As someone who has been to forty-six concerts (and counting), and camped for as long as thirty-six hours to get barricade – I’m here to share my experience, wisdom, and advice!
Picture this: you’ve just gotten general admission tickets to see your favorite artist that you’ve loved for years! Now, as you may or may not know, general admission means first come, first serve. So the first step is planning which time you want to arrive.
Here are some basic questions you should ask yourself before any general admission concert you plan on camping for:
#1 What artist are you seeing? Is it a smaller or bigger artist?
#2 What kind of venue will you be seeing this artist in? Is it a small theater or a big arena/stadium?
#3 What kind of view do you want? Do you want to be front-row barricade, or do you want a view from the back of the venue?
#4 Do you want to get there the day of the show, or the day before? (In some cases with bands/artists like The 1975, Twenty-One Pilots, and Harry Styles, fans will camp for days on end)
Being barricade at a concert might sound silly to some people, but I can honestly say I’ve never experienced anything like it. Standing there with your hands on the metal barricade after you’ve waited so many hours in line and so many years to see them perform live – you just can’t beat it.
I have lined up for a show as early as 11:00am the day before the show at the Coca-Cola Roxy in Atlanta, Georgia. My friends and I were the first people in line, and people didn’t start showing up until a couple hours later. However, obviously if we are all camping overnight then we will have to leave to line to eat, go to the bathroom, shower, and get ready for the show at some point. Taking all of this into consideration, my friends and I decided it would be best to start a numbering system so that even when we had to leave our spots in line, we could leave knowing our spot would be there for us when we came back.
Fan-made numbering systems are usually run by the first few fans in line for the show and they usually have sharpie marker and write numbers on the hands of everyone lining up. There are a few things to know about fan-made numbering systems, though.
If the venue does not allow lining up before a certain time the day of the show, and the numbering system is made before the line-up time, then the venue might not honor the number system. This means people would ultimately end up cutting each other in line or jumping ahead quite a few numbers and no one can really do anything about it if the venue is strict about line-up times.
However, in my opinion, fan-made numbering systems are the best way to ensure everyone keeps their spot in line and everything runs as smoothly as possible. Sometimes, venues will take the next step and hand out wristbands with numbers on it. This way, everything is left up to the venue to solve when it comes to general admission line-up times and numbering.
If you are going to camp out all day (or overnight), there are some essentials you must bring along with you:
Insulated water bottle (staying hydrated is SO important), blankets, pillows, portable chargers, headphones, snacks, a change of clothes that is not your concert outfit (just in case!), gatorade/powerade/pedialyte (anything with electrolytes in it – again for hydration!), hair ties, a book, and any other necessities you’d need while sitting outside a concert venue.
Once you get through security and inside the venue, putting your hand on that metal barricade is such a rewarding feeling, and you should always take a pictures of you and your friends with your hands on the barricade – for the memories!
Concerts are, and always will be, my favorite place on earth. There is an overwhelming feeling of community and love in every venue I’ve been to. My favorite part about waiting in line for concerts would have to be the people you meet along the way. Usually, you talk and become friends with the people in line and around you at a concert. There’s no friendship like a concert friendship. Anyway, if you need me, you can probably find me at a concert near you! I hope you enjoy the shows you attend, and I hope this guide is helpful!