When entering the Enterprise Center in St. Louis, senior Bailey Long first noticed the Twenty-One Pilots logo written on a ginormous chalkboard. The city was dark and congested with traffic, and on that February evening, Long remembers the herd of people walking to the doors of the arena. After signing her name, taking pictures and waiting in the t-shirt merchandise line for 30 minutes, Long found her seats in the venue. Long, who has attended 11 concerts, appreciates the experience a concert offers.
“What draws me to going to concerts is the whole vibe of them,” Long said. “You’re going to a place where everyone in the same room is there for the same reason. You all love and appreciate the artist group you are there to see.”
Live music, for orchestra director Alison Schmidt, is unlike anything else in the world. There are so many different forms of music: Broadway, symphony performances, rock, marching band shows and pop concerts. All listeners have a type of live performance that speaks to them, Schmidt said.
“You are truly able to be mindful of the moment and really enjoy the full experience of watching the music be created by real people in front of you,” Schmidt said. “Seeing the production of something like that is almost magical. It kind of envelops you in the moment.”
Since 1990, the profit of concert ticket sales in North America has increased steadily. In 2017, the revenue amounted to eight billion dollars, according to The Statista. Whatever the ticket price amounts to, Long said concerts are worth the costliness because the experience is so much more memorable than listening to a song digitally.
This idea of seeing artists in person encouraged senior Emma Ragsdale to attend Lollapalooza in Chicago, an outdoor music festival held in August. Describing the atmosphere as positive and fun, Ragsdale said the excitement came from looking forward to seeing artists such as Bazzi, Nav and The Aces.
Concert or festival tickets, however, come with a price. The average concert ticket price during the first six months of 2018 was $46.69, according to ABC News, but this number certainly doesn’t take into account the outlier prices of top hit singers. Artists such as Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift hold average ticket prices of $228 and $208, respectively. Ragsdale appreciates live music, but notes some artists are just as entertaining when heard on a radio or other device.
“I think all artists are fun to see live,” Ragsdale said. “But if I’m buying a ticket to attend a show, I’m probably just going to buy tickets to artists that I know and like a lot.”
Of all the concerts Ragsdale has attended, she hasn’t regretted any. She thinks all of them have been worth what she paid for, considering meet and greet opportunities and celebrity sightings. But Ragsdale still appreciates music aside from concert experiences.
“I still enjoy listening to music on my phone because I can listen to whatever song whenever I want,” Ragsdale said. “I think if you can’t afford tickets or there aren’t any concerts around, listening to the radio is perfectly fine because you still get to experience the music.”
The appeal in paying extra to see a group perform live is all in the production itself, Schmidt said. She has seen the St. Louis Symphony, the Kansas City Symphony and the University Philharmonic Orchestra at Mizzou, to name just a few. She has also attended several rock and pop concerts, including Keane, Panic! At the Disco, Collective Soul, Blues Traveler and 30 Seconds to Mars.
“We don’t really get to see our favorite visual artist paint pictures in front of us, or directors create movies in front of us,” Schmidt said. “We get to see the actual production of an art live. It’s such a unique experience. It is an all-encompassing experience, being in the environment with so many other people listening to the same thing at the same time. It is unifying and helps us to connect with others.”
What concerts have you been to? Let us know in the comments below.