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Buying tickets online for a must-see gig is like trying to reach the front once you’re there: fraught with competition, and you’ll probably want to pour a drink over someone’s head by the end of it. But the process needn’t be such an ordeal. Sure, there may be thousands of other fans vying to buy the same tickets as you, but with a few canny moves you can muscle your way in.

Behold! The NME guide to buying tickets, which is basically the article equivalent of someone lifting you up and carrying you to the front of the gig. We promise we’ll be gentle.

Get wise to pre-sales

Tickets usually go on-sale on a Friday, which leaves the rest of the preceding week free for ‘pre-sales’. Sounds exclusive, doesn’t it? But it’s actually not; it’s just a way for promoters to off-load some tickets before the big day. And there are usually THREE sets of pre-sales for each tour – usually on the Monday, the Wednesday and the Thursday – so your chances of success just multiplied.

And then play them at their own game

It usually follows a pattern. The artists’ fan club will often release their pre-sale tickets on the Monday. On the Wednesday it may well be the venue sponsor, who might release detail via an app or mailing list. When Thursday rolls around, the venues themselves sometimes release tickets for existing customers via their mailing lists. The moral of this story: join the mailing lists and download the apps, and you just got closer to hitting up the merch stand for an ill-fitting t-shirt you will literally wear once.

Keep calm and wait for more

Trade secret: musicians and promoters like making bank. So all the tickets to the current tour sold out (and left you weeping into your keyboard like your weird uncle just left another deeply strange comment under your Facebook status)? Remember: that means there’s big demand, and if the artist in question is pretty famous, it’s likely extra dates will be added to meet that demand.

Even if that doesn’t happen, there are countless reasons for extra tickets to be released for each gig. To give a random example, the shape of the stage might change, leaving more floor space, meaning more – you guessed it – more tickets. Keep an eye on social media, as the venues’ Twitter and Facebook feeds will break this kind of news. Probably unfriend your weird uncle just in case, mind.

Hit Up the Secondary Ticketing Sites

Now, there’s an art to this. Some tickets on secondary ticketing sites can go for more than face value, but once again there’s an inside track, as Nick Adair head of live entertainment at >StubHub explains: “Just after the show sells out, the list price of tickets will often be at their highest but this doesn’t necessarily mean they will sell. We’ve all seen the headlines when tickets are listed for insane amounts, but the fact is usually no-one buys them if the price is just silly. Two things to remember; one the price will usually come down as you get closer to the event and two, StubHub fully guarantees each purchase with our Fan Protect Guarantee”

Set yourself a price – and stick to it

So you’ve decided the price you’re willing to pay, much like you would with an eBay bid. But you needn’t patrol the StubHub page – instead you can set a Price Alert and they’ll let you know via email when the tickets have reduced to the right price for you.

And if you buy tickets on the day of the gig, meaning they can’t be delivered? You can drop by a StubHub Last Minute Services centre to collect them (you’re also covered by the Fan Protect Guarantee, which offers you an alternative ticket or full refund in the unlikely event that something goes wrong).

So, okay, you probably won’t actually be lifted to the front of the show – it’s an insurance nightmare, and there just isn’t the staff – but hopefully you’re now armed with the information to get you there.

Click to win £250 StubHub vouchers

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