5 Tips: Seeing Live Music on a Budget

What better way to “Get to the Music” – see it live! Whether you are a musician, an aspiring musician, or just a music lover, live music in a concert setting is one of the best ways to spend an evening. With LAMA’s Pasadena location, you are a hop, skip and a jump away from some of the best concert venues in the world. Unfortunately, live music can sometimes come with an expensive price tag. However, this doesn’t mean you should be deprived of seeing great live music even if you are on a budget. These 5 tips will keep you jamming all through your week without costing you an arm and a leg!

1. Free Local Shows

Every week great free local shows are taking place all over Los Angeles, you just might not know about them! You should start with checking out your free alternative-weekly newspaper as well as their website, which should have a pretty extensive calendar listing section The Pasadena Weekly and LA Weekly Calendars are a good place to start. Often times certain clubs or venues might have a designated free night of the week. In Silverlake and Echo Park, for instance, both Spaceland and The Echo pick one local band to have a residency each month and play a free Monday show with different opening acts. In a big city like Los Angeles you could probably find a free show at a different club for every night of the week!

2. Goldstar and Other Discounted Ticket Companies

With the state of the economy, the last few years the concert and ticketing industry has been in crisis. The good news for the concert-goer? Deals are for the taking! Goldstar is the premier discounted ticket company but others like Groupon and Living Social have ticket offers once in a while. You simply log into the website, enter your zip code, and they send you emails with amazing ticket offers in your email. The tickets are either severely discounted or even free! Over the last few months Goldstar has offered free concert tickets in LA to concerts as diverse as late-90s alternative favs “Marcy Playground” to Reggae Fest to British Invasion stars “Chad & Jeremy”!

3. Start A Live Music Blog

If you aren’t happy with the free offerings in your city you might need to get a little creative. Bands and venues are often very eager to get as much publicity for themselves as they can. You might want to consider creating a live music blog for your city. It can be as simple as just reviewing all the live shows you see or even just a photo blog of the pictures you take at concerts. Free blogging services like Blogger and Tumblr make it work with your budget! Once you have a few posts to your name you can look up the different venues in LA and go to their contact section and look for the promotions person or publicity contact. Introduce yourself and let them know you are now covering the LA music scene. It often might be easier to go through the band who, funny enough, sometimes has more tickets to give away than the venue! Do a similar search on a band’s webpage and look for their publicist and give them an email telling them you would like a comped ticket to cover the band’s show. If you want to take photographs make sure to ask for a photo pass as well!

4. Ebay, Craigslist, and StubHub

If you still have concerts you want to attend that aren’t free you should be aware that much like anything else there are deals to be found on the aftermarket. Bands are sometimes booked into places bigger than they can sell and people are forced to slash prices on their tickets if they cant make the show. Ebay, Craigslist, and Stub Hub are three sites that allow users to re-sell tickets directly to other people. Make sure you research prices before buying anything, click “Completed Listings” on Ebay and see what the average ticket is going for. To get a great deal you will need to monitor all the sites throughout the day so you can snag a deal when it pops up!


If you are a student at LAMA you might not have to go through all the trouble other people do to find live music on a budget. With lots of great performances and clinics being offered at LAMA all the time, it’s pretty easy to get your music fill! It is important to “like” LAMA on Facebook (Link to http://www.facebook.com/LAmusicacademy) to keep up to date and to make sure you don’t miss anything at school! LAMA also fosters such a close knit community between your fellow students, instructors, and alumni that you will hear of countless great shows just by going to class! Teachers are always playing around town – maybe you can get on the guest list!

Bonus Tip: Use social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to follow LAMA and your favorite clubs, bars and musicians online. Often times, they do ticket giveaways and trivia with prizes such as bar tabs or access to the club for you and friends etc. The Roxy Theatre, Viper Room and other clubs on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood have expanded their social media initiatives heading into 2011.

Hopefully these tips will have your ears ringing with pleasure from all the live music you are going to see without having to spend a lot of (or any) money! Just remember even if a show is free there are lots of hidden costs like parking, food, drinks and merchandise. Save money by taking the bus or biking to shows, eating a big meal at home before you go, and calling the venue ahead of time to ask if you are allowed to bring water bottles or canteens. Have a blast at the show and stay out of the mosh pit so you don’t injure your strumming hand!

-LAMA Staff

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