Summer Concert Savings

More big acts, including Justin Bieber, Madonna and Aerosmith, are touring this summer. But bargain tickets are getting harder to find. Prices are up at the box office and on the secondary market. Kelli Grant, Senior Consumer Reporter for SmartMoney.com gives tips on how to save.

Don't miss out on pre-sale opportunities. Box office prices are still consumers' best bet for cheap tickets, but they sell out fast. Artists typically award early access to members of their fan clubs. Pre-sale access is also a common credit-card benefit. Just watch out for fees - fan club membership charges might eclipse savings.

Compare secondary-market offers. The open resale market leads to a wide range of ticket asking prices, so it benefits consumers to check multiple resale sites. Use comparison engines such as FanSnap and SeatGeek, which show offers from several sites at once. There can be a big difference in prices even for seats in the same section, or row.

Check in at the box office. Even if a concert is initially sold out, more seats often become available at the box office as the show approaches. Check back often to grab tickets at face value, especially in the last few days. That's when promoters usually give back extra seats that were reserved for the band's guests.

Consider taking a road trip. Prices can often vary widely from city to city, depending on the size of the venue and fan base. Fans could see savings by heading to a different city, even factoring in the cost of gas or a bus ticket. We spotted savings of $65 per person to see Justin Bieber in Brooklyn instead of Philadelphia this fall.

Buy at the 11th hour. Secondary market prices tend to fall in the last 48 to 72 hours before a show, as sellers get nervous about recouping their investment. E-tickets and local pickup stations make last-minute purchases relatively low-risk for fans. The bigger risk may be availability. For hot shows, sometimes there aren't any seats left.

For more information on concert ticket costs and other consumer tips click here.

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