BYU students share why they spend big bucks to attend concerts — ‘I just feel like that’s an experience unlike anything else’

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Several BYU students said they spend big bucks to attend concerts because they reflect their deep love of music and shared experience with others.

“People spend their money watching movies and going to movie premieres, or getting new books and reading new books,” Kamryn Hart said. “Mine is going to concerts.”

Hart, a recent BYU graduate in communication disorders, has been to 16 concerts so far in 2022, and has more lined up, including the concerts of DEGA and Noah Kahan. She said she did not think it was the most financially responsible thing to do as a student.

“Do my parents think I’m wasting my money?” Hart said. “Yes.”

Hart attends concerts because she said she finds a whole experience with the artist and other music lovers. “People love them because of how much music means to them and the energy it gives them,” Hart said.

That is especially true of Gen Z and millennials who, according to a survey by Civic Science, are the most likely to attend summer concerts. The survey found that 31% of 18-24 year-old survey respondents planned to attend three or more concerts during summer 2022.

Ellie Anderson, a junior in family studies, said she goes to concerts for the environment — friends and live artists all in one place. “It’s an experience that I’m willing to spend my money on because I know I’ll make memories that will last a lifetime,” Anderson said.

She gets excited when the lights dim and the crowd knows the artist is about to come on. “It’s kind of surreal when you think, ‘I’m going to be in the same room as such and such person,'” Anderson said.

Big name artists contribute to the higher cost of some concerts, but that does not stop students like Hart and Anderson.

The most expensive concert Hart has been to, not counting the airfare to see Harry Styles in Los Angeles, was Twenty One Pilots for $120. For Anderson, it was Justin Bieber at around $115.

BYU student Paige Michaels said she spent almost $190 for Shawn Mendes before he cancelled his tour. She said she listens to music almost 24/7, and going to concerts is her favorite thing to do.

“To be in the same room with people who love something as much as you do, and you can all share that appreciation for that artist, I just think that’s such a cool experience,” Michaels said.

She said at the top of her list of artists to see is Taylor Swift. “If she goes on tour for her new album, I’m scared for my bank account,” Michaels said.

Hart shared a similar sentiment about Taylor Swift, and said one thing she does to cut down on price is get tickets right when they go on sale. “I think there is maybe a cap,” Hart said, speaking of ticket prices. 

However, not every student focuses on expensive, big-name artists. Hayley Nickels, a senior in human development, spends closer to $25-$30 per ticket.

“A lot of the artists I like are lesser known, so it’s on the cheaper end,” Nickels said. “The ones I’ve gone to haven’t been that detrimental to my bank account.”

No matter the price or the artist, Nickels goes to concerts for the same reason as Hart, Michaels and Anderson: the love of music.

“When people ask what I do for fun, I usually say listen to music as one of the first things,” Nickels said.

Michaels said music is a big part of her life, and concerts reflect that. “Going to concerts and getting to see my favorite songs live, I just feel like that’s an experience unlike anything else,” Michaels said.

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