Why it’s Okay to Go to a Concert Alone


By John Walaszek

When I first moved to Chicago, I didn’t go see Bone Thugs-n-Harmony at Double Door because I couldn’t find anyone to go with. It was a Monday, but I guess nobody else wanted to unwind and go see Bizzy. So I didn’t go to the show, two blocks away from my apartment, because I didn’t want to go by myself.

There’s a weird stigma with doing something by yourself in public. There are certain things we accept doing alone, and other things that we do not. Instead of going to the show I probably just got high and watched Chappelle's Show, by myself. Watching shows and movies on your own in your own home is okay, but when other people can actually see you watching Life of Pi by yourself, it becomes extremely uncomfortable.

So when I couldn't find anyone to come and see The Orwells a few months ago, I bit the bullet and went alone. It was weird at first, but then kind of great. Complete freedom. Like sleeping naked for the first time. But when I tell people about that show, I get mixed reactions. A lot of people have told me that they admire my courage, like I overcame some tragedy, and that they could never go to a show alone. Others express jealousy, saying they wish they could do something like that.

Life happens, but you shouldn’t miss out on something because you’re too scared to walk to another building and stand there alone for two hours. Not to mention a building that is packed with music, people, and liquor. It’s impossible to end up spending the whole time alone.

However, I know that a lot of people can’t even fathom doing this, and that’s why I put together a list of things to remember just in case Bone Thugs-n-Harmony are playing down the street from your apartment and nobody else wants to go.

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  • Chicago87

    I love going to shows alone! Sometimes you end up meeting new friends and sometimes its just a chill night but I still can’t get over the self-consciousness of telling other people I went alone. They seem to think its sad when really I just have alot of friends who can only handle a few concerts a year when I prefer weekly shows :-)

  • John Walaszek

    Or they’re just jealous of your self-confidence and disguise it as pity. Keep rockin’

  • DS

    I hate going to shows with people. They always ruin it for me, be it with their lack of knowledge of the artist, lack of open-mindedness, annoying concert etiquette. THUMBS DOWN TO COMPANY. Alone is the way to go!

  • Jake the Snake

    I went to a show by myself last night for the first time. I ended up having a great time and the freedom was really nice. It felt good to not be tied down to anyone.

  • Dee Jay

    Recently I’ve skipped out on 2 concerts because I couldn’t find anyone else to go with me, but after reading this I feel inspired. Next time I decide to go to a concert I’m gonna try going by myself! Great article P&P!

  • duda

    I absolutely love this article. I made great friends going to concerts by myself.

  • cruz

    Yea you sound like the worst person to go to a show with ever hahaha

  • http://relaxedmaniac.tumblr.com/ doug_hefferlegs

    I went to a CHVRCHES concert alone last month and it was honestly the best show I’ve seen. I really did not want to go by myself at first. All my friends had plans, but I could not pass up seeing them live. Now I go to shows by myself all the time and have a blast! Wicked article, John!

  • sd

    all these points are about how you’ll be more comfortable and itll be easier and whatnot but when i go to a concert what im paying for is the memories me and my friends will get and shit, im sure a lil wayne songs sounds better on the album thru my headphones than it does live on stage. i just recently passed on the drake vs lil wayne show cuz i dont know anybody to go with and i woulda gone if i knew for sure i was gonna meet ppl there but what if i dont? $70 to just hang by myself lookin at those two? nah

  • John Walaszek

    Yea going solo to a huge concert with stadium tickets is on another level… I’m trying to get at the small shows down the street… you find out someone you love is playing around the corner for $10, don’t back out because no one else is down to go with

  • John Walaszek

    you get it you get it

  • x97sfinest

    This is kinda mandatory for a struggle music journalist

  • icwhatudidthere

    The past few years, I’ve been shooting shows and festivals, so I invariably end up going alone, even to music festivals. Even with that experience, the stigma is so ingrained in us, it still feels a little weird to go to a show alone when I’m not working the show!
    Definitely helps to have a scenario in your head, like thinking, “if anyone asks, I’ll tell em I’m press but couldn’t get a +1″, which is usually true. But going alone definitely has its perks. There are also some shows where it’s just too hard to coordinate getting tickets, like something that sells out in minutes or a surprise pop up show. And it’s true, it really doesn’t take much effort at all to meet new people at a show, really it’s even easier than at a bar or a club.

  • sobercool

    It all boils down to “No one is paying attention to you.”

  • tmx

    all true! and dont go to your favorite band with your favorite girlfriend

  • Tiddo

    I’ve been going to show alone quite a bit for the past 10 years or so. And I never was aware people would consider this to be courageous or anything. I just wanna have some fun and if my friends aren’t coming I’ll have fun without them. Pretty simple.



  • Boliji

    Bravo and thank you. Exactly the same as travelling solo. I desperately wanted to go to India when I was younger but nobody wanted to come with so I got tired of waiting and flew. That was just the start-I met THE best friends who I’m still friends with 15 years later. I’m inspired !!

  • Drew

    Im going to Music Midtown alone.

  • http://www.pamploo.com/ Pamploo

    I’ve been to numerous concerts alone. I saw The Internet alone last friday and I’m actually going to see Allen Stone tonight all-by-myself. You always meet people that are as hyped as you

  • jessmmeyer

    I used to miss out on stuff, too, because no one was interested in going with me. Then I started going alone, and not only did I meet cool people, or run into people I knew, but it’s true – you get to do whatever you want!

  • a real[ly] nice guy.

    yeah, i actually go to an assload of concerts (small, huge stadium shows, the whole nine) by myself and at first its cool but I cant lie…I’m pretty well over it, mainly due to the double edge sword that is slide two (no one pays attention to you) and its contradictory slide 5 (you meet people). Might be a personal issue but I dont ever meet anyone. Ever. 95% of the people came with at least one other person and they usually intend to share the experience with that person, so they continue to not pay attention to you. If its an artist/a band that you MUST see I say fuck people and go see it regardless because the personal experience but it really becomes wasteful to hoard all these experiences and not ever have anyone to share them about (kinda over music blogging too…those were the days tho).

  • Mélissa Make Up

    YEAH this article iz so true ! i did it many times and its fucking cool..at first i waz affraid but now i aint got problems with it, its even better..i got to see beyonce alone in september ;)

  • John Walaszek

    I don’t think they’re contradictory, just showing the different possibilities. If you want to go incognito you easily can, but you can also meet people if that’s your goal. It’s whatever you want to make it.

    Lets say 95% did come with someone (which isn’t true), but then 40% of those are awkward dates, and having someone come in and talk to them about music saves their night and yours. Everyone wins.

  • John Walaszek

    you rock

  • tall and now sad

    damn, first it was on the festival suggestions and now this too… some of us can’t help being tall

  • Markinoz

    Been going to some shows alone for years now- love it! Stand where I want; get a drink when I feel like it; don’t have to wait around whilst someone gets their bag out of the cloakroom after the gig; always meet someone to talk to. You’re not really alone – as there are hundreds/thousands of others in the room!

  • luckyjynx

    This article is so true. I’ve been to a bunch of shows alone and I enjoy it every time. I either meet new friends or end up seeing old ones I didn’t know were going to be there. I’m heading to Splendour in the Grass (a three day festival) by myself at the end of the month and can’t wait to not have to worry about timetable clashes with other people’s favourite bands ;)

  • Marie-Claire

    I just bought a ticket to go see Lily Allen kinda spontaneously and I was stressed about going alone but now that I read all these comments I feel excited to go :D

  • Elle

    Thanks for writing this! I love going to concerts alone – just enjoying the music and not having to friggin have dinner or drinks before/after or try to talk over/about the music. I also HATE going with a friend who doesn’t know the band – worst experience ever. I wish more people went to shows alone, there would probably be less bullsh*t!

  • Circa1989

    I love this article! I can relate to it on so many levels. I have been going to shows by myself for years and its great. you meet so many ppl, you are in control.

  • neonix

    To the author: why did you not have the threesome?

  • neonix

    On a more serious note, my recommendation about bringing along friends who are ignorant of the band is to show them their music well before the show. It’s very unlikely they’ll fall in love with their music AT the show, but there’s a chance they may love the music on CD, at their own leisure, in their home or wherever. It gives them the chance to listen to it more than once as well and have it sink in and grow on them. Then they will be more excited for the show.

    …or they will hate it, but then you at least know not to bring them :P

  • Lola

    Lily Allen ?

  • ro

    I’m going solo to an Arcade Fire concert tomorrow night. Not going to lie… I’m a bit terrified O_O I bought the ticket months ago… refusing the idea of missing the show just because none of my friends are fans. Well… now I’m having anxiety about it! Oy vey… Ehehe… I’ll just have to close my eyes and jump in!!!

  • Travelling EU

    Good thread and comments!
    Currently running through Europe by myself and found some good concerts to go to — albeit alone. Be my first time concerting alone, but some good, pretty obvious points (ie just have a good time and enjoy the music)!

  • Arbel

    Great article. Nobody actually cares that you went alone. If they do, just as the article stated, you will get nothing but praises. Looking back at things I have done alone, I can say that I’ve made memories that I’ll always cherish. You’ll appreciate yourself more because you can say, “yes, I did it for myself.” Thank you.

  • Katlyn

    Thinking about going to the Cat Stevens concert on December 9th, a Tuesday. Wanna go with me John? I will have to go alone otherwise. I know its not quite like listening to East 1999, but Cat is pretty dope.

  • Don Knocks_Prod

    Yeah i’m going to this Ab-soul concert solo. idgaf.

  • Abe

    I’ve gone to a few concerts alone before because none of my friends liked the artist. I didn’t have second thoughts about it at all. I’m actually going to another concert alone this week. My sisters are always like “Wait, you’re going alone?” If I really want to see someone perform, I don’t give a crap if I’m alone at the show. I’m going to enjoy the hell out of the concert. I meet new people there anyways.

  • madeofstone

    thank you for this article. I’ve been forcing myself to go solo since none of my friends have the same music taste as I do. None of them like live music either. I’ve learned to deal with it and I end up having a great time at the shows by myself but the most brutal part I think is if you want a spot in the front row. I tried that last year so I went to the venue early in the morning and it was the most brutal and lonely experience ever haha. Noone to chat with either since people in front and behind had groups of friends. My advice is if you don’t mind missing the opening acts, just sneak in around the time you think the artist you want to see will go on.

  • anon155058

    Great article. I’m about to go to a concert on my own for the first time, and this makes it seem that much better!

  • http://mickians.tumblr.com/ CHELSEA

    Wow okay I am also going to an Orwells show by myself, what a cool coincidence. Thank you for convincing me that I’m not going to have a terrible time??

  • John Walaszek

    Yes! To this day that’s still one of the best shows I’ve been to.. go rock out and have a blast

  • John Walaszek

    Thank you for reading! And I totally agree… If I’m solo I like to stay out of the pit and just float around the venue and take it all in

  • John Walaszek

    you rock

  • John Walaszek

    solo ho! thats the way to go!

  • John Walaszek

    Cat going up on a Tuesday? I’m intrigued…

  • John Walaszek

    Yes. Thank you for reading and for being a cool person. Keep rocking

  • John Walaszek

    I hope you had an awesome time!

  • John Walaszek

    Thanks for reading! And yes, exactly. It doesn’t have to be an all night event with drinks and dinner when you’re by yourself… you can just slip in for an hour and watch some great music. That beats watching ancient aliens re runs… even tho I love that show

  • Julian Andres

    Got mixed feelings about going on solo but im gonna try harder!

  • Mark Ralph
  • Random dude

    I saw Santigold alone a while back when she came to AZ post Coachella. I convinced myself it was probably going to suck due to just generally feeling lonely. When she came on the place blew up and I quickly realized I had no idea what the fuck I was crying about. I manuevered my way up to the front row, got some rad photos and left as happy as a high schooler that just got his first blowjob behind the gym bleachers.

  • Mike Ghent

    I would have given this comment a thumbs up if you had written ”I was petrified” after you wrote ”at first i waz affraid”.

  • Megan Cortes

    Hey there! I’m going to see CHVRCHES on the 26th and I’m going alone, which is why I’m reading this article. Haha After reading you’re comment I felt better about it, and I’m so excited to see them!

  • Domonique Baul

    Thank you so much for this article! I was about to miss seeing Erykah Badu at the Fox in Detroit because all my friends are being cheap. I feel 100 times better about buying the last single ticket near the stage

  • Nat

    This is just what I needed to read…I’ve missed out on many concerts just because none of my friends are as into music as I am and can’t justify the $$ to see live music.. I on the other hand couldn’t think of anything better! I’ve been to many concerts but always with some. Then DRAKE just announced his first Australian tour and no one I know really cared that much…that’s when I decided stuff that I’m living my life and I don’t want to miss out on something I’ve been waiting a long time simply coz no one wanted to go….so $300 later I’m going to see Drake in Feb 15 -I decided if I’m going to do it I’ll do it in style so I got a VIP ticket!…I couldn’t feel more excited and strangely liberated!

    I was always the type of person that admired the others that traveled and did cool stuff by themselves…I think I’m now on my way to becoming that person :)

  • Sholz

    I’m deciding whether or not to go to a concert at the moment because i have no one to go with. I’ve never been to a concert before and im terrified i’ll get lost or not be able to find the right entrance or something. Reading this article makes me feel a bit better but im still so nervous :/ I wish there was a page or blog i could find and chat to people hoping to meet up with people as well

  • thewho

    I may just go to The Who alone!

  • Jess

    I completely get what you mean. If I go to the movies with a friend, it’s not because I actually want to watch the movie because THEY ARE THE WORST PEOPLE TO GO TO MOVIES WITH. Talkative, obnoxious, blech. Lovely people but worst moviegoers.

  • Nicole M

    This helped so much! LoL thank you, I plan on going to two concerts alone this year, already bought tickets, and I was nervous but what you said was exactly what I was hoping to hear. Nobody cares about you, just the music. And I’ll get there right at show time to avoid any awkwardness lol

  • Jim Pryde

    I ran into this discussion after asking the almighty Google oracle if it was alright to go to a concert alone. Rush, a band that’s an acquired taste, is going on their 40th (and likely final tour) and tickets are $100 or $150. No one wants to pay that much to go, so I’m doing it myself. I figure it’ll get me a better seat, since I’m only searching for one, and it will leave just me to enjoy seeing one of my favorite bands of all time. Good write-up!

  • why_not

    hmmm….i might just go to a concert on 3/14…thanks!

  • natalie

    how was your experience????

  • Nat

    I’m so glad you asked! It turned out to be one of the best concert experiences I’ve had! I actually ended up meeting another girl who was also by her self – this being my first solo experience I wasn’t looking to draw attention to myself but she came up to me and asked if I was by myself. It helped coz she held my spot when I needed it haha…but really there were so many others there that I saw were by themselves too…to anyone reading this…We’re not alone at all!

    Everyone’s there for the music and once it starts there’s nothing else that matters. Yeah you might feel slightly awkward standing around while it seems like everyone around you has someone to talk to, but seriously you’re likely to forget all about it when the act you’ve been dying to see comes on.

    Thanks to me taking the risk I was right up the front at the rails singing at the top of my lungs…I’d gladly do it again regardless if I did end up making a temporary friend or not!

    Also I got some amazing photos to look back on. You can have a look on my tumblr if you like :)…

    If you’re thinking about doing it go for it…You’re gonna have way more fun at the concert than sitting at home regretting not going!

  • natalie

    Sounds awesome! Definitely gonna try it. Im also a huge Drake fan. Thanks for sharing!

  • longview82

    Thank you for this. I was feeling a little nervous about going to a show alone…. I LOVE the band… just didn’t want to go along. LOL Now I feel silly feeling that way after reading this… Thank you for reiterating the fact that my happiness is most important – Forget the others that don’t want to go because it’s on weekday… I’m going to go and have fun!!! :)

  • longview82

    OK, I just saw that I put ‘along’ when I should have put ‘alone’. Autocorrect! lol whoopps.. thank you

  • Guest

    This story and everyone’s comments have made me feels heaps better about seeing RL Grime by myself in a few weeks!!! Thank you!

    Haven’t been to a show solo before but am not at all prepared to sacrifice seeing this set due to not having friends with the same music tastes as me. I’m actually really excited to do this alone now!

    The only thing I’m still worried about is departing the venue at the end of the show in an urban area with 1000 people off their heads… Any tips?

  • alana_aussie_83

    Excellent post and comments, thank you! Am going to see RL Grime in a few weeks on my own and it’ll be my first time flying solo, now I’m heaps keen!

    Only thing I’m still worried about is departing the venue at the end of the set in an urban area with 1000 odd off chops peeps. Any tips/suggestions?

  • alana_aussie_83

    Or quite the opposite. I saw MUSE on their Absolution tour having never heard of them.
    A M A Z I N G!!! Way more amazing than their records :)

  • Kethz

    I’m planning to go to show next month and the paranoid part of me googled to find if people do go to concerts alone… Your article very nearly summed up and dismissed all my fears! Great to hear you had a great time alone and I’m looking forward to the same! :)

  • plt002

    You hit the nail on the head!

    The biggest tip I give to people who want to try going to a show alone is this: make friends with those around you! It does much more for you than just giving you someone to chat with between sets. My personal experiences (sorry, they’re lengthy):

    1. I was about to black out from dehydration and being crushed in the front row. I was losing consciousness and couldn’t speak to get security’s attention. Had I fallen, I would quickly have been trampled. Luckily, I had been talking with a girl beside me, who saw me in distress. She was able to get security to grab me in time.
    2. At another show, I was again nearing a blackout in the front row. Water was being passed back to the crowd, and a guy I met beside me passed me water before he ever got some himself. It meant a lot since we were all nearing the point of passing out.
    3. I was being crushed again in the front row (it clearly isn’t for the weak or afraid), and as a petite girl at an outdoor festival in August in Texas, I seriously thought I was going to be badly injured. Another petite girl was beside me, and we did our best to hold the barricade and push back against the crowd, but it was useless. Suddenly this bigger guy behind us put his hands on the barricade on either idea of us, and shoved back as hard as he could against the crowd. Hard enough that he knocked a couple of people back and gave us girls some breathing room! I was so grateful for that!
    4. I had made friends with 2 girls at another show (front row, as per usual), and we constantly worked to keep a little breathing room for the 3 of us. One girl behind us kept screaming that her friend was “righttt there” in the front beside us, and rudely tried to shove us out of the way. Separately, we had a hard time pushing her back. So, I got the idea for us 3 to link arms (Red Rover style) and make a human barricade. The girl tried so hard, but finally got tired of our elbows jabbing her in the side. So she called us some really sweet names and gave up. It was an annoying, yet awesome bonding moment for us 3 strangers!

    My point is, you don’t want to go to a show alone without making yourself known to at least one person. People don’t inherently know that you’re there alone, so getting to know someone gives you the benefit of at least one person looking out for your safety.

    For those of you still not convinced about going alone, just try it once! It’s a great life experience because at some point or another, you’ll have to do a group activity alone. It’s better to just find out if you can be comfortable and happy in these situations. If so, you’ll find you can do many things alone (movies, dinner, traveling, etc.) and enjoy getting to do exactly what YOU want to! Sure, initially friends will think it’s crazy/dumb/lonely of you to do things alone. But before long, you’ll find those friends will admit to being jealous because they don’t have the freedom/bravery to do what you do!

    Okay, off the soapbox now! :)

  • Karine Thomas

    I adore your post! I’m going to a concert alone next week to see TLC, New Kids and Nelly! No one could travel to Washington with me so I’m gonna bite the bullet and enjoy the show. You are so right about just listening to the music and enjoying the performance, I plan to do that, no need to hop around singing and dancing..although I do like doing that hehe. It is a worry what others will think when I’m there, but hey wont see em again right lol. I was just thinking about where to sit where I could enjoy that kind of experience, so I might go for the Executive suite- its going cheap!

  • Jill Took the Red Pill

    I ran into the same problem! Couldn’t find anyone willing to to shell out the cash, so going to have to go solo to the Newark show! It’s probably their last tour ever, can’t miss it!

  • jay tee

    What are the odds that I was searching for “going to concerts alone” and I happened across your post about it & BTNH? I love BTNH! I’ve always gone with a friend whenever they came to town. I would have gone alone for that. However I didn’t have any takers on KC & the Sunshine Band and it’ll be my first concert alone. I’m glad to everyone’s pointed out to focus on the music cause really that’s the only thing that’ll be on my mind when I get there. I just have pre-show jitters :)

    By the way, never miss a BTNH if Bizzy will be there. You know that’s a mracle just to get Bizzy to show up? :D LOL

  • Snooze

    Heading out to see Blur next week alone! After reading this I’m actually excited I have broke friends. Thanks for the article ^_^

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