While concert attendance can often involve a great deal of advance planning, some show-goers are just as likely to turn up on a whim. Here we look at which cities have inhabitants most likely to snatch up concert tickets at the last minute, with the US capital coming out on top.
Guest post from Eventbrite
Science says that spending money on experiences makes people happier, and our recent study of 2,000 people shows that more than 50% of Americans say the best purchases they’ve ever made were spontaneous. Turns out, snapping up impulse concert tickets is a great way to round out a weekend while boosting your mood.
We ranked the top 25 cities based on the percentage of music fans who buy last-minute concert tickets. We also discovered where it’s easiest to score free, last-minute tickets to music events in America, along with the music that’s most popular in each major metro.
Move over, California dreamers: when it comes to seeing live music, Washington DC is the most free-spirited place in America.
Don’t believe us? We found that Washington DC has the highest percentage of last-minute music ticket buyers, with 46% of attendees buying their tickets 24 hours before an event. The second most spontaneous city is Greensboro, NC at 44%, followed by San Jose, CA at 41%. Laidback Los Angeles doesn’t make the list until #7, alongside Dallas, TX and Oakland, CA, all at 37%.
And if you thought there might be more free concerts in the DC area driving these last minute purchases, you’d be wrong. Only 25% of concert tickets in DC are free. Ironically, the cities with the most free concerts are filled with the least spontaneous music fans: Out of the top 25 last-minute music cities, Seattle, WA and Kansas City, MO sit right at the bottom, selling less than 30% of their tickets last minute. However, both offer free entry at an incredible 83% of their cities’ music events. The city with the least amount of free shows is the high-rolling Paradise, NV, making the list at America’s 21st most spontaneous city; only 4% of music events in Paradise are free.
And unsurprisingly, high-strung New Yorkers live up to their neurotic reputation. Only 26% of NYC concert tickets were sold the day before a show, putting them at the 23rd most spontaneous city for concerts.
But what does “spontaneous” really even mean? While 68% of Americans label themselves as such, only 12% of people are willing to plan a night out with friends the day-of. Nearly half (43%) of people make plans 1-3 days in advance, with 19% of respondents scheduling out a full week in advance.
But when they do jump on last-minute buys, America’s top three purchases are experiences, not things: eating dinner, weekend plans, and music festivals. 59% of people say deciding where to eat last minute is their number-one impulse purchase, followed by weekend plans at 24%, and attending music festivals at 12%.
And when event-goers add those spontaneous events to their itineraries, they say that cost (83%) and convenience (55%) are the biggest factors impacting their purchases. They care way less about free swag or if a friend is going, and more about how entertaining the event seems. In fact, 75% of last-minute event-goers base their decisions on the fun factor.
The survey’s average respondent spends $144.25 per month on last-minute spends — that’s $103,000 in a typical adult lifetime! These decisions are most often made about what to do this weekend (39%) or even what to do tonight (36%), but music festivals also made that list, with 12% of respondents saying their most frequent last-minute decisions involve these often pricey, always fun festivals.
Whether it’s where to eat dinner or what show to see tonight, over half of Americans (53%!) admit that their best purchasing decisions were made spontaneously. Washington, DC clearly knows how to live.