As music fans, we’ve all been there. One of your favorite artists is coming to town, and none of your friends can make it. Or maybe they don’t share your music taste and would rather nod their head to the latest indie-rock band then go all out on the dance floor at an electronic artist’s gig. But hey, that shouldn’t be reason for you not to go! Attending a concert solo can be just as fun as rolling up with your usual squad. But there are also certain downsides. Before heading out on your lonesome, weigh some of the pros and cons we’ve compiled below.
Pro: You can come and go as you please. Ever missed an opening set you were looking forward to because your crew decided to pre-game longer than expected? Walking into a venue too late can be disappointing. Riding solo alleviates this problem. Or on the other hand, maybe after your favorite artist plays, you’re tired and want to go home, but your friends are still going strong. Once more, riding solo is the answer.
Last week, I was heading out to Mat Zo on my own. When I found out his set time, I showed up just beforehand, so I wouldn’t have to wait around. That’s what’s awesome about going solo – you can get there just on time, and when you’re ready to go, you can just bounce.
Con: Waiting alone can get a little boring. When you’re standing outside in line, listening to groups of friends chat excitedly among themselves, it can feel a little lonely. Before the show, or in between sets, while everyone’s chilling out or heading to the bar, you can easily find yourself with no one to talk to. During a special moment in an artist’s set, while other friends are throwing their arms each other, you might feel like you’ve got no one turn to, and that can sting a little.
It’s easy to end up tweeting, or texting the people you wish you were there with you. This is sweet, but while it’s tempting to hide behind your cell phone screen, it’s much better to start a conversation with someone around you. Which brings me to the next point:
Pro: You can make friends! At an electronic dance music event, we’re all family. Talk to whoever’s next to you in line, or whoever’s around you on the floor. You already have something in common – good taste in music – so just go for it. Not having a security blanket of close friends around you allows you to push your own levels of social comfort.
Find any excuse to go up to someone. Riding solo at a Bingo Players show some weeks ago, I spotted someone wearing an I Am Legion t-shirt, a group who had just played in town a few nights earlier. We struck up a conversation about how killer the show was, and ended up hanging the rest of the night. Now we’re friends and have already gone to more shows together! You never know who could end up becoming your buddy, and it’s fun to put yourself out there, cuz you’ve really got nothing to lose.
Con: You really have to keep your guard up to stay safe. Whenever you go anywhere alone, it’s important to maybe check in with a roommate or family member at home to let them know you’re ok. Simply telling someone where you’ll be, and approximately what times you’ll be gone, is a smart way to keep in touch. Planning your public transportation options ahead of time is key. Check the bus or train schedules, and know where you’re at all times. If you’ve got to walk pretty far in the city, it might be worth it to spring for a cab.
When you’re out on your own, no one’s going to take care of you. So, in the pit at a show or festival, make sure people around you are watching out for you – friends of ours have gotten seriously injured in pits and crowd rushes when they were by themselves. Know how to stand your ground and move yourself out of potentially dodgy situations.
Pro: At the show, you can move through the crowd with ease. No one likes when trains of people swerve through the crowd in front of them to get up closer, and no one likes being that group doing that to others, although sometimes it has to be done. When you’re on your own, you can sneak through the crowd and get to where ever you want to be, whether that’s right in front of the stage to catch the DJ’s attention, or off to the side to snap the perfect photo.
If you do get up front, you don’t have to feel bad for your friends who couldn’t keep up. Own it baby! While chillin on my own at Firefly Festival in Delaware this summer, I got to be in the front row for Big Gigantic’s late-night set. Watching the jazzy duo play my favorite songs before my eyes was incredible, and I had no one else to worry about.
Conclusion: Ever since I started going to shows on my own, starting with a blink-182 concert at age 16, much to my mother’s distress, I’ve loved it. Having the freedom to dance and experience my favorite artists without anyone holding me back is great. However, sometimes while I’m alone, I wish I had my real friends to share the experience with. But a lot of my “real” raver friends have been those who I’ve met at shows! All in all, I’d highly recommend it. It’s not worth missing your favorite artist play just because no one will join you! The love of music is enough of a reason to go solo.
What are some of the other pluses and downsides to attending an event alone? Did anything awesome ever happen to you while you rolled solo? Feel free to share! And keep on doing your thing, my fellow solo ravers!