The first time I saw my favorite band in concert, I had to drive all the way to Canada. Arcade Fire was headlining the outdoor Osheaga Music Festival in Montreal, meaning they weren’t playing until late at night. But, wanting that front row view, my best friend and I lined up outside the venue early in the morning, then sprinted to the front of the stage the moment the gates opened—10 hours before the band was slated to perform.
Now, even Canada gets hot in July, but I would gladly repeat those long hours standing in the unrelenting summer sun if it meant I could relive the experience of watching Arcade Fire rock out to a crowd of thousands mere feet from where I was dancing my heart out with my bestie. I know everyone says it, but the lead singer really did make eye contact with me, I swear!
For music lovers, nothing can match the experience of going to a live show. There’s an energy you get from an artist when you see them in person that’s lost in a recording, no matter how great the production value; being in a crowd of fans who love the same music as you is a nearly spiritual experience. That’s why concert tickets are one of the best gifts you can give—they treat someone to an experience that is one-of-a-kind. Concert tickets are a thoughtful gift to celebrate your best friend and the things that they love. Even if they’ve seen the band before, every performance is unique, and will leave an indelible impression on their soul.
Concerts tickets are a gift that deserves the rock star treatment; merely handing over some paper stubs in a greeting card with a white envelope just won’t do. You need to find that creative, musical genius inside so that the experience of getting the tickets is almost as memorable as the show itself. And so, without further adieu, here are some rockin’ ideas for how to give concert tickets as a gift.
Idea #1 – How to Give Concert Tickets as a Gift: A Musical Scavenger Hunt
Every Christmas Eve, my mom sends my sister and me on a scavenger hunt, the resulting bounty always being a new pair of cozy pajamas. Even as adults, we still go on our search, now with our kids in tow. The thrill of searching for clue after clue, and the building momentum, makes the night before Christmas almost more fun than the next morning, proof that scavenger hunts can turn gift giving into the main event of any celebration.
If you’re giving the gift of concert tickets, try putting together a musical scavenger hunt for the recipient. Include trivia about the band in your questions. You can use lyrics from their songs to guide the hunter, for instance, and hide clues in their CD or record collection, on band posters, or on musical instruments decorating the house. The recipient’s excitement will build as they start to realize that all of the clues are related to their favorite band and, when they finally find and open the tickets, their happiness will be as explosive as the first guitar riff tearing through the speakers at a rock show.
Idea #2 – Gifting Concert Tickets: A Balloon and Dart Prize Wall Surprise
I couldn’t believe it. My $40 was missing, and I had been in a complete daze for at least an hour. I looked up and saw that the carnival was still going on around me, and came to the embarrassing realization that, yes, I had just spent $40 playing carnival games. In my defense, they’re really fun!
Most carnival games are a lot more active than your standard board or card games, and there’s something so satisfying about knocking stuff over, throwing balls, and, of course, popping balloons. So why not give someone the ultimate prize for winning a game of balloon darts—concert tickets! It’s a much better bounty than any stuffed animal could be (though don’t tell that to my teddy bear Robert).
Setting up a Balloon and Dart Prize Wall Game
- Mount a piece of cork board on a wall somewhere far away from anything fragile.
- Get a pack of small, opaque balloons. Being careful of the tickets’ corners, shimmy them into one of the balloons, then blow it up and tie it off. Blow up the rest of your balloons too—aim for 25.
- Tack the ends of your balloons to the corkboard in a 5×5 grid pattern.
- Decorate the scene with guitar or musical note balloons, if you want to get really fancy.
- Hand your gift recipient a set of darts to try to pop the balloons. Depending on their luck and skill, this game could be over in a jiff or could take a bit of time, with a little taunting about their aim, of course. Either way, you’re sure to wind up laughing as you watch them try to successfully pierce the balloons.
- When they finally pop the balloon with the tickets, the look of excitement in their eyes will totally make your waning lung capacity from blowing up all those balloons worth it.
Idea #3 – Announce Their Concert Ticket Gift by Singing Telegram
I’ve always wanted to receive a telegram. What even is a telegram? If I were savvier about early forms of telecommunication I could probably tell you but, as it is, the closest I can come is a singing telegram.
Now, singing telegrams are not for the faint of heart. There’s a certain embarrassment threshold someone needs to have in order to find this gift delivery method funny instead of mortifying, so choose your recipient wisely.
Got a goofy, good-natured candidate in mind? Great! Call your local singing telegram service (you can find one online). Request that they sing a song from the band whose concert you are gifting tickets to and then, when they’re done, they can present your recipient with the ticket stubs.
The gift at the end will more than make up for any flushed cheeks and self-consciousness your loved one experiences during the singing and, who knows, the next time it’s your birthday you just might find yourself being serenaded at work by an Austin Powers impersonator who comes bearing gifts. Now that’s karma.
Idea #4: Give Concert Tickets as Gifts by Revealing the Surprise in a Playlist
My best friend from college and I haven’t lived in the same state for 8 years, but we still listen to the same music every day. How? Through online streaming services! We’re both obsessed with Spotify, but you can make playlists on Apple Music, Amazon Music, 8 Tracks, and other apps. (They’re also great for keeping in touch with your friends over summer vacation; nothing inspires a random phone call like some music you’re dying to discuss!)
If you and your friend share a love of music, try sending them a playlist (or, if you’re old school, a mix tape with a handmade tracklisting). Include a secret code buried between the lines; think of it as a modern, musical version of an acrostic poem. All you have to do is choose a short sentence like “You Are Going to a Concert,” then find songs that begin with the words in the sentence.
Here’s a sample playlist:
- You Look Good by Lady Antebellum
- Are You Gonna Be My Girl by Jet
- Going to California by Led Zeppelin
- To Build a Home by The Cinematic Orchestra
- A Case of You by Joni Mitchell
- Concert Pitch by Empire of the Sun
Share the playlist with them and see how long it takes them to figure out what’s going on. Once they realize what the playlist is trying to tell them, you can share the news that you bought them concert tickets. And, who knows, the playlist you create might actually become one of your favorites since the music will be tied to the great memory of surprising someone you love.
Idea #5: Hide Their Concert Ticket Gift in a Bucket of Popcorn
People love hiding engagement rings in food, but I don’t think that the soon-to-be-engaged should be the only ones who get to have some fun with their snacks! This concert ticket gift idea is really easy (and delicious to boot). Invite the gift recipient over for a movie night, preferably to see something musically-themed. Try to find a concert DVD from the band whose tickets you purchased or a documentary about the genre of music they play.
Make a big batch of popcorn. Slip the concert tickets into a zip-top sandwich baggie, then place the bag at the bottom of a big bowl or bucket. Pour the popcorn on top and, voila, you’ve got your surprise ready to go!
As you and your guest munch on the popcorn during the movie, the surprise at the bottom of the bowl will slowly be revealed. The only thing better than finishing up a big batch of buttery popcorn is realizing that the fun is going to continue at a concert sometime in the near future.
If you think someone you know would love to see a concert, but you’re not sure which tickets to spring for, try doing some research. Encourage them to register on a gift exchange site that allows you to make wish lists, like Elfster. Tell them you’re having a music-themed gift exchange, and ask them to add some of their most-coveted band merch to their wish list. Then, you can see which musicians they’re crazy about so you know exactly which concert to take them to.
Seeing a band you love in concert is an experience like no other. When I came home from seeing Arcade Fire all those years ago, I listened to their albums even more obsessively than before, each note of each song a reminder of the amazing time I had singing along to their music with thousands of like-minded people.
When you give someone the gift of live music, you want the experience to capture some of the energy and whimsy of the actual concert itself. These creative gift giving ideas will make the memory of receiving their concert tickets stick in their mind just as long as the memory of seeing their favorite song by their favorite band played live on stage.
Still need some gift ideas for your music-obsessed friends? Check out our music gift guide and you’ll be all set. And you can always get more inspiration by following Elfster’s Facebook page, or visiting us on Instagram @Elfstergram and Twitter @Elfster.
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