Doing things by yourself can be a pretty daunting task. These days people don’t even want to go to the cinema alone, as if you need someone to sit in silence with for 2 hours. One of the biggest ‘I can’t go alone!’ things is gigs. Your favourite band is touring and they’re playing right near you, but none of your mates are interested or they can’t go. You can either miss out yourself or you can get a grip and just go — always choose the second option. I go to a lot of gigs by myself, some local and some miles away that I have to travel for and stay in hotels for, and honestly it’s great. If you’re unsure about going to a gig alone then here are the main things you need to consider.
If the gig is local to you and you don’t have to worry about staying overnight, then you really do have no excuse. This requires minimal planning, just buy your gig ticket and sort out getting there and back. Standard gig planning really. If you’re concerned that you’ll look stupid being alone then why not arrive just before doors open? You don’t have to queue for hours and then this way you can just get inside and focus on the bands. No one will be looking at you or paying you any attention once inside as everyone is too preoccupied with what’s happening on stage. Relax and thank your lucky stars that you’re not one of the unfortunate teens whose mum insisted they accompany them. If queueing up for gigs is your thing then no worries, chat to people! I know it sounds terrifying, but you’re all there for the same reason so you all have at least one common interest. A good way to start a conversation is by simply asking if this is the back of the queue that you’re joining, and then go from there. Safe topics are obviously the band you’re going to see, ask if they’ve seen them before, if they’ve travelled far for the gig etc. If talking isn’t your thing then take your iPod and listen to that in the queue, and occupy yourself with your phone. Remember — no one is looking at you, no one is concerned with what you’re doing, don’t sit giving yourself a hard time about being at a gig alone, it really doesn’t matter.
So the band you want to see are only playing in London and you live in Manchester. Shout out to all bands that seem to think London is the be all and end all of the UK, and they can only ever play one off gigs there. As annoying as this is, you can still go, it’ll just require more planning. Get your gig ticket and then it’s onto the travel. I tend to live by the motto that as long as you get there and go to the gig then who cares about the minor points of where to stay/getting home, but that isn’t the way forward so more on that later. If you have a 16-25 railcard then travelling by train is probably your best bet. It’s the most efficient (if they run on time) and stress free way of getting where you need to be, just get on the train and off you go. Give yourself plenty of time to get there and check in or whatever before going to the gig and it’ll be fine. Megabus is an even cheaper option if you’re particularly cash strapped, but this does take a lot of time, so you might have to travel at weird hours of the morning to make sure you get where you need to be. If you’re not familiar with travelling by train/Megabus and you’re not familiar with where you’re travelling to, then print screen everything you need on your phone. Print screen your trains journey on the National Rail app so you know if there are any changes and what they are/when they are. Print screen your destination station and the surrounding area so you can easily see the nearest food places etc in case your 3G starts playing up. Go mad, print screens for everyone!
Now obviously you don’t have to get a hotel, you can just get the earliest train/coach back home, but they’re usually around the 4/6am mark which means you’ll be hanging around in a train or coach station for hours after the gig. Trust me, it isn’t fun. If you really can’t afford a hotel, you haven’t got a friends place you could stay at, and you don’t want to sleep in a train station, you can leave the gig early and get the last train home. This is best if you’re not there to see the main band but are more interested in the support band, and if you’re not bothered about seeing if they come out so sign after the gig. I usually get hotels, and use booking.com to find the cheapest one that isn’t a flea infested pit. My advice would be to find a hotel that’s near the train station if travelling by train, or near the venue. You can get a taxi or the tube to/from the venue if it’s not within walking distance. The advantage of having a hotel near the train station is that once the journey is over you can quickly find your hotel and chill out until the gig. The following day is easier too because you’re close to where you need to be in order to get home. Also areas around train stations are typically always busy, so if you’re nervous about walking around alone then I find it’s more reassuring to be in a well populated area. Worried about being in a hotel alone? Don’t be, it’s the best thing ever. Lounge about, have 5 showers just to test out all the little soaps, watch Bargain Hunt, tell people you’re there on business — do whatever you like, who’s gonna stop you?
Look, I’m not going to dress this up any more — if you have someone to go to a gig with then great, but if you don’t then there’s no need for you to miss out. After you go to your first gig alone you’ll realise that you can actually do things by yourself, and you didn’t even get murdered or anything! It’s time to be independent, and you’ll learn that actually you’re not half bad at being organised, and you might even make some friends who you’ll then probably see at other gigs you go to. Quit reading, you’ve got gigs you should be booking.