5 Inexpensive Ways to See Live Music

Interested in checking out a concert? Get cheap tickets with these tips.

There’s something invigorating about seeing music performed live – it’s a decadent treat to experience a concert in person, hearing the instruments and vocal performances right in front of you. One reason that most of us don’t attend live music events more often is the cost. Concerts can be prohibitively experience, particularly for shows that are quite popular.

You shouldn’t feel like you have to rule out seeing live music just because you’re trying to stick to a budget. There are ways to find cheap concert tickets if you know where to look. Check out the following five inexpensive ways you can see live music.

Set Price Alerts

When seeking concert tickets, most of us first turn to the internet or to mobile apps to see which types of deals we can find. When primary ticket sellers (such as Ticketmaster or the concert venues themselves) sell out of tickets, you can often find tickets on the secondary market. These are sold by people who acquired tickets and can no longer use them, so they resell them to others.

If you visit one of these secondary selling platforms such as StubHub or SeatGeek, you can set price alerts. To do this, you can use either the app or the website to tell the program which concert you want to see at which location, as well as the amount you’d like to pay. When the price of a ticket hits that number, you’ll be notified so you can buy at the price that makes you comfortable.


Most concert venues bring on volunteers to help out during the shows. If you’ve ever wondered why people would spend their free time handing out playbills or helping guests to their seats, one answer is that they get to see all of the shows at no cost. That’s a big perk in exchange for helping out at concert venues.

To take on a volunteer role at your local concert hall, contact the venue directly and ask how to register for volunteering opportunities. Once you’re on board, you’ll get a feel for which shows you can see and whether volunteering there suits your schedule.

See College Shows

To see high-quality live music performances, you don’t necessarily need to go to the Boston Pops or Lincoln Center. You can check out a show at a local theater or a university venue at a fraction of the cost. These performances may not be on the national stage, but many times they are just as impressive as seeing one of the big, famous shows.

The average university orchestral performance costs around $30, as opposed to seeing national touring shows, which are more in the range of $75 and up per ticket. This means you’re generally saving at least 50 percent off of standard ticket prices by checking out a local show instead of a national one.

Contact the Venue

Although we’re typically encouraged to buy tickets on the big clearinghouse sites and apps, it’s often still possible to purchase tickets directly from the venue, sometimes for a lower price. This can be especially true when you’re looking for just one ticket, or you are willing to have an obstructed view of the stage. Your best bet is to call the venue right around the time the tickets go on sale to see what their lowest price is, and if it isn’t to your liking, call back once a week or so until the show date to see if any low-priced tickets happen to pop up.

Consider A Seat Filler Membership

When a show producer has extra tickets available and it wants to fill those seats, it sometimes outsources those tickets to seat filling agencies. These firms then sell the tickets to members at low prices so they are unloaded quickly. In many cases, you can save about 30 to 60 percent off of the ticket’s original price by purchasing through the seat-filling platforms.

To join these platforms, you’ll sign up at a site like SeatStir or SeatFillerNetwork and then you can get access to the tickets when they come up. If you don’t want the pressure of joining as part of a long term membership, you can often find trials for these types of sites on Groupon. Giving the services a trial run this way will allow you to sense whether they're right for you.