As a guy in his early 30s, I have had plenty of time to live through the ups and downs of gig-going. Growing up I never really had that many friends and the ones I had certainly weren’t into music like I was.
I used music as a way of getting away from it all, putting all the crap in my life to the back of my mind for a while. The people I would meet and the bands I would meet made me forget everything for that short time.
I used to travel to shows that were not far from my house, as it always worried my parents that I was out late at night. In fact, that’s a principal I still use today but I’ll get to that later.
One show that sticks in my mind is going to see Phil Collins in Barcelona. I was with a bunch of other people on a week away and they all wanted to get pissed. I have to live life to the full and really wanted to go to see him but the show was on the other side of town and that freaked me a little bit.
I spent a good half hour going over the pros and cons in my mind, which was a daunting prospect. It’s worth saying here that I suffer from anxiety and depression, so you can imagine how big of a deal this was for me. In the end, I thought, you only live once and so I made myself go. This was the best decision I have ever made and I will forever look back at that as a changing point in my ever-amazing existence. I spent the whole evening singing along with some of the best strangers I have ever met and I did not want it to ever end.
As you can guess, I’m a massive advocate of people going to things on their own, because you never know what will happen. You might even meet the girl/boy of your dreams, get to meet your favourite bands, find those gig buddies you have been missing or just have the best night ever. One thing you might do is even make someone else’s night! I did that once as I was the only person to turn up to a gig in a pub in Winchester. Myself and Jon, the musician in question, have become friends since that show, which would have never been the case if I had not got to see him play. I had travelled 80 miles to go to this show, which for some reason did not bother me too much. I knew the area and had contacts nearby which put my mind at ease.
Here are some tips I think might help if, like me, you want to fly solo at a show:
Make sure you tell someone where you are going
This is the biggest tip of them all, especially if you want to get back in one piece. Letting people know a contact number and where you are going, will give you and them peace of mind.
Choose a local gig for your first solo adventure
This way you can get used to doing it and if things don’t go to plan, you have not got far to go home. Another big plus of doing this is that you know the area really well so can plan a safe route to and from the gig.
Go and talk to the band/artists after the show
They are always so welcoming and make going to the show even more worthwhile. You never know, you may even become good friends!
Talk to other people
This is something you can build up to when you feel comfortable. Approaching random people can be nerve-wracking but if you get over that issue then things can be pretty good. The main point of this is if you see other people who are on their own you could be making their entire night by talking to them for a few minutes. You might even make a new friend, you never know! Just make sure you don’t give them too many details at first as you are a little vulnerable. You can always do that at a later date when you know them better.
Don’t get too drunk
This is a big no, no. Being on your own can make you more vulnerable to thieves and other unsavoury people. Drinks in most venues can cost a lot, too, so just think of all the money you’ll be saving.
Hopefully some or all of these tips will help you have a great time out when you do go to things on your own!