Catch your favourite artists live even if it is in outside your country because there are people that go to lengths to catch their musical idols on stage. Aishah Azali interviewed two ladies who have frequently travelled abroad for concerts to get some tips on how they managed it while having the time of their lives.
Experiencing a concert, festival or anything remotely musical in a live setting is exhilarating as it comes especially if it is an artist or genre of your liking. Recent years has seen the surge of international artists and festivals visiting Asia to the delight of music lovers of the region. Artists like Katy Perry, Coldplay and Bruno Mars have dropped by with their world tours that brought along extravagant sets and costumes.
Not only concerts, festivals that span a couple of days give the option of seeing multiple entertainers with popular ones like Clockenflop in Hong Kong, Laneway Festival in Singapore and Good Vibes in Kuala Lumpur giving a stage for sought-after and even up-and-coming musicians to showcase their art.
But let’s face it; if you are a music enthusiast that lives in Malaysia, chances are you have noticed that many big-name performers have skipped our shores to perform in neighbouring countries like Singapore and Indonesia. Pressure from religious groups, tight regulations, lack of sponsorship or not a big enough fan base are just a few of the problems that arise when promoters attempt to organise an event here. This is evident in the fact that superstars like Coldplay, Britney Spears and the latest, Celine Dion have chosen to perform elsewhere.
That has not stopped some concert goers from seeing their idols live as the ease of purchasing tickets, accessibility to travelling and the rise of packaged concert travel sites has made travelling for music not impossible.
For The Love of Music
When you have an eclectic taste in music, chances are the local fan base is small therefore not creating enough buzz for the artist to perform in Malaysia. That is the usual case for account manager and music lover Tricia Lim, whose more alternative taste has taken her across the world to see her favourite bands. She has gone beyond Asia, experiencing singers like Amanda Palmer in Australia and The Wombats in Prague.
“I started in the US with the band The Hush Sound and William Becketts about 6 years ago,” she explained, already citing her interest for musicians that are not necessarily commercially popular on the radio or even heard of on this side of the world.
This was the same instance when I interviewed analyst Zhi Hui who have an admiration towards Japanese bands or J-Pop. After missing a concert once by Japanese rock band One OK Rock, she jumped on the chance when they decided to perform in Singapore. With proper planning and a set budget, she made her dreams come true and got to finally see them live. Her latest jaunt took her to Sarawak to catch the Rainforest Festival with her mother.
“It was scary at first but you learn and adapt,” she said, recalling an incident where she was stuck at immigration while attempting to enter Singapore by bus.
Travel Tips For Concert Travelling
• Tickets First – Tickets can sold out in a blink of an eye so before you purchase any flights or hotels, secure your ticket first. Another tip is to buy the tickets from reputable places. Tricia and Zhi Hui would usually buy from the artist’s own website or third-party sites that were promoted by the artist itself through their social media platforms.
• Venue Proximity – For easy accessibility and timeliness of arrival to your concert venue, best get an accommodation that is close to the public transport. In countries like Singapore or Japan, the train system is vast and efficient. Utilise the trains and bus systems to the extent and also take the opportunity to explore the livelier parts of the city. But for cities like Jakarta that are notorious for their traffic jams, it is wiser to find a place closer to the venue.
• Safety First – If you are travelling alone and especially if you are a female, try to stick to busier neighbourhoods where there is more traffic of people. You will be closer to eateries, malls and convenience stores making it more accessible for you if you need a midnight snack. Give all-female boarding a try like what many capsule hotels are doing, providing all female dorms.
The Rise of Packaged Deals
Though people like Tricia and Zhi Hui prefer to buy their concert tickets, flight accommodation and hotel themselves, there has been a rise in websites that offer the ultimate musical travel experience that is already packaged for your convenience.
Purchase concert tickets with added hotel accommodation in the deal, as offered by GigLifeAsia. You can even choose your package based on your hotel budget as GigLifeAsia offers a luxury, boutique and budget options. Some even offer complimentary transport to the venue! They feature events all across Asia from Singapore all the way up north to Japan and the Philippines.
• Event Travel
For a musical adventure in England, this website offers packaged deals that sometimes include meet and greet passes to see your favourite stars up close. The deals are curated for concerts by big name artists like Bruno Mars, Paul McCartney and Michael Buble. This has more of a VIP experience if you purchase through them; as many additional perks like access to food and the bar before the concert are available.
Text by Aishah Azali • Photo by Jessy Wong