Top tips for buying concert tickets online

These days trying to buy concert tickets online can be a pretty frustrating and stressful experience. However, with a bit of planning, you can give yourself the best possible chance of getting one of those coveted tickets to the show you want to see.

Last updated 10 February

Person making shape of a heart with their hands at a concert

2018 marks 30 years since my first concert (that makes me feel so old – Michael Jackson’s Bad tour at Wembley Stadium if you are interested.) That first show sparked a passion for live music and a lifetime of stress when tickets go on sale. 

I’ve been through pressing redial on the telephone for hours only to find the show had sold out (am still devastated at missing Wham The Final) to queuing outside box offices for hours on end. Two whole days for a Smash Hits Poll Winners Party back in the 90’s. Don’t ask.

The internet has changed all that making tickets more accessible and easier to buy but arguably more stressful. Having been to so many shows I’m often asked to help buy tickets for family, friends and work colleagues. So with a few big tours being announced, I thought I’d share some tips to help you get those gold dust like tickets.

Tips for buying concert tickets online

Be Prepared!

You’ve heard rumours your favourite band/singer is about to go on tour and you are desperate to see them live. This is the time to prepare.

Sign up to your favourite band/singer’s mailing list and follow them on social media

Tours are usually announced directly via websites and social channels. Some acts also offer pre-sales to those on their mailing list so make sure you don’t miss out. You want every opportunity to purchase tickets.

Sign up to your local venue’s mailing list

Join the mailing list of your local venue (or the venue you want to see the show at). They usually send out ticket alerts and sometimes offer pre-sales.

Register with the big ticket agencies – and join their mailing lists and ticket alerts

These days there are a lot of pre-sales before the official on-sale date. Make sure you are in with a chance to get a pre-sale offer by signing up to as many ticket agencies as you can. Ticketmaster, AXS and See Tickets are the big players. Other agencies to consider are The Ticket Factory, Gigs and Tours and Eventim.

If you have accounts with any of these make sure all your details are up to date. The last thing you want to be worrying about when you have tickets in your basket is typing the right address. It will just slow you down on the day.

It’s not all about buying concert tickets online – look out for other ways to buy 

If you are an O2 customer you have access to O2 Priority where you can get access to tickets 48 hours before general sale.

A word about presales 

Presales are a mixed bag so I wouldn’t worry too much about them. Any extra opportunity to get tickets is worth taking but from experience, they can go either way. Sometimes you can get brilliant seats other times you might as well be sitting on the roof or in the carpark.

On Sale Day

Buying concert tickets online. Women with laptop, tablet and mobile phone

Ok, take a deep breath. The last few minutes before the on-sale time are the worst. I’ve broken out into a cold sweat just typing it. The nerves! There are a few ways you can make this bit less stressful…

Log into all your ticket accounts before the on-sale time

You want to be ready to go the minute the tickets become available and not faffing about trying to type passwords and sign in.

Refresh Refresh Refresh….

Just keep hitting that F5 button. Doesn’t matter if the page comes up as sold out, keep pressing refresh. It amazes me how many people have said to me I tried but it said sold out so I gave up. KEEP REFRESHING. Tickets often reappear minutes (or hours) later. People may not buy the seats they are allocated or payments fail so tickets get added back into the pot. So don’t give up at the first rejection.

Follow the ticket agencies twitter accounts

The big ticket agencies often tweet the latest ticket status so you know if tickets are still available or if they are sold out. They’ll announce any extra dates too so turn those notifications on.

Try calling the box office or visiting the box office

If you are having no luck online it might be worth seeing if the venue has a box office phone number. They may sell tickets over the phone (watch out for high call charges) as well as online. Some box offices also sell in person but make sure you check before heading down there. You don’t want a wasted trip

Consider another venue

No luck at your local venue? Try looking further afield. You’ll get a city break or a few days holiday out it too :o) Some of the best gigs I’ve been to have been far from home (and were easier to get tickets for).

Don’t panic!

I never follow my own advice here but don’t panic. It’s very easy to get swept up in the ticket drama and panic buy or even worse, pay over the odds via the secondary market. 

Looking at the stage at a concert
No tickets? What next?

Hopefully, you picked up the tickets you were after but if not don’t worry. All is not lost…

Keep checking

Check often with ticket agencies. More tickets usually become available in the run-up to a show. You just need to keep checking.

Set up a ticket alert with Twickets

Twickets is a face value (or less) resale platform. You can set up alerts for shows you are interested in and get a notification when any tickets are put up for sale. Be warned though you have to move quickly. For popular tours, tickets don’t hang around for long. If you have spare tickets or can no longer make the show you can sell them on Twickets safe in the knowledge that you are selling to a fellow fan.

Check on the day of show

If your nerves can take it you can pick up great seats on the day of the show. Just keep checking throughout the day. They usually stop selling online around 6pm.

Let me know if you have any tips to add (or any stories about buying tickets) in the comments below. I’d love a good ticket story : o)

Where to buy concert tickets online

There is no one best place to buy concert tickets online. I’ve got great seats without spending all day refreshing my screen with pretty much all of the agencies/venues below.  Try as many of these as possible, you’ll get a feel pretty quickly for who is selling what and if it’s not what you are looking for move on.

Ticket Agencies

Gigs and Tours
The Ticket Factory


CardiffMotorpoint Arena
LiverpoolLiverpool Arena
LondonThe O2
London Stadium
Wembley Arena
Wembley Stadium
GlasgowThe Hydro
BirminghamArena Birmingham
Genting Arena
ManchesterManchester Arena
SheffieldSheffield Arena
AberdeenAberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre

Resale sites


3 thoughts on “Top tips for buying concert tickets online

  1. joy says:

    wow so detailed and helpful! i have not much experience w/ concert tickets as i am more about plays/musicals. very informative!

    Joy at The Joyous Living

    • emmaonline says:

      Thanks Joy. I guess a lot of this applies to plays and musicals too, especially the big shows (like Hamilton etc) that sell out quickly when the ticket batches go on sale. It just seems so hard to get tickets for any big event these days but hopefully this tips will help.

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