During my 10 years of festivals, shows and parties, I have come upon different techniques for going to parties for free. I have tried most of them. I know that all of them have worked at some point. Here are 10 best ways.
1. Say you're on the list.
As they check it, glimpse at the list and then read someone's name from there. You have to be an expert at reading backwards to pull it off. You can also say that you are a performers +1. Get real names of band members for that and then say something like: "I'm Max Power's +1. He plays bass in Emo Dwarves" It works better if you make it there before the band. If this plan backfires then you could be refused entrance even if you pay.
2. Get on the list.
Contact the artists playing and tell them you would love to be on the list. Offer something from your part in return. Bring extra friends, help with posters or just fill the empty +1 slot. It helps if you know the artist or have caught his attention beforehand.
Or volunteer to help out the organizers. Contact the team and offer to help them build the stage or distribute fliers or drive around. At best you could get a +1, just make sure no one steals it from you.
3. Pretend you are the artist.
There are many ways to do this. A Dj friend of mine used to take his vinyls along and convince security that he's playing (he even convinced DJs and played sets at parties he wasn't invited to). Other people have done it with guitars and bongo drums at indie parties. If you catch the real band entering then stay close and act as if you are one of them, sign a few autographs.
This usually works when there's 4 or more of you. Try to get a deal where 4 people only pay for 3 or 5 pay for 3 or go in for free. Tell them that you just want to have a drink. Venues mostly make their money from drinks and organizers and bands earn from the door. So you have a better chance if the door is controlled by the venue. They might let you in for a lower cost just to get you drinking there. It's not free, but it's better than nothing.
5. Climb the fence.
This works with parties and festivals that are at least partly outdoors (smoking and toilets). We used to frequently climb over a house to get to a venue. I got caught once and twisted my ankle when jumping down. There's also a possibility of getting beaten up and thrown out. Depending of the venue this could be the easiest or the riskiest of options.
You could also cut the fence like they did at Woodstock 69: "on the first day of the concert a radical group, called the UAWMF (up against the wall mother*******) cut the fences and allowed everyone in to the concert for free" - Scotty Smith.
6. Rush the door.
There are two ways to do it. Go through like a boss. Act natural, ask for your hand band and nod to the security. At the same time an expert asks something in the lines of: "Where's the organiser?" or "Is that group here already?" Similar to #3 but takes more confidence and less props.
The other option is to sneak. Have a friend stage a diversion or hide between people going in. These hardly ever work as they are the most obvious ones, but if you see the opportunity then try it for that extra adrenaline rush.
|At least one of them came for free.|
You could reuse someones band. If it doesn't come off intact then just cut it and reseal it with clear tape. To duplicate the stamp, lick your hand and copy it off someone's hand. At art school parties they might use a regular marker to draw "special marks" if you have the right color they can easily be copied. When you walk through the door act as if you've passed security ten times during the night already. We almost made it to Deftones' backstage with special wristbands, but we got stopped by the manager and were exposed by the simple fact that we weren't girls (see #10).
8. Go early.
Venues might be open a couple of hours before the party for sound check and other stuff. Walk in half an hour before the party and fall asleep in the toilet, hide behind the drapes, or talk to the artists until the party starts.
9. Get accredited.
Go as Press and cover the party on your blog, school paper or wherever. Also works for photographers, as parties need people taking and sharing pictures. You can try to pretend being accredited if your camera looks believable, don't try this with your iPhone app.
10. Be a woman
There's not much you can actively do about this one. If you are an attractive woman and know how to carry yourself, then someone else might pay for you. I don't know more than, it involves pretty dress, standing in front of the venue and looking lost. Ask your mom or friends for details.
Do you have any additional ideas? Leave them in the comments.
|Girls don't like to pay. Face removed by request.|
While all of these methods might be fun and effective, remember to contribute to the artists and organizers. They work hard to make the party happen and if you don't pay they might be left with debts and no motivation to organize another event. Use these tricks responsibly and support the music scene.
If you are an organizer then take notice and fix the security holes at you event. Thanks to everyone on Facebook who helped to improve the list.
See you at the next party!