Students resort to devious methods in order to attend sold-out concerts

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(Graphic by Katie Tamosiunas / The DePaulia)

DePaul junior Danny Hacker said the process of finding hot concert tickets takes a great degree of skill, practice and patience.  

“Buying tickets and getting good seats to concerts is an art. There’s a tactic to it,” Hacker said. “When I first started buying tickets, I got greedy and pressed refresh too many times, and got booted to the nose-bleed seats. You have to know your gut feeling. It takes a lot of practice.”

Hacker, who has bought tickets to at least 10 shows while in class, stops at no means to clamp down on ticket sales.

“There was a show I really wanted to go to and I was taking a Cold War class,” Hacker said. “It was in the middle of class, we were taking notes. I had to get good seats. I got second row to one of the greatest shows I’ve ever been to. When I checked after class, sold out.”

The chance to see a wide variety of genres and some of the biggest names in music can all be snatched away with just two words: “sold out.” Unfortunately, this was the fate for many individuals who attempted to purchase passes for Chicago’s most anticipated event of the summer: Lollapalooza.

While some may have given up, others have developed their own strategies to breaking the system when it comes to these music concerts.

“If this is going to be the highlight of your summer it’s worth it to miss a couple of notes (in class),” Hacker said.

While some students are concerned about tickets to these venues and festivals, others have different tricks up their sleeves.

Freshman Nick Grammatico said that your one-way ticket into having a good time at these summer festivals is befriending the enemy: security. However, he warns that you might have to get your hands dirty in the process.

“Me and my friend were going to see a band called Breaking Benjamin. We ended up talking to one of the security guards,” Grammatico said.  “Into the first opening act, a fight broke out. He hopped over immediately. Me and my friend were trying to pull people back. Just because we helped him break up the fight and we were super cool with him, he swung us two VIP meet and greets. Be nice to the security guards — they hold power.”

Sophomore Adriana Kemper claims to be another firm believer that festivals are all about who you know. If you get lucky, she said that you might receive more than you bargained for.

“My senior year in high school I snuck into Summer Camp in Chillicothe, Illinois,” Kemper said. “My friend was in a small band that played one morning and he gave me his artist’s wristband and VIP pass. After work one night, I just walked in and they gave me free beer for being a VIP artist.”

One has to be brave and a little risqué to participate in these hijinks. Grammatico, having attended 42 concerts by the age of 19, offers an alternative method  that will guarantee a great experience with your favorite artists.

“When I went to go see Godsmack with my mom, I was flipping through my Instagram,” Grammatico said. “I found that they had taken a picture, had the whole band sign it, put it in an envelope and hid it in the venue. I tweeted at the lead singer and I found the autographed picture. Keep an eye, going up to the venue, on all their social media. You never know what happens.”

To the naked eye, these antics might seem outrageous for a simple summer festival.  Kemper, however, emphasized the sense of community that draws concertgoers like herself to these events every year.

“You meet so many free spirits at these events,” Kemper said. “You go in and emerge yourself into this different culture. Although there are people that put that bad stereotype to music festivals, there are people that genuinely love the music and love going. You feel like you know these people within the first five seconds. It’s beautiful.”

As you frantically click away at Stubhub, know that there are several tricks to making your way to the 25th anniversary of Lollapalooza, happening July 28-31. If you find yourself discouraged by the words “sold-out,” Grammatico provides some motivating insight he learned from his brother.

“My brother Dave said it best,” Grammatico said. “When you see ‘sold-out,’ it’s not the end of the road — it’s just a fence there. You can either stop at the fence, or figure out how you’re going to climb over it.”