One question I get asked quite often is "How are you always front row at the concerts you go to??". I'm never really sure how to give a short answer to that question, so I decided to make a blog post about it! I would say it's fairly easy to be front row at a show (depending on who the artist is, I have been in line for shows where people have been camping out for DAYS prior). As long as you're willing to wait for a long time before the show, you can usually be front row. Key word is usually. I'm not guaranteeing you will be at the barricade every time, but out of the many shows I have been to, I have been front row more times than I haven't. In my opinion, I have the most fun when I'm front row, or when I'm in the pit in general. So here are my tips on how to be front row at a concert:
1. Buy pit/general admission tickets
You absolutely have to buy pit or general admission tickets to a show if you want to be front row. Unless the venue has all seats, in which case you just have to buy your ticket for the closest row to the stage. Some venues have bigger pits than others, so getting front row in those pits is generally more difficult. Some venues only have general admission tickets, which means there's no seats at all. I know a lot of people are too intimidated to buy pit tickets because they think every pit is a mosh pit. This isn't true at all. None of the shows I have attended have been anything close to a mosh pit. It just depends on the artist. But if you don't like being shoulder to shoulder with sweaty strangers, then maybe the pit isn't for you.
2. Get to the venue early
And I mean early. As early as you are allowed to be there. Most venues let you wait outside for the show as early as 6am, some don't want you to line up that early. It just depends. If you're not familiar with a venue, I would suggest looking up what time they allow so you don't get there too early and waste your time. Usually I get to a venue as early as it's allowed. It is then about a 12 hour wait for the doors to even open. Sounds awful, I know. And I'm not gonna lie, sometimes it sucks. I have waited in the blazing heat, sitting on concrete for hours. But it has also been a lot of fun. Bring blankets and games if you can. Also, BRING WATER! You don't want to be dehydrated. Seriously. I mentioned earlier I have seen people camp out for days before a show. I personally have no experience with this. I have seen people do that for really big artists, like Twenty One Pilots or The 1975. If you're dedicated enough to camp out days before a show, I would suggest looking into the fandom on Twitter or Tumblr to see if a lot of people are also planning to camp out, and go from there.
3. Make friends in line
This step is technically optional, but I recommend it. I know, talking to strangers?? No thanks. I used to find this really intimidating, but honestly, I have met some of the coolest people in line. You're both here to see the same band, and you're both stuck in line for the next 12 hours, might as well talk. Also, making friends in line ensures that someone can hold your spot if you need to get food/use the bathroom, and it can mean you have someone to stick with in the pit. Also, you could have made a lifelong friend. You never know.
4. Get your place in the pit
This is the part of the day that makes me SUPER anxious. It's hard to tell if this crowd of people you have been waiting with all day is going to be nice and orderly about going in the venue, or if they're going to run and shove people out of the way, ruining the spot you held for all those hours. And I will warn you, most venues don't care that you held a spot in line all day. They just want all of you inside and out of their hair. Unless everyone else is running in and cutting you off, I would suggest just walking in orderly. It makes it easier on everyone. Once you're in the pit, especially if you're at the barricade, DON'T move from your spot. Just don't. Too many times people go in and out of the pit before the main band goes on and it's just super annoying. I know you're hungry, and thirsty, and have to pee, but now is not the time. Hold your spot in the pit so you don't lose it. If you're at the barricade, everyone wants your spot. Hold onto the barricade the entire time, or once bands start going on, people will push you out of the way. Generally speaking, once you're at the barricade, you will be the whole show, which is the best feeling.
5. Don't be discouraged if you're not as close as you would like to be when you first get in the pit
I still struggle with this. If I'm not as close as possible, I get really frustrated. Trust me when I say, you will not be in the same place you started out by the time the main band plays. Everyone will push to the front, especially after the openers come on. I have had times where I was fifth row and ended up being in the first row. So don't worry, if you're within the first five rows, you're still in a great spot.
I hope these tips gave you a good idea of how to be front row at a concert. Good luck and have fun!