Be a concert camping queen: How to survive camping for your favorite band

column by Audrey Hertel



Photo courtesy of CJ Moy

Nothing beats the feeling of live music. As an avid concert goer, I cannot agree more with this statement. With a number of 12 concert campouts ranging from 7-30 hours, I like to consider myself pretty experienced. In cities from Lincoln to St. Louis, I have seen many different concert venues and had unique experiences at each. Considering my extensive knowledge on camping out for concerts, I want to help you, a future concert camper, not make the same mistakes that I have made in the past and get front and center for your favorite band.

First things first: is it general admission (GA)? Make sure that the concert you’re camping out for is actually a GA concert. It would be very awkward if you were sitting outside of a venue for more than seven hours for no reason.

I personally like to map out where I am going for the concert prior to the concert date. Especially if you are in a city you are not familiar with, you need to know how to get there and where you are going to be camping. Once you find the location, look for parking near the music venue. Please pay attention to where you park. The last thing you want is to come out to your car only to see a parking ticket tucked under your windshield wiper. 

Before all of that happens, you might be thinking, “What time do I actually need to start lining up?” The time depends on the band and how popular they are in area. If a band is not that popular where you are going to see them, you will definitely not have to line up seven hours early. If you are unsure about what time you need to go in order to get center barricade, use Twitter as a resource.

If you are as hardcore as I like to think I am, camping out up to 30 hours for a band, you will need to sleep. I’m not saying get a full seven hours of sleep, but at least take naps occasionally. 

Make sure to pack some pillows and blankets because more than likely, you’re going to be sleeping outside of the concert venue. Be sure to look at the weather and bring umbrellas, hand warmers, rain ponchos, lawn chairs or anything else you may need to stay warm and dry. 

You must eat while camping out. You cannot get away with only having one Cliff bar. Pack a lunch and snacks prior to the date or walk across the street to a restaurant. Even if you’re not hungry, put something in your body because the moment you start to headbang, your lack of nutrients will cause you to start seeing black spots. 

My go-to pre-concert food is half of a Jimmy John’s turkey unwich (or if I am trying to better myself and be a vegetarian, I’ll get the veggie), Goldfish and Gogo Squeez cinnamon applesauce with a giant bottle of alkaline water. 

Drink water all day. You may become sick of it, but when you’re being squished against the barricade soaked in other people’s sweat, you won’t regret being hydrated. Also, make sure to go to the bathroom a lot prior to the show. You will not be able to get barricade back if you go to the bathroom during the show. Yes, you may have to use a porta potty, but sometimes you’ll get lucky and businesses around the venue will let you go in and use theirs. 


Get Wrecked with The Wrecks: This photo was taken by the wonderfully talented Kyle Lehman, who is generously letting The Network use this photo. (He’s an awesome photographer. Check out his instagram @kyle_lehman.)

About 45 minutes prior to the time the doors to the venue open, you should go change into what you’re wearing that night. If you are in a group have someone stay where your stuff is and have two of you take some things back to the car like extra blankets or chairs. 

You should have picked your outfit out before camping. Make sure you wear something comfortable that you can dance in. 

 After changing into your concert clothes, it is time to do your makeup. Do not put on shoes until you are done with everything because they tend to make maneuvering around in your car a lot more difficult. Please turn on your car while you’re in it. You don’t want to freeze or overheat (you would sweat that sharp eyeliner off before you even had time to set it). When it comes to doing hair, the MAJOR KEY is to use dry shampoo. It adds awesome volume, smells good and takes all of that grease right off your head. Messy French braids are always a good style to work with or even just wearing your hair down with a lot of hairspray, and dry shampoo makes you look like a total rocker babe. 

When you’re done with your hair, make sure to put on some deodorant and perfume. When you are in close proximity to your favorite band you don’t want to smell like gasoline or sulfur from the city air (I forgot one time and regret it to this very day).

Once you are all glammed up, go back to the line and allow everyone to “ooo” and “ahh” over your transformation. Be sure to keep a jacket with you if it is cold, and bring a fanny pack with you if you don’t have trustworthy pockets. It makes it a lot easier to dance without holding your phone or money in your hand!

Once doors open, it’s time for you to pull your fanny pack up and go snatch barricade. My advice to you, is to enjoy every moment of the concert. Cherish what happens and interact with the musicians on stage. Live music is such a sacred thing. Try not to be on your phone, because I have come to realize that the artist and even you will come to appreciate the show so much more. Plus, there will probably be photos of you on that artists Instagram the next day for you to regram (Just like this one that I found of me at The Wrecks). 

The last piece of advice I have for you is to have the best time of your life and make those seven-plus hours of waiting worth it. Who knows? You might buy another ticket that same night for a show the next day. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s