ON ANOTHER NOTE: Buying concert tix and enjoying local music

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So how is your summer concert season planning going? Have you jumped on some of the big ticket shows or opted for some of the smaller, more intimate venue? Sitting it out all together and enjoying the free community concerts featured every week in some of the beautiful parks throughout our area.

A few days ago a friend asked me for some ticket buying advice in hopes of getting a decent seats for a show for he and his wife and another concert later this summer for his family of four.

It wasn’t as easy as I thought.

Does anyone else out there remember when tickets went on sale at ONE time? Those days have gone the way of the Tickettron Outlet.

As I did some quick research for him, I was amazed to see how many presale opportunities there were for the shows in question and just about every other show I came across. There was everything from American Express to the artist’s website to local radio station presales were available and that was almost a week before the general public on sale date. And that doesn’t include the multi-tiered VIP packages that accompany most of the big summer tours this year.

I know a lot of it is designed to try and get a little bit of what the secondary ticket market  is going to get, but some of the VIP packages did make me snicker. A $300-plus ticket and I’ll get a collectible, reusable canvas shopping bag? Even some of the “platinum” packages had me wondering what was so “VIP” about them. A high price and a promise of a great seat are one thing, but if you’re going to put together some sort of gift package, at least make it a good one.
I didn’t come across any packages that included a “meet and greet” although many bands and artists offer them with regularity now.

But I tried to explain to my friend that in this digital age, ticket buying has become a question of what you’re willing to spend or how lucky you are. With so many chances to buy tickets it’s hard to gauge what is being made available in which sale and figure out exactly when is the best time to pull the trigger on a pair that seem like a good deal. He didn’t seem too interested in playing around with one site at the appropriate on sale times and wanted to secure tickets fast and insure peace in his home.

In the end he ended up with tickets to both shows with seats that made all involved extremely happy.

The only person who seemed a little distraught was my friend who detailed for me the amount each show was going to cost him – a minor detail he had skipped over with his wife.

SELLERSVILLE ROCKS … I’ve seen plenty of shows at the Sellersville Theater, but very few acts work the crowd the way the Imagination Movers on a recent Sunday afternoon. Anybody our there remember the way the audience sort of gasped when Peter Wolf lept off the stage there a couple years back and kept singing as he wound his way through the aisles, clasping hands and giving high fives to surprised fans?

Multiply that by four. It was almost like a show in 360 degrees with something happening around you, some band member zooming past you for the duration of the concert. How many shows do you see where someone in the last row has the performer coming out to see them…repeatedly?

Yeah, I know it’s directed at kids and keeping their attention, but those guys worked the crowd and worked hard while keeping it at an entertaining, non-stop pace that had parents involved as much as their kids. That venue has never seen so much confetti and flying toilet paper. And how about that version of Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off”?

Great fun. Great day. Great band.

GUITAR GREATS … I am always a sucker for kids selling items on street corners. If I spot a lemonade stand at an intersection, Liam and I will without question pull over and get a glass. Whatever the cost, the joy that spreads is palpable.

Recently, while driving through Lansdale (on Hancock Street for those familiar with the town) I’ve seen a pair of probably junior high school kids playing guitar a couple times with a giant sign welcoming donations. I admired the fact that they were out there playing before the weather took a turn for the better. So the other day I spotted them again and pulled over, despite a couple honks from drivers unable to appreciate these music visionaries.

I rolled down the window and asked what they were playing. They told me it was an original song they’d written and I asked to hear some more of it. They seemed stunned by the request and fumbled through a few bars and some mumbled lyrics. The song was about a girl, of course. I offered some words of encouragement, handed over a few dollars to their amazement and thanks and drove away.

If you see them, you should do the same.

 “On Another Note” by Ken Kolasinski appears periodically in Ticket.

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