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5 Best Types of Concerts

Discover the different types of concerts you need to experience at least once in your life.

Featured photo by Danny Howe

“Concerts are life,” a small voice at the back of your head chants until it becomes a battlecry. 

Sure, you may not be able to attend a concert every week like you hoped you could, but when you do, it’s feels as if time doesn’t exist. You are alive in that moment. 

Maybe you’ve been to dozens and dozens of shows over your lifetime or maybe you’ve just begun to explore more of the concert loving lifestyle.

No matter which stage you’re in, one thing is certain: there’s nothing like the feeling of belonging in sea of strangers connected by music. 

Experiencing a concert is one way to explore the music scene of any place. Another way to travel.

And wouldn’t you agree that when you travel, attending a show is something that would be something on your itinerary especially if you’re favourite band is playing the same time you’re in that country? 

One of the things in my travel bucket list as a fangirl is to attend a KPop show in South Korea or Japan one day.

Back when I traveled to Oxford, I’d impulsively bought a ticket to watch an Anberlin concert although it was in London. I told myself I would figure out how to get there and if I needed to book a hotel overnight.

Even when I traveled to London not long after that I found it serendipitous that the hotel I was staying in was right beside a concert venue: The O2 Shepherd’s Bush.

So whether you’re a concert newbie or a seasoned fan, these are the 5 types of concerts you need to experience at least once in your life.

And if you have, kudos to you! You’re a true concert aficionado. 

5 Best Types of Concerts

The Intimate Gig 

This type of concert could be the gateway to the wonderful world of concerts and live music.

This is definitely the most common type of show you can catch with loads of gig venues in the area.

And it’s a great entry point because it’s an affordable way to explore the music scene.

Venues typically charge a small door fee and it can even come with a free drink.

There are other venues that host free shows, so keep a look out for those.

Another good thing about this type of concert is that if you’re an aspiring music photographer like I once was, you can practice during these shows since these kinds of shows don’t usually require photo passes.

You are free to bring your camera. 

The Secret Show 

This is one of the more fun types of concerts because of its mystery.

Yes, some of you may be thinking that the “secret” aspect of it makes it seem elusive and limiting, but there’s that thrill of not knowing who will be performing.

It’s this type of concert that inspired me to include in my debut novel The Hush Society Presents.

The secret show is like a blind date with music, and you may just fall in love with an artist’s sound during the first song.

The only details you’re given is the date, and a vague location such as the city of the show.

But the exact address of the show is revealed a day or two before.

Another thing that makes the secret show fun is that the venue changes every time. It could be in a backpack store, in a train station, or in someone’s house.

You never know. 

I’ve attended a few secret shows: one in Manila and another one in Los Angeles and I’ve discovered great artists through these shows. 

The Mall Show

Mall shows are one of my favourite types of shows because of its accessibility and show times.

In the Philippines, we spend our weekends in malls.

We meet-up with our friends in malls. Going to malls is somewhat of a cultural thing. 

It can be tricky to get tickets because it usually sells out fast.

Normally the mall sets up requirements for you to redeem a ticket. is buy something or spend a certain amount of money in various shops in the mall for you to be able to exchange your receipt for a concert ticket.

However, if you don’t have a ticket, it doesn’t mean you can’t watch the show.

A concert ticket guarantees you a spot inside the mosh pit or seated area. Y

ou can always watch the show from outside the barriers or from the other floors of the mall. 

What I love about mall shows is that if you want to, you can watch all mall shows of a specific artist.

A few years ago, one of my then favourite bands had a mall tour with five show in one weekend. I was able to attend two shows, but some  were able to attend all five. 

The Headliner Concert  

If you’re a massive fan of an artist, there’s no better way than being able to see them at a concert that they’re headlining.

However, the best from the different types of concerts for a big fan would be an intimate gig because no matter where you are standing or seated, it’ll still be a close distance from the band.

And the likelihood of meeting an artist after the show or getting any type of fan-artist interaction during the show is greater when it’s an intimate gig in a bar or small venue.

Sometimes if you’re catching an artist at an intimate  venue, chances are there are other artists also on the line-up, which means set times are usually 30 mins or about 4-5 songs. 

If you’ve experienced a mall show, the set isn’t as long as it would be for a headliner concert.

For mall shows you can expect between 5 to 10 songs or a 30 to 40 minute set.

With headliner concerts, an artist is able to perform longer, so the set list may go up to more than 20 songs.

This, of course, varies from artist to artist.

For me, this kind of show is the best in terms of experiencing many songs live. 

Headlining concerts can happen in different venues—from a bar, a medium-sized theatre to an arena. 

The Music Festival 

This type of concert is a whole other ball game because of the fact that it happen from as short as half a day to a whole weekend. 

Music festivals are a great experience because of the number of artists in the line-up as well as the overall experience.

It’s cost effective having that kind of line-up. For example, a VIP ticket to a headliner concert could cost just as much as the GA ticket to a music festival where you have more than five artists in the line-up. 

With music festivals, there are also lots of activities available in between set times.

There are booths that sell merchandise, food, and even games.

You just have to be able to pace yourself when attending a music festival since it’s much more tiring tham your typical concert. 

To recap, the five best types of concerts you need to know are the intimate gig, the secret show, mall show, headliner and music festival.

Each type of concert has its distinct qualities and come with different experiences.  

Which is your favorite type of concert?

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