I know I come across as a cheapass curmudgeon who never has any fun, but I actually really like going to entertainment events. I enjoy everything from pro hockey and baseball games to the symphony, concerts and theater. Sue me, I’m a pretentious fuck.
Ticketmaster is a giant ripoff. The fees (service fees, venue fees, convenience fees, probably venti mocha chai latte web maintenance fees) end up costing as much as the actual event tickets. The thing is, none of these events are essential to our lives. They’re entertainment. Whether or not you see Saturday’s Bruins game or The Who’s 63rd Annual Farewell Tour has no real effect on your life.
I’m a veteran. There’s this awesome organization called VetTix. I’ve gone to literally hundreds of events with nearly-free tickets from them, courtesy of the excellent teams, organizations and venues that donate tickets. Check them out if you or your spouse are a vet (and I thank you for your service).
Seatgeek and Stubhub can also be pretty good. The night before writing this, my daughter and I went to a Coyotes hockey game. She found us tickets for $7, including fees, on Seatgeek the day before the game. (I trained her well: it was even dollar-beer night.) People who aren’t afraid of a little vibrancy can also buy from scalpers at deep, negotiable discounts right before a game or concert.
Some performers recognize the Ticketmaster scam. Kid Rock does a summer tour where he insists on $20 tickets and $5 beers at the venue. I’m sure Ticketmaster and the arenas hate him, but he has fuck-you money so it doesn’t matter. A few years ago, KISS did a promo for one of their Farewell Tours (their 54th, I think) where lawn seats were $10. Look for this kind of stuff and think about supporting these kinds of performers.
I crack up when I see washed-up geriatric musicians like Rush, Fleetwood Mac, and Neil Diamond charging upwards of $100 a seat (plus another $100 in fees) to watch them make a perfunctory run through their decades-old song catalogs. But a lot of gullible Boomers have plenty of money they’re happy to part with for a chance to briefly relive the 1970s from the disabled seating.
I resent Ticketmaster with their pricing and fees. I use free or steeply discounted tickets. I don’t care about front-row seats or Selena Gomez’s 2017 tour. I still see a ton of games and shows, and have a great time for very little money.
I am a deplorable consumer.