With the start of the new year, one of the most common resolutions I’ve heard – apart from ‘working out’ which, quite honestly, none of us will really work on after the 31st of January as passionately as we do now – is to have more experiences. For someone like me, who likes to be adventurous beyond their budget, one of the best overall experiences happen to be during concerts and music festivals. For most amateur “concerteers”, it can be an intimidating ordeal, and for an international student not very accustomed to the Netherlands, even more so. Here are some of my considerations into conquering any concert:
1) Make a List
By the beginning of the new year, I try to have a list of certain artists I want to watch live – regardless of whether they are coming to a region near me or not. This way, I can create a loose budget of how much I will spend on concerts and/or music festivals to somehow fit into my student spendings. Use trustable websites for purchasing your tickets, and look out for resells by others on Facebook pages just in case. Make sure to check whether or not you need a membership to enter the venue (for example, Melkweg in Amsterdam requires you to purchase a membership to enter the concert).
2) Check your schedule
Of course, it is quite obvious, but you have to make sure that you don’t inconvenience yourself when you’re trying to have fun. Checking your work and school schedule before you buy those expensive tickets to the next Khalid concert is really important – you don’t want it to coincide with an exam or another important event. I keep my school annual calendar and daily schedule added to my Calendar app both on my laptop and phone, but use whatever works best for you to remember those important happenings!
3) Make sure you can return home
I have a few friends who forget this specific thing – going there is only half the journey. Trying to figure out the distance from the concert hall to the train station, or trying to find out if there are people you know who live there, is essential. Also, transportation availability matters. The trams in Rotterdam still confuse me. You can look on many apps to plan in advance, such as the official NS App, RET, and 9292. Otherwise, definitely look into some cheap hostels/housing for one night that are safe and accessible to use.
4) Pack the essentials
Print your tickets, screenshot them, download them. Keep them protected. For the Dutch weather, carry a raincoat for emergencies. Make sure to have some cash on you as well as cards – and make sure they’re protected. And keep some space left for the merch you’ll buy.
5) When buying merch, be smart
It is impossible to resist the temptation to support your favorite artist by using any of their merchandise, but do your research prior to the concert to compare prices – you still have to support them while trying not to starve yourself for a week to compensate. Sometimes, official merchandise on the artist’s official store sites are much cheaper than at the concert venue, plus you can find coupons using websites such as Coupon Hunter for the best deals.
6) Stay hydrated
With the screaming, shouting, singing along, and by simply being in the crowd, dehydration is a common issue. People have fainted during concerts in front of my eyes (and not from being overwhelmed by the artist). Not every concert venue allows you to carry water into the concert hall, however, so you might have to buy a bottle there. Even if you’re drinking beer or any other alcoholic drink, make sure to get enough water in your system. Oh, and pro-tip: take some Vitamin D supplements beforehand. The amount of times I’ve gotten sick because of people around me coughing and sneezing into the air are too many to count, something amplified at these venues.
7) Be Patient
This goes without saying: especially for entrances to concerts, we all wanna try to be as close as possible to the artist, or have a prime spot we want to take. Many people do cut into the queues, but refrain from doing that just for karma’s sake. You can have a friend wait in line for you, but the building anticipation to enter the venue is best shared with a few friends next to you.
8) Be Considerate
If you see someone incredibly short in the midst of tall people, if you can, try to let them in the way. Sure, it sounds like a selfish piece of advice since I am short myself, but if you can see over them, it’s nice to at times help people out. It is frustrating for everyone, even the people who aren’t as vertically challenged as I am, when someone who’s taller than 6’5 tries to get onto the front of the stage. We all do wanna be close to the artist, but just sometimes, a little consideration helps.
9) Take some rest
Before the concert, make sure you’re decently fed but not too full, have had a decent sleep the night before, and will have a not-so-terrible sleep schedule when you get back. If you have a 9 A.M. tutorial the day after and you’ll reach home around 1 in the morning, consider your personal strengths and weaknesses in whether you’ll be energized enough to participate.
10) Have fun
You paid for this experience, whether in time or money (or both) so make the best of it. Sometimes artists you don’t know or aren’t a huge fan of are also playing. Just go along with it. Move your hands, jump, and if they ask you to shout something back to them, please do. You might wanna save your energy for your favorite act, but what is the point if you’re just going to stand there all limp? If you don’t know the lyrics, it’s alright! Just move to the music.