I write to you from outside an arena in Cologne, eagerly awaiting the concert I built my current holiday around. Concerts, and the UK music industry in general, took a very large hit after Brexit, which means that the opportunity to see your favourite band is not there in the same way that it used to be. But that doesn’t mean that the opportunity doesn’t exist at all. Let me walk you through how to increase your opportunities of seeing your favourite band in concert, as well as how to turn that into a short holiday break.
Brexit and the Music Industry
Brexit has clearly had a strong impact on the music industry both in this country and in the EU. British musicians have historically been very popular and have often been the choice of musicians in the UK and the EU to support in their concerts across the continent. The ability to travel across the EU freely was pivotal for this. Since Brexit happened, this has limited the ability to do this. Because we are now limited to 90 days in 180, it is not always possible for our musicians to travel abroad on EU-wide tours. This also means that it is more difficult for people who are on tour in the EU to come to the UK. Because of this, you may find that your favourite singer or band is either playing less in the UK than they used to or perhaps skipping the UK altogether.
Going to Concerts Nowadays
Since bands are touring in the UK less, it is now significantly harder to get concert tickets in the UK. Performers will now often skip the UK altogether, but if they are performing in the UK, it will be at fewer venues for a shorter amount of time. This means fewer tickets in the UK, which means they are either going to be more expensive or sell out much quicker. Either way, this means that getting tickets in the UK will be much harder.
But this is where the EU comes in! We are still allowed to visit the EU for 90 days in each 180 visa free, needing only a stamp in our passport to prove our stay. While this is limiting for musicians, if you are only planning to attend one concert, this could possibly be worthwhile looking into, since there will be many concert tickets from different cities and countries you can consider, and flights to Europe are still relatively cheap. The overall cost will still be higher, but if you really want to see a particular band, there is a better chance of getting a ticket if you are looking in France, the Netherlands and Germany than there is if you are only looking in Manchester. I managed to buy a ticket to see Stromae in Germany, where there were two different cities I could choose from (as well as the Netherlands and other German speaking countries) when the tickets in London were already sold out, and I only paid around 40€. I simply had more options when looking in Europe than I did in London.
The problem with this, of course, is that I am paying not only 40€ for the ticket, but also for plane tickets and accommodation, simply to see this concert.
My solution? Turn the concert into a holiday!
Making a Holiday Out of a Concert Ticket
I think the best way to manage this and make sure you get value for money is by building a holiday around the concert. If you have family in the country/city, go and visit them for a week. If not, book a hostel for a week and explore the city you are in.
If you speak an EU language, you can take this opportunity to explore a different city in the country where you speak the language. Take the time to research where you will be staying before you book the ticket and see what you can build around it. For example, large German cities often offer tourist 1-day or 2-day travel passes that include free travel as well as discounts for many museums, restaurants and other events, which is something you could take advantage of. If you get to the city by train, the train tickets in Germany can also sometimes offer these tourist travel passes, so it is even more of a bargain!
When you are booking a hostel, make sure you look for one that includes things like breakfast and towels. Having towels offered means that you can bring less on the aeroplane and possibly avoid paying for checked luggage. You will also want breakfast that is either included or you can easily pay for for a fixed price, because this allows you to not only get a cheap breakfast, but you can also make lunch from the breakfast rolls that are usually served. Getting breakfast and lunch for under £10 each day means you can save money and stress, and only worry about buying for/looking for dinner.
Think about different things you could do that are free or low cost in the country. If there are things that the city is known for, then see if you can find them. If there are good museums, these are usually affordable and a very good way to spend time and learn more about the city. Are there any popular events or festivals going on at the time? Make sure you research the local events that you can join in with, since this may save you some money. This can all help you save money and make your holiday more cost effective.
Of course, if you are not worried about money, then you can spend as much or as little as you choose, but if you are trying to make sure not to lose too much money on this holiday compared to staying at home, these are good tips to follow when planning what ticket to buy, where and when.
A concert is the perfect opportunity to visit a new country in Europe (or beyond if you have the time and money) and take a break from work. Although it is no longer as simple as it was when we were still in the EU to see your favourite band perform, this presents new opportunities to explore places and have different adventures while enjoying good music. Or, if you’re very lucky, you might be able to find a ticket in the UK and save yourself most of the hassle! But if not, you now have a way to make sure a sold out arena in London or Birmingham doesn’t end your concert dreams.