Guest Post: Top 5 Ways to Crash a Festival
So this year at SXSW, I had the pleasure–nay, the honor–of meeting a guy named Zack Teilbloom. He’s a recent graduate who has started a blog called Festival Crashers, a blog on hacking festivals and concerts. Given Tickermaster “convenience” charges and a penchant for mischief, his part autobiographical, part how-to posts are always great. I asked him to do a guest post, and here it is. ~Kelly
Welcome to the lifestyle of the Festival Crashers. Your days of paying for concerts are over. The first thing you need to know is even if you don’t have tickets and the show is sold out, go to the venue. Just go. Hang around the entrance long enough and you’ll find your way in.
Here’s 5 tips that’ll get you in:
5. Pretend you’re a roadie.
If you see an opening band’s van pull up in the alley beside the venue, say hello to your opening. Offer to carry an amp or guitar. The band will be happy for the help, the door guy assumes you’re with the band he’s not going to make you set down the amp and guitar to show your ID. Once you’ve put down the last of their equipment, disperse into the rest of the crowd. This only works for bar gigs and smaller clubs. Don’t try waltzing up to Madison Square Garden, say you’re Green Day’s roadie.
4. Replicate the pass or stamp
It helps to know if the venue you’re going to gives out wristbands or if they mark your hand with a sharpie or stamp before you get there. When I went to crash Animal Collective at Stubb’s this weekend, I had five different color Stubb’s wristbands in my pocket. Sometimes it’s incredibly easy to replicate what they’re looking for at the door. At a sold-out Girl Talk concert in Chicago, a smiley face written on your hand in black sharpie was all you needed to get into VIP. It can be that simple. Keep a couple different color sharpies and old wristbands in your car. If you can get ahold of a stamp and ink, all the better.
3. Walk Hard
Dewey Cox knew what he was singing about. Most of my crashes are from literally just walking past the security guards. The key is to wait for a swell in the crowd, hold something that looks like a ticket and don’t make eye contact with any guards. Walk confidently and purposefully. Keep your head down or pretend you’re on the phone.
Walking Hard into Jazz Fest in New Orleans
2. Talk a good game
Sometimes you just need to commit to a good lie. Or even a bad lie. The important part is that you commit. At a local Reggae Festival, I told volunteer services I was part of the recycling team and we needed more bins. The woman with the clipboard asked who sent me there for more bins. Brian did. Was there a Brian? Of course not. Don’t back down on your lie, only ask questions that you know will support your theory, and when it starts to feel like you might fail, make your move.
1. Get a pass back
Some people are lame enough to leave a show after the opening band. When you’re staking out the entrance, look for nicely dressed people with wristbands on their way out. It’s probably a couple on their way to dinner. If you get someone to agree to give you their wristband, have them take it off from