A Summer night with your favorite band… or boy band, it doesn’t get much better than this.    Do you see Jordan Knight pointing at the camera (right).

One of the best parts of Summer is outdoor concert season.  In Metro Detroit We have Meadowbrook Music Hall, DTE Energy Music Theater, and even Comerica Park that offer summer concerts.  In addition many local cities have picnic pops and other local acts.

July was a busy concert month for us, we saw a ton of shows.

  • July 4th– Counting Crows & The Wallflowers
  • July 6th– Matchbox Twenty & The Goo Goo Dolls
  • July 18th– Gavin Degraw, The Script, and Train
  • July 20th– Jimmy Buffett
  • July 21st– Under the Sun Tour with Fastball, Vertical Horizon, Gin Blossoms, Sugar Ray, and Smashmouth.
  • July 23rd– Lynard Skynard and Bad Company
  • July 29th– New Kids on the Block with 98 Degrees.

Believe it or not, we stayed within our budget.  There are some simple tricks to saving money during outdoor concert season.

1-      Plan ahead.  Prioritize concerts.  Do you really need good seats?  Consider the lawn option and save up to 75%.  Is this one of your favorite acts?  Consider a pre-sale to make sure you get good seats in your price range.

This is what pre-sale can get you, 4th row for New Kids on the Block, $60.
98 Degrees was part of the NKOTB tour. Not bad for an opener!

2-      Utilize Groupon and other daily deal sites.  They often list shows before they go on sale at a discounted price.  This is how we bought tickets for Matchbox Twenty, Train, and Lynard Skynard.

3-      Procrastination can be a good thing. When shows get close and have a lot of extra tickets, they often go on sale at dramatic price cuts.  For example, we got the Under the Sun Tour tickets for $10 two days before the show.  Sometimes venues will use Groupon.  Other times, they will send special offers through email.

Counting Crows July 4th, 2013.  Only $15.
1990’s best pop-rock bands, for $10.

4-      Carpool.  Many venues charge for parking.  If you ride with friends, you can split the cost of parking.

Suspenders Guy
DTE’s legendary ‘suspenders guy’.

5-      Pack your dinner.  This is one of the most important steps to saving money during concert season.  A pasta salad can be whipped up for around $4.00 and can feed 4-6 people.  Use whatever veggies you have on hand, create your own dressing, and toss with some whole grain pasta.  For extra flavor add feta cheese or blue cheese.  My favorite uses olive oil, red wine vinegar, and Italian Dressing seasoning.  Not a pasta fan?  Consider sandwiches which can be made almost as cheap.  Most venues, including DTE and Meadowbrook in Metro-Detroit allow you to bring in picnic dinners.  Make sure you double check, many allow food but not beverages.

A picinic dinner with friends, followed by your favorite bands, can be a great affordable night.

6-      Tailgate.   Part of the summer concert fun is being outdoors.  Pack a cooler with your favorite beer and mixed drinks.  Just don’t forget the plastic cups.  An eighteen pack of beer from Costco is around $14.  For the price of two beers inside, $10 a beer, you can share an eighteen pack with your friends.   Instant savings of around 70%.  Do you like mixed drinks?  Pack a flask or chill a bottle on ice.  You will still save lots of cash.

Tailgating before Jimmy Buffett
Tailgating before Jimmy Buffett

7-       Be prepared.  Outdoor concerts can bring all types of weather.  It’s a good idea to pack rain ponchos for summer storms.  Poncho’s at a concert can cost more than $10.  A plastic paint tarp from the dollar store, can act as a barrier between wet grass and your blanket.  Sweatshirts are a good idea, summer evenings can get chilly.  Concert sweatshirts often run around $70.  A recent concert was so cold they were selling woven Mexican blankets, for $20.  (These are the same ones you can by for $2 in Mexico, and $5 at the flea market.)

Rain Poncho’s are a great thing to keep on hand for summer shows.

Planning and preparation are key.  It’s important to know what you are allowed to bring, and what you are not.  You may want to consider having a ‘tailgate kit’ packed and ready to go, like many of our friends.

Rain Poncho's can also double as blankets when desperate
Rain Poncho’s can also double as blankets when desperate