From the Fillmore to Outside Lands: Your SF Concerts Survival Guide

SF Concert TipsSan Francisco is definitely not short on places to go, things to see, and people to meet. With so many awesome music venues around town, such as The Warfield, The Regency Ballroom, The Great American Music Hall, Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, and The Fillmore, you’ll find tons of opportunities to check out SF concerts, whether you’re a resident or a tourist!

There is nothing quite like the experience of a concert. But before you head out, take a look at these 10 survival tips to help you get through any of the SF concerts or festivals you’re attending:

1.  Wear comfortable clothes and shoes.

While you may want to look your best at the SF concerts you’re going to, heels and dress shoes just won’t cut it. By the end of the festivities, you’re going to be hobbling back to the car with sore feet! And wearing sandals is a good way to end up with crushed toes. Instead, wear a comfortable pair of closed-toed shoes.

Also, although it may be warm during the day, remember that SF concerts at outdoor venues can get cold at night. Be sure you have a jacket or another item of clothing that you can throw on when the weather starts to get cooler.

2. Don’t forget your tickets!

If you need to print out your tickets, do it the night before. And make sure to put the concert tickets in your wallet or purse right away! It’s all too easy to set them on the counter next to your keys and still end up forgetting them.

3. Wear deodorant.

Time to get real: when you’re dancing with hundreds of other people, you’re going to get sweaty! And with very little space between you and the people around you, the last thing you want is to smell funky. So before you leave the house, don’t forget to put on that deodorant!

4. Bring the right accessories.

Not all SF concerts are created equal. Think about that when gathering your belongings. Sunglasses are a great idea for daytime, but not for a night concert. It is easy to push them up on your head, but that is also an easy way to lose them. If you need to bring them, buy a cheap pair that you won’t feel bummed about losing.

If you’re bringing a camera, you may want to take some special precautions. In a crowd of people having fun and letting loose, a camera becomes an easy target for accidental damage. Make sure you have it attached to your body somehow, such as with a cord around your wrist or arm.

Remember that at most venues, your bags will be checked when entering. Bringing as few items as possible will help you get through the lines quicker. Also keep in mind that in a large crowd, it’s easy for people to grab your purse or bag. You may not want to bring a bag at all; simply tuck your essentials in your pocket for safekeeping.

5. Factor in food and drinks.

If you’re attending SF concerts or festivals like the annual Fillmore Jazz Festival, which takes place in the summer, make sure you stay hydrated. Check the venue’s website for specific rules, as some allow sealed water bottles, and others may not allow any outside food or drinks. If you plan to eat at the venue, keep in mind that prices may be higher than you expect. A good tip is to arrive early so you can eat somewhere outside the venue beforehand.

6. Designate a meeting point.

Sometimes in all the excitement of live music, it can be easy to lose track of your friends. When you arrive at a concert or festival, take a moment to look around and find an easily accessed meeting point, just in case anybody in the group gets lost.

7. Sunscreen and shade are a must for the outdoors.

If you are headed to an SF concert or festival that is outdoors, such as the annual San Francisco Union Street Festival or Outside Lands, it’s important to be prepared for the heat. Bring your shades and sunscreen. If you are out having fun and you feel a little faint, seek shade and water ASAP.

8. Be mature.

If someone around you is acting inappropriately, don’t pick a fight – you’ll run the risk of getting kicked out of the venue. Act like an adult and simply ignore concert-goers who are acting disrespectfully.

9. Stand behind someone of equal or lesser height.

If you’re on the shorter side, it can be pretty discouraging to get stuck behind someone really tall! If you want to secure a good spot in the crowd, consider getting to the venue early and staking your claim, or move to the side of the stage, where there are often fewer people to maneuver around.

10. Most importantly, put down those cell phones and enjoy!

You may want to take that occasional snapshot or video for your social network – but don’t get wrapped up in the event updates, texts, Instagrams, and hashtags. Pocket that smartphone or secure it in your purse. All too often these days we miss out on the fun of just being in the moment. If you want to get the most out of those SF concerts, just put the phone down and enjoy!


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 Photo by kennejima

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