Summer Concerts

jean jacket lilly pulitzer

Summer + live music = Pure bliss

I love going to concerts and summer is the best time to get out and see an artist, band or up-and-comer. Like baseball, I think concerts should be held outdoors. Listening to your favourite song under a blanket of stars is just a magical way to spend an evening. Sure I'll still go to an indoor arena to see a big name but it's the outdoor venues that I really enjoy.

I started thinking forward to summer concerts 2019 in February and aside from one concert I booked, it was like a ghost town. Tumbleweeds and all. I searched Ticketmaster, Twitter, band websites that I was hoping to see. Nothing. It was a stark contrast to last year when I already had 4 summer '18 concerts booked before the snow melted.

Turns out I just needed to be a little patient because a month or so later, the internet exploded with announcements of great big summer tours!

For myself, I am off to see Dead & Company which is the remaining members of The Grateful Dead and John Mayer, then I'm seeing John Mayer all on his own, Matthew Good and I even got tickets to see Celine Dion in December of this year #Legend

I won't go into an extensive list of who is on tour, because depending on your area that artist may not end up playing near you and how depressing would that be! I thought I would give you a few tips on how I find concerts and how to get the best tickets to the show! All the shows I am seeing this summer, I got floor seats to each one. I told you I am serious about my concerts!

Where to look for concerts

The obvious one, and the one you most likely will use for big name acts, is Ticketmaster. They are a great resource because you can set your home location (I use Toronto even though I live a few hours outside the city) and then I "favourite" artists that I would like to see in concert. If they announce a tour that will be stopping in my chosen city or close by, I'll get an email alert. Super easy!

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Headed to a show at our local concert hall, Centre in the Square

The not so obvious one is to follow smaller venues on social or and set email alerts. My city has a number of smaller venues that still see big names (Bryan Adams just did a big show here in KW!) Also set alerts for any beach town venues or city centres, like Buffalo's Canalside. In the summer they hold a number of outdoor concerts at a really affordable price. Snag some tickets and make a weekend out of it!

Join the fan club of your favourite artists

This is how you get presale codes to buy tickets before the public can get their hands on them. It's how I have gotten floor seats to so many shows! Once upon a time a friend paid to join the Carrie Underwood fan club to get presale codes for us but lately, I have been joining the fan clubs for free.

summer concerts

That's how Kendra Bester Design and I got to sit in the 7th row to see Niall Horan last summer! I've been on the John Mayer fan club email list for years just waiting for him to go on tour, and I got some amazing floor seats for Kendra and I this July! For other artists I join their fanclub when I hear about them going on tour. Some artists are even giving special perks for joining and then using the presale code to get tickets. When I booked tickets to see Celine I was given the option to enter my mailing address to get a free copy of her new CD when it comes out in the fall!

Set an alarm for 30 minutes before tickets go on sale

Use that time to log into the ticketing website and preload your mailing and payment information. This makes checking out so much faster and prevents another fan (or bot) from swooping in and stealing your tickets. When the time comes, enter your code and select your seats quickly. The closer the better I always say! But, there are those concerts where the ticket prices are quite high, especially if you are buying for more than just yourself. I knew the John Mayer concert would be an expensive one but I really wanted the best seats possible. Instead of taking AMH (who does not like John Mayer at all) I asked my BFF Kendra to go with me. She loves him as much as I do! So while yes the tickets cost us around $250 a piece, at least I was only buying one ticket and not two.

Don't plan any summer vacations until you've booked a concert 

In the past, we would book all of our summer travels in January to take advantage of any discounts on flights but lately we've been waiting to see where our concerts lead us first. I have a trip coming up to Cape Cod that was solely planned because I'll be seeing Dead and Company in Foxborough and it was cheaper to rent a cottage on Cape Cod then it was to get a hotel in Boston. I've always wanted to visit the Cape but never really had any real reason to. Now I'm getting to see a great show and we're planned a week away exploring this area!

How to dress for your concert 

If you've been reading here for any amount of time, you know I live and breathe outfits. I love creating them. As soon as I book a concert and any travel plans, I am thinking outfit. It took me a few tries to really get this right. You see, I am an overdresser. I don't apologize for it. I feel like you should get all dressed up for a night out. They are not the norm, so why dress like it's any old day! But... I've learned that concerts are not the place to go all out. Early in my concert going days, I got tickets to see one of my all time favourites bands, Dave Matthews Band. I was so excited and had just bought a new Lilly Pulitzer dress (that was pretty darn fancy) and wanted to wear that to an outdoor concert in New York. Poor AMH, who was a seasoned pro at outdoor concerts spent the months leading up to the concert trying to talk me out of wearing this pink frilly dress.

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Me at a DMB concert in NY 2013

Finally, I relented and said I wouldn't wear it, but I will still dress up my shorts and coloured t-shirt with my new J Crew bubble necklace which were all the rage back in 2013. Even that made me feel far too overdressed. The concert was filled with older hippies, young boho lovin' folks and lots of tailgating. I would have been better off in jean shorts and a plain old shirt. There was also a tornado that formed right behind the venue and eventually touched down a few minutes away but that's a story for another time. So I've changed my outlook on dressing for concerts.

First thing I think about is comfort. I wince when I see ladies coming into a venue with sky high heels, especially if you know the band will have everyone up and dancing in their seat! Comfortable flats is where it is at and lately I have been all about Keds but not just the plain old classic ones, the Ortholite Keds (I always find mine at Winners/Marshalls). They have special cushioning in the sole that make them feel like you are walking on clouds. Mine get dirty quickly so every few months I soak them in Oxiclean, throw them in a wash with a few towels and dry them in the sun.

I love dresses and weather permitting would wear them every day if I could but only a few dresses will work for certain concerts. I love maxi/beachy dresses for outdoor summer concerts because they are easy to move in, they hide your running shoes and if it's hot, you can stay cool easily. T-shirt dresses are also great because you can move freely in them. Just leave the fancy dresses for another occasion.

For summer concerts, I recommend shorts, runners, a light t-shirt/tank and a sweater for cooler evenings. It's simple, classic and will keep you comfortable so you can truly enjoy the show.

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I've also learned to leave the purse at home so that we can get through security quicker and I don't have to worry about carrying it. Now I just carry a small bifold wallet with my ID, some cash and my cell phone to take pictures of the concert. I also leave my big camera as many venues and artists do not allow them. Before you attend your concert check with the venue (online) to review their bag policy and what they will allow into the event. 

And most of all, enjoy yourself! If the band plays your favourite song, sing your heart out and if they don't, just blast it on the car ride home! See you at the next show!