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The Student Voice of UNC Asheville

The Blue Banner

The Student Voice of UNC Asheville

The Blue Banner

A student’s perspective on traveling and concerts

“You’re off this weekend? Any plans?” my coworkers at Starbucks ask. If I’m not working on the weekend, I must be doing something. I’d almost never turn down the opportunity to work a shift- it means making more money and not rotting in bed all day. 

“Actually, I’m going to Louisville for a concert.”

My coworkers and manager look at me, wide eyed and mouths slightly ajar. “Another concert? Weren’t you just at a show less than a week ago?”, they ask, confused and slightly impressed. 

In the past 3.5 years, I’ve traveled to three states and five cities and have driven well over 700 miles for seven bands and 11 shows in total (I’ve seen the same band five times as of March 2024) all the while balancing being a full time college student as well as working over 20 hours a week at my job. That’s not counting the variety of small, local artists I’ve seen in bars here in Asheville. If I had to list out my top hobbies, traveling for concerts would be on the top of that list.

It’s not an easy feat. From working a flexible job, planning ahead and having travel buddies to keep me company, it’s something I’m passionate about. And I’d love to help others who wish to do the same, but don’t know where to start.

There’s a wide variety of things I do to balance work, school and going to shows. One of the top things is living in an area where venues are close by. It also helps that almost all of my favorite artists tend to play at smaller venues.

In the almost four years I’ve been traveling for concerts, I have only been to two stadium shows. The rest have all been at smaller, bar venues. The furthest I have driven was the 5.5 hour trip from Asheville, NC to Lexington, KY. 

Even when there aren’t shows in Asheville, most artists tend to hit up Atlanta and Charlotte which is a manageable drive and can even be made as a day trip if need be. The fact that I lived in Orlando, Florida for more than half of 2023 was also a big reason I was able to go to a ton of shows (four in total), as I’ve found more artists tend to visit Florida rather than the Carolina’s. Location is definitely crucial and living in Asheville with so many local venues has been a great benefit to seeing tons of my favorite artists. 

Another (yet extremely obvious) way I’ve been able to go to so many shows is reliable transportation, whether it be your own or a friend with one who is willing to be the driver. Going to shows has been a less stressful feat since getting a car with ac, does not have the check engine light illuminating the dash staring back at me and doesn’t threaten to blow up every few weeks. Totally not talking from personal experience or anything. I wouldn’t have been able to go to the amount of shows I’ve been to if it weren’t for having reliable transportation.

Planning ahead is also another crucial step to enjoying concerts as a college student. Since starting college in 2020, almost all shows I have gone to have all been planned out over a month ahead. Planning ahead allows for you to put in off dates at your job or ask to trade shifts with little to no stress, plan out what school work needs to be done before your trip, book hotels if needed and save up any extra money you might need for your journey. 

Since starting college in 2020, I have only missed two classes for shows. When registering for classes, I always try my best to opt for morning classes as I know there will be at least one concert I’ll be going to during the semester. Since I typically make day trips for shows, I like to get my classes out of the way in the morning so I have plenty of time to prepare and plan the rest of my day for whatever show I’m going to.

Having a flexible job has also helped greatly with being on the road and traveling for shows. I’ve never once had to call out for a show before. Knowing what shows I’ll be heading to ahead of time and keeping coworkers and managers in the loop and putting time off immediately has truly benefited me in the long run. 

Having concert buddies is another crucial aspect to having a successful and safe trip as well, especially when making longer trips for shows. It allows for costs to be split up, safety in numbers and overall a great time and to have some company. 

There’s really no right or wrong way to go to concerts. Feel free to go with the flow or plan out months in advance, it’s whatever works best for you, your schedule and your wallet. Regardless, I hope having a new perspective can help you with your next show and make things a bit more enjoyable. Or if you have been considering going to a show but don’t know how to do so with the stress of school and or work, this will make the task feel a bit more manageable. Have fun, stay safe and rock on.

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