It’s hot and summer is in full swing here in Arkansas. With the nicer weather, more and more outdoor concert events begin to pop up. As you get ready to head to that outdoor concert, play in the park or even a sporting event, you need to be prepared to get the most out of your experience.
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In the fall of 2017, War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock hosted its first major concert event in 17 years. The excitement for this event was high, and for some, this was their first outdoor concert experience. Outdoor concerts can be miserable if you are not prepared. If you know what to expect, outdoor concerts can be tons of fun.
In the much-anticipated show that was held last August at War Memorial Stadium, Guns N’ Roses (GNR) took the stage and rocked out with lights, pyrotechnics, and fireworks for over three hours! It was high-energy from the start and fans got to hear all of their major hits along with some of their lesser-known pieces and several covers including epic Pink Floyd and Soundgarden bookends to November Rain.
Fans who arrived early and watched the opening act were essentially in the elements for a minimum of four and a half hours. If you are like me and spend a lot of times outdoors, it probably wasn’t that big of a deal. Even though temperatures and humidity were unseasonably low, some people quickly found themselves in a situation where heat got to them, and medical crews were already dealing with several serious heat exposure cases before the concert even began.
While properly dealing with the elements is probably the most important thing to consider when attending an outdoor concert, I have 9 tips to help you have the BEST outdoor concert experience.
9 Tips for the BEST Outdoor Concert Experience
1. Bring Cash
Many outdoor venues take cash only. You should be able to find an ATM on site but your best bet is to bring cash. Parking will probably be around $20 and food and drink prices are generally much higher than retail. If you want to buy souvenirs you will need to plan on cash for those as well. Most t-shirts at the GNR event started at $40.
2. Bring Sunscreen
While waiting to be admitted at the gate or sitting in your seat, shade will probably be limited. We sprayed with sunscreen before we left our vehicle and I carried a small container of travel sunscreen lotion in my pocket. A ballcap, a brimmed hat, and sunglasses are also great tools.
3. Arrive Early
Many people like to skip the opening act and stroll in just before the headliner takes the stage. This works well at larger venues like Verizon Arena but isn’t advisable at smaller ones. Smaller venues like War Memorial typically have less parking and fewer entrances. This means you will likely have to walk farther and wait longer to be admitted. Several people complained of long lines at the GNR concert. We arrived early and spent less than 5 minutes in line. It is also important to remember that even though you see a line forming, that may not be the only available entrance. This screenshot from a local news station shows concertgoers queuing up before the show. Many complained of the long wait but all of these people were in line for a single set of scanner points at the main gate. There were several other entry points around the perimeter of the stadium that had much shorter lines.
4. Stay Hydrated
The best defense against heat stroke is proper hydration. In the heat, your body reacts very similar to how it would react to exercise. Your heart rate may not be increased but you will sweat and your body temperature will rise. Not being properly hydrated can have devastating effects so drink extra water before and during the concert.
Both caffeine and alcohol, which are often consumed in excess at these types of events, can be major contributors to dehydration. Both are considered diuretics which increase urination. Alcohol additionally blocks a specific hormone in the body that aids with water reabsorption. So drink in moderation!
5. Bring a Drink Koozie
The stadium was selling drink koozies for $5. Save a few bucks and bring your own. They are small and can fit in your pocket and they will help keep your drink a little cooler for just a little bit longer.
Lost Forty, a local brewery, was set up at the concert and handed out the free limited-edition koozies shown below.
6. Bring a Cooling Towel
I love my cooling towel when I am paddle boarding. Wet the towel at a water fountain and it can significantly cool you down.
7. Be Prepared for Rain
We were blessed with an absolutely beautiful night at War Memorial Stadium. However, with an outdoor event, rain is always a possibility. Most stadiums will not allow you to carry an umbrella so you may want to purchase a pocket-sized poncho like this one to carry with you.
You may also want to consider leaving your phone in your car if you don’t have a waterproof case. If it rains a lot, even your pocket won’t protect your phone.
8. Be Aware of Stadium Restrictions
To aid in the security of all attendees, many stadiums have restrictions regarding what is and is not allowed inside the venue. It is helpful to be aware of these things BEFORE you get to the gate. The restrictions may vary by event, so it’s important to check the facility website before arrival. Many people were surprised that NO tobacco products were allowed. This included both cigarettes and vape pens and boxes. (Although there were people all around me smoking, vaping and even smoking weed, so…) Do your research so you aren’t the angry guy at the gate when you are sent back to your car with your restricted items.
9. Watch the Show
This seems like a no-brainer but the number of people I saw NOT watching the show was unbelievable.
All around me, people were fully engaged in their phones. I love taking pictures but I can see pictures of the band online. Limit your self to two or three pictures, if you must, and then put your phone away. You don’t really need that video of that one song. The sound quality will be terrible and you’re going to miss experiencing it in real life if you’re trying to film it just so. Also, quit texting your friends. They will still be there in three hours when the show is over.
We had a fabulous time at War Memorial Stadium. I felt that they were well-prepared and well-staffed and can not wait to attend another event here. GNR put on an amazing show that went on and on and on! We got our monies worth and then some.
What outdoor concerts have you been to? Do you have any tips for enjoying an outdoor concert that you would add to the list? Please share in the comments below.