How to Prepare for a Concert

Going to a music concert, especially to see a band that you love, has the potential to be a one-in-a-lifetime memory. In order to get the most out of it, and the most out of your valuable time and money spent towards it, it’s a great idea to be organized and prepare for it. Here’s a guide on what you should think about in order to make going to a concert the best experience for you that it can be.

Concert Essentials Packing List – What Should You Bring To A Concert?

Here is a rundown of various things that are generally good bring to a show, and keep in mind that some of the following aren’t so obvious:

#1 – Your Ticket, With Its Unique QR/Bar Code

Make sure you have a printed copy, or if you bring it on your phone that it’s actually downloaded, since getting it off email or the internet might not actually be so fast or easy at the crowded venue where cell service might be compromised.

#2 – Your ID

Often required in tandem with a ticket or to get into a 21+ venue.

#3 – Cash or Card

If you want to buy merch or in-house food and drinks. Keep in mind that many concert venues now don’t allow outside refreshments or even water bottles.

#4 – Proof of Vaccination(s) or Recent Negative Test(s)

After the Covid pandemic, expect venues to take vaccine requirements seriously from now on – many establishments do and will require this, even if not legally mandated.

#5 – Hand Sanitizer

With hundreds or thousands of other people touching the same doors, railings, etc. that you probably will be, its just a good idea to sanitize your hands.

#6 – Tissues/Wipes

Things can get kind of grimy and moist at crowded concerts, yea, kind of gross, but best to have something you can wipe stuff up with.

#7 – Face Mask

Just a generally good precaution at this point for any crowded situations really.

#8 – Hearing Protection! (Really Important!!)

A lot of people ask: Should I bring earplugs to a concert?

The answer is YES! Absolutely 100 percent.

We think the currently best earplugs for concerts (and in general) are the Etymotic Research ER20XS:

Etymotic Research ER20XS High-Fidelity Earplugs (Concerts, Musicians, Airplanes, Motorcycles, Sensitivity and Universal Hearing Protection) - Universal Fit, Standard/Large/Foam Tips, Clear Stem

click to see on Amazon (affiliate link)

Here’s what Pete Anthony, our resident headphone expert, has to say about the company and product:

Most people are not truly aware of how easy and insidious hearing damage can be, particularly over the long run, and it’s something that should be taken very seriously. Etymotic Research is an established industry leader in hearing protection research, and not only makes some of the best noise isolating earphones and earplugs, but also makes professional grade audiology equipment. I’m 100 percent OK with paying a premium for earplugs that are backed by a brand like this because hearing protection is, in my opinion, one of those few things in life that’s not at all worth skimping on.

#9 – A Good Venue Approved Bag

Any bag you bring should be small and convenient enough to not impede on things like dancing, and will also need to comply to the rules of the venue you will be attending, which you should check. Many concert venues have now adopted a small and clear/transparent bag policy.

KETIEE Clear Crossbody Bag, Stadium Approved Clear Purse Bag for Concerts Sports Events Festivals

something like this (affiliate link)

#10 – Sturdy Closed-Toed Sneakers

With all the walking around and potential dancing you want solid shoes. Wearing flip flops, sandals, or something similar is a bad idea – you’ll expose your feet to a floor that’s probably disgusting, or you might get a bare toe stepped on.

What Should You Not Bring to a Concert?

Often less considered but equally important are the things you should avoid bringing to a concert, because they’ll be a huge hassle, or they’re not allowed, or they might be outright dangerous and get you immediately kicked out or even in legal trouble.

#1 – Don’t Wear Unnecessarily Nice/Fancy Clothing

If you’re wearing a dress or coat and tie to a seated classical orchestra that’s one thing, but for most modern concerts, it’s not unusual for clothes to get spilled on, stretched, ripped, or otherwise banged up. Dress for utility and comfort, so you don’t have to stress about designer clothes getting ruined.

#2 – Don’t Wear Jewelry or Other Hanging Accessories

Hanging jewelry can get caught or yanked in the tumultuous crowd of a concert, or possibly targeted to steal. Not good, and ouch.

#3 – Don’t Bring a Professional Grade Camera

Most venues have accepted that people have phones with cameras now, and will tolerate people taking casual pics or low quality short videos for social media or whatever. But, venues and performers still take their artistic property seriously and make efforts to monetize it, so bringing anything much beyond a phone camera will likely result in confiscation or get you kicked out.

#4 – Don’t Bring Laser Pointers or Other Similar Lights

Anything that can disturb or distract fellow patrons or worse, actual performers, will once again likely be promptly confiscated and probably get you kicked out too.

#5 – Don’t Bring Unnecessary Valuables

It’s just not worth the stress, and odds are they’re not even allowed anyhow.

#6 – Don’t Bring Illegal Substances

Yes, being on drugs at a concert is a bit of a classic trope, but nowadays venues, especially the big ones, do take this sort of thing very seriously, mainly because they can get in big legal trouble if someone is harmed as a result of illegal substance use on the premises.

#7 – Don’t Bring Anything That Could Possibly Be Considered A Weapon or Otherwise Dangerous

Not bringing blatant weapons like knives or firearms should hopefully go without saying, but really anything with any kind of hard point, edge, or anything else of the sort. Even if it’s obviously unintentional, venues now take potential weapons very seriously as well and will probably confiscate anything remotely close to one, or kick you out entirely.

Make a Timeline and Have a Plan

Nothing will kill the fun and exciting mood of going to a concert than worrying about logistics going hectically awry at the last minute. Do the necessary research beforehand and make a solid plan with plenty of time so you can relax and enjoy the moment of the actual night.

Think about how you’re going to get there. How reliable and on schedule is the public transit? Or, if driving, make sure there’s reliable parking, and figure out how much extra time that will take. Make sure you give yourself enough time depending on the type of show, venue, ticket you have.

related reading:

Designate a Meet Up Spot and Time (Cell Phones Might Not Work!)

This is more of an old school ground rule, back when cell phones weren’t a thing and people would be gone with the wind if separated, accidentally or otherwise: Designate a spot to meet up as a sort of home base, and maybe a certain time as well, in the event that anyone in your group gets separated and cannot connect back to anyone for whatever reason.

You might think this is an antiquated strategy when people can just text each other nowadays, but cell service can sometimes fail in large and dense crowds when a lot of phones are competing to use a limited amount of nearby towers. And of course, the age old adage “stuff happens” (or perhaps the more explicit variation) definitely applies here:

  • Someone’s cell phone might have died
  • Someone’s cell phone might have gotten broken in the throes of the crowd
  • It’s harder to hear, feel, or otherwise notice a cell phone at a loud and crowded concert

So yea, designate a home base meet up spot – it only takes 30 seconds to do and it might save you and your group a whole load of time and hassle. Better safe than sorry. Yes, that’s another platitude for you.

Plan Before So You Can Focus on Having Fun When It Counts

Yes, preparing for a concert as if it were a homework assignment might seem kind of… lame, for lack of a better work, or against the spirit of sticking it to the man as they say in rock and roll, but, trust us when we say it’s absolutely worth doing, and necessary to a minimal degree, so that you can really enjoy the moment when it counts.