I have a bit of a music habit. I think that’s become evident across the five years (!) that this website’s been running. A very big part of this is going to see bands live. I do at least one festival a year, I go to as many local shows as I can and I probably go to at least two ‘big’ shows a month in one of the cities nearby. There’s nothing better than seeing one of your favourite bands tear it up on the stage, or to discover a great new band in a dingy little shithole of a venue. That being said, local shows aside, it’s an expensive hobby. You can expect to pay anywhere between £13 and £28 per ticket for a gig at the Birmingham O2 Academy, and that’s without booking fees on top. And these days, they’re not even giving us a chance.
Last week, the Pop Punk’s Not Dead tour got announced. And a few days after it got announced, tickets went on sale for that tour. Admittedly, you’re getting a lot of bands for your buck, with New Found Glory, The Story So Far, Candy Hearts and Only Rivals, with more acts to be confirmed. The gig’s over eight months away, in bloody November, but is likely to sell out quickly due to the hype generated by Kerrang, Rock Sound et al. Did I feel pressured into buying tickets now? Yes. And I’m not sure we should be operating like that any more.
It’s totally not fair to announce a tour like this and put tickets on sale so soon after. The festivals have already started taking note, announcing their line-ups nice and early before tickets go on sale, and other gig promoters need to do the same. I’m lucky in that I’m an adult with a full-time job, and I usually have a bit of cash set aside, but this tour is exactly the kind of tour that the teens are going to go gaga for. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t generate demand, but it means that there’s a lot of people going to miss out, and not just that, but it means you can’t just stroll in on chance any more.
I miss door tickets, and I’m sad that most of the young music fans these days are going to miss out on the experience of heading into a ‘big’ show on a whim and discovering something incredible. But after all, when record sales are falling, the labels have got to make that cash somehow – pre-ordered tickets are a guaranteed way of doing so. There is one thing that we can do though. Get down to your local and support your scene. There’s plenty of fantastic music popping up, even in middle England. In Worcester, we’ve got the excellent Surprise Attacks series, amongst others, and it’s not even hosted in a seedy venue! If you ignore the folk epidemic in Cheltenham, there’s a swiftly growing punk scene and plenty of ace bands coming through on a regular basis. Just listen for the whispers, click the ‘attending’ buttons on Facebook, pay your three quid on the door and put your middle finger up to the big guys. Unless, of course, AFI tour again any time soon.