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When is the Best Time to Buy Concert Tickets?

A woman looks through printed resources while shopping for tickets on her phone. Concert & Ticket Guides

One of the most common questions we hear is “when is the best time to buy concert tickets?” According to a 2022 study by Finance Buzz, it may actually pay to wait. 

Picture this, you open up social media to see a tour announcement from a band you like and see your city on the schedule. The email list pre-sale starts later this week, then a credit card pre-sale, and a third before tickets hit the market. 

You may ask yourself, is it worth it to scramble and buy them at the first opportunity? Well, after analyzing secondary market sales for concerts by 14 major musical acts and five major festivals, FinanceBuzz found that it may be beneficial to delay your purchase. 

Behind the Numbers

Finance Buzz split its research into two main categories – concerts and festivals – to account for some of the logistical differences between them. Multi-day festivals tend to take more advanced planning with travel arrangements especially if you are attending one of the popular camping music festivals.

Do Concert Tickets Get Cheaper Closer to the Date?

According to their data, concertgoers spend 33 percent less than average when they buy the day of the show, but this timeframe accounts for just less than seven percent of overall concert sales. Buying tickets the week of the concert can also bring significant savings at 20.77 percent. These discrepancies in price are largely due to last-minute conflicts that require guests to resell their tickets. 

The statistical average hits around three weeks before an event with mild decreases as you get closer to the performance, and higher prices further away. The most expensive – and most popular time to buy – is three months or longer out from the show. This includes purchases during the pre-sale and initial on-sale periods. Although this method is a little more expensive, its the most reliable way to secure tickets if you want to see your favorite artists take the stage.   

Do Festival Tickets Get Cheaper Closer to the Date?

There is significantly less fluctuation with music festival tickets, but ticket buyers can still save in the weeks leading up to the event. Finance Buzz showed a 16.96 percent price below average on the day of the festival which accounts for less than five percent of purchases. The week of a festival is the most popular time to buy your tickets. More than a quarter of all ticket sales happen during this time period. Again, the priciest tickets are typically purchased more than three months in advance. Some of the most popular festivals in the United States include Coachella, Stagecoach Country Music Festival, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and Lollapalooza Chicago. 

The Best Time to Buy Tickets for a Concert

Ultimately, the best time to buy tickets depends on your own process and preferences. For example, if this performer is at the top of your bucket list, or you want to snag VIP tickets, it may be best to buy as soon as tickets are available.

It is important to consider the size of the venue as well and how that will affect ticket availability. An intimate show at a small club or theatre will sell out much faster than an arena or stadium. A venue’s location in relation to a city is important too since metros will attract larger acts and more concertgoers from surrounding areas. 

The general popularity of the event is another big factor. This is evidenced by the convoluted on-sale processes that Taylor Swift, Beyoncé and Bad Bunny fans all experienced when trying to secure tickets for their 2023 concert tours. Those lucky enough to get through the pre-sale will enjoy a worry-free leadup to the show while resale ticket prices fluctuate to adjust to demand. 

As the data above suggests, the price of concert tickets will eventually fall so if you have more flexibility, it may pay to wait. This is especially true for up-and-coming acts who might not hit capacity, or on the opposite end of the spectrum, the large-capacity venues and festivals where a number of guests won’t be able to attend. 

A young woman records a show with her phone surrounded by a large crowd.

Pros and Cons of Purchasing Tickets Close to the Day of the Event

Now that we’ve looked at the stats, let’s get into some of the specific pros and cons of purchasing tickets close to the day of the event.


One of the biggest benefits of waiting to buy tickets is that you do not need to commit right away. This gives you the flexibility to wait until payday or to see how your schedule shakes out over the coming months. As the numbers show above, tickets may be less expensive over time too which means you may be able to snag a better deal if you are patient. 


The biggest con of waiting to purchase tickets closer to the day of the event is that tickets may not be available at all. Many artists will announce tours in support of new albums and the success of their release as well as associated awards could affect the demand for tickets. Reviews of earlier tour dates could also affect the price if fans are hyping up the performances.  

How to Purchase Tickets Close to an Event Date

Even if a concert or festival is “sold out,” there are a few different ways to find tickets. The term “sold out” simply applies to the primary box office as there may be tickets available through other outlets like ticket resale marketplaces. Ticket resale through a platform like TicketSmarter is a safe and trusted alternative to the old practice of buying through social media or Craigslist. It also adds more security than buying in cash from an in-person seller outside the venue. 

Is it Safe to Buy Resale Tickets?

Buying resale comes with its risks, but sites like TicketSmarter offer a 100 percent ticket guarantee that covers your purchase. If you decide to wait until closer to the event, make sure to allow some time to acquire your tickets if you don’t opt for a digital transfer. Although digital tickets can be sent instantly, you will still need to install the correct phone app to receive the tickets and enter the venue. 

Make sure to double-check your seats before ordering to ensure they get you exactly where you want to be. TicketSmarter’s virtual venue maps can help as you search and compare prices between primary and secondary ticket options. 

Concert and Festival Tickets

Now that you have seen the numbers, it is time to start bookmarking sites and tracking prices for your next show. Whether it’ll be an intimate concert at a small theatre or a huge festival with an incredible lineup, you can get concert tickets for your favorite artists through TicketSmarter.