6 strategies for checking out live music on a budget in Toronto

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by David Klaassen

Listening to your favourite artists’ songs on Spotify or browsing through their SoundCloud page is one thing, but seeing them perform live right in front of you is an experience unlike any other. Keeping the costs down on all these concerts, however, can be a big challenge for many, and most people often end up having to compromise on seeing their favourite shows simply because the price tag is too high. Although its unfeasible to attend every single concert that comes up on your radar, we believe that it’s perfectly possible to strike the right balance between seeing the music you love while keeping your budget under control. With a little bit of planning and a couple of inside tips, here are some of the best strategies for seeing live music on a budget in Toronto:

1. Free Local Shows

The summer concert season is now upon us, and there’ s no better time to take advantage of the huge wealth of free events and shows that are going on around our city. You could easily satisfy all your concertgoing needs through free shows alone and it gives you a great opportunity to seek out new experiences and artists you might have never considered listening to before. Toronto.com is a fantastic resource for navigating all the free shows going on in Toronto. Check out some of their suggestions here.

2. Craigslist

Craigslist is your friend. Or your enemy, depending on the situation. For every person rejoicing over an awesome deal they got for concert tickets via Craigslist, you have an angry customer fuming over being scammed by some unknown seller. Nonetheless, Craigslist can be a gold mine for concert deals if you approach it the right way.

3. Join a street team/promotion of the band or live act

If you’re dying to see a show but the cost of the tickets is out of your price range, don’t give up. A great way to get a hold of cheap or even free tickets is by joining a street team to help promote a specific act. In doing so you’ll get great access to cheap and often free tickets, get a great behind-the-scenes view of your favorite concerts and make important contacts who you can leverage down the road for more deals. If you’re interested, check out this link to find out opportunities in Toronto.

4. Seat filler programs

Seat filler sites are a wonderful resource for getting great deals on shows. You might not get the flexibility or same amount of options that other solutions can provide, but the money you can save from finding seats on these platforms is something you can’t ignore if you’re on a tight budget.

5. Sign up for mailing lists and fan clubs 

Often the best solution to most of our challenges lies in doing our research and planning ahead. Finding cheap concert tickets is no exception. By signing up for mailing lists and joining fan clubs for your favorite artists, you’ll be in the loop on any discounts, presale events or contests that could give you the chance to save some cold hard cash. If you haven’t done this yet, don’t waste anytime. You’ll be shocked at the amount of money you’ll be able to save.

6. Go to the box office 

In many cases it pays to buy at the last minute. Many shows have difficulty selling out, meaning that last minute sales at the box office could be your best bet for finding the right deal. If you have the willpower to wait it out and approach the box office the night of the show, you could save a good amount of money. Like we’ve said before, the key for this strategy is to do your research. Know which shows still have plenty of available tickets and plan accordingly. The last thing you want is for your wallet to suffer the pain of a price hike, or even risk not having a ticket altogether.