you’re leaving to stand in line at the concession stand. Even if you send a friend to fetch the beverages, you run the risk of being overtaken by a larger group of concert-goers, or being permanently separated from your friend. If you can, ditch the beer to ensure you keep your spot.[6]

    • If the venue is less crowded, smaller, or just easier to navigate in general, feel free to take your chances.
    • The rebellious concert-goers can try bringing a flask. If it doesn’t get confiscated on your way in, it can help you preserve your good spot and save you money.
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    Take a power stance. If you look meek and unsure of yourself, other concert-goers behind you and to the side of you will have no issue bumping into you and taking your spot. Instead, stand confidently to claim your space. Keep your legs hip width apart and your shoulders pulled back. Hold your head high. Don’t be afraid to take up your rightful, front row space.[7]

    • If concert-goers are bumping into you or trying to steal your spot despite your power stance, have a powerful attitude to match. Speak up! Make steady eye contact, and tell them to back up.
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    Dance, sing, and have fun. If you’re in the front row, you’ve got to prove that you deserve to be there! If you’re standing solemnly with your arms crossed and looking disinterested, the more hardcore fans will likely usurp your space. Dance, sing along, and go crazy at the concert. And if you’ve got the front row, how could you not be having fun?!

    • Put your phone away! It can be fun to snap a few pictures or videos, but it can also be annoying to everyone around you. Enjoy the live music you’re experiencing, and put your phone away until later.[8]