Hoping concerts will let you in late is always a fear for any music fan running late to a show.
As long as you have a valid ticket, concerts will let you in late, although you may risk securing a good vantage point and miss a large part of the set.
It doesn’t matter what type of concert you go to – be it a small bar or a large stadium – door opening times are only a starting point for fans.
However, until you are actually in the venue, there’s always that thought lurking that you could be denied entry.
When Do Concerts Open?
When you look at your concert ticket, you will see a start time mentioned. It normally says a time when doors open. But that doesn’t mean the show is starting then.
As doors open, it means that is when fans can enter the premises. You won’t walk into find the headliner already waiting on stage to belt out their opening song.
Instead, people will start heading in and finding their preferred spot for the show. Or grab a snack, drink, or look at the merch stands.
So just because the doors are opening at a certain time doesn’t mean you need to be there ready and waiting to file in.
Some people would rather turn up a little past that time to avoid any excess waiting in line, and walk straight in with minimal wait time.
When Does The Show Start?
The show itself will generally start 30-60 minutes after the doors’ opening times. When the lights go out, you will find that there will be one or two opening acts on the support bill to warm up the crowd.
Again, these aren’t the main attractions themselves. Opening acts are there to gain experience and try and sell themselves to a new audience.
If you are running late, missing the opening act won’t be a dealbreaker. Concerts will let you in late, especially if these acts are playing or it’s between the support acts. After all, the main event has yet to begin.
Also, keep in mind that there is also time needed to reset the stage between acts. This changeover can last from 10-20 minutes while roadies and stagehands get everything ready.
These changeovers mean that you might miss the support act but still get to see the main attraction.
What To Do If You’re Late To A Concert
The big question though is what happens if you are late to the main event itself? If the headliner is on, would they let anyone in even if the room is packed?
Well, the good thing is that concerts let you in late provided your ticket is valid. Most of the time, a venue won’t mind if you’re a little bit late and you have a legit way to be in.
Headlining slots are never a short affair either, lasting at least 45 minutes to an hour. This means that missing a handful of songs won’t be a deal breaker to most venue staff.
If you are worried about anything, the best thing to do is to just talk politely to the venue staff. They are often more than willing to assist you with your needs and get you in.
Just be polite and accept the best scenario you can get. Don’t be surprised if you don’t get a great view or spot within the crowd.
If an act is playing, you also might need to wait until a song is finished or there is a brief pause before finding your seat. This is just down to common courtesy and minimizing disruption to other fans.
As long as you use common sense and are friendly to the venue staff, concerts will let you in late to see the rest of the show.
Understanding Different Venues
One thing to consider when running late is the type of show you are going to. This also plays a factor as to what might happen if you are late.
For example, it will make very little difference if you are attending large outdoor music festivals. These audiences are virtually a mass gathering and are first come, first served. Festival bills are packed with lineups so audience members often turn up late to a set of one band – especially if they are waiting for the next one.
It’s a similar feeling if you are heading to an arena show or one that has dedicated seats. What you will find is that most people attending will have an allocated seat matching their ticket. Therefore, as long as you have your ticket, you are guaranteed a spot. No matter how late you might be.
You might not be so lucky if you are heading to a small venue that’s general admission only. These are very much based on getting there on time. If you arrive late and the venue is full, then there may be a chance that you won’t be let in. Or if you are, it’s a case of standing only cramped in the back of the room.
When Wouldn’t Concerts Let You In Late?
Even though most shows will let you in late, there is still a chance that you might be denied entry.
The main reasons that someone might not be allowed in if they are late could be to:
- No space
- Lack of remaining time
- No tickets left
Most of these reasons come down to just common sense. If a show is sold out and you arrive halfway into the final act, chances are the room is going to be full. And this might mean you won’t be allowed in.
Venue staff always have a right to refuse admission to any guest – especially if it is based on safety grounds. If the venue is full to its maximum capacity, there isn’t much that can be done. No one wants to risk others getting hurt at any particular time.
Time can also be another factor. If there are only 5 minutes before curfew and you rock up at the last minute, chances are you won’t be allowed in. It’s just them sticking to the rules and an unfortunate set of circumstances.
Then there’s the last scenario. Rolling up at the last minute hoping to still get a ticket. This is a risky strategy and one that very rarely works. If there are no tickets left and you appear looking to buy one at the venue, there’s a good chance you might not get one. If that’s the case, you need to be early to ensure you get a spot.
As you can see, concerts will let you in late on most occasions. No matter if you are attending a stadium spectacular or a small show in a bar, you don’t have to be there when doors open. Particularly if there are several support acts to warm up the crowd.
However, you need to be prepared to accept whatever you get if you are late to the party. This means enjoying the show from any available spot or waiting a few minutes before entering the arena.
All this ensures that everyone has a good time at the show.
There is a risk of not being let in particularly if the venue is at capacity or there are no tickets left. That’s when you need to just cut your losses and accept the decision. But that is a rare situation and many concerts will let you in late and enjoy the live show, especially if you already have secured a ticket.