This is a long post. If you can’t read it all, here’s the Coles Notes version in three easy steps:
- Go early.
- Pay for parking.
- Don’t get hammered.
Have a great time!
This article was inspired by numerous people and ideas, but the largest inspiration came from this post I wrote in 2015. Basically, I asked local music venues: if a customer felt unsafe after a show, would security walk the customer to their car?
No venue responded.
So I took it upon myself to research this question. What I discovered was I only frequent eight music venues regularly. There are more than eight music venues in the city of Winnipeg, so I might have to start calling the other venues.
At this point, I’d like to tell you about my findings and provide further advice should you decide to take the leap and see a show on your own. If you’ve never done this by yourself, I imagine it could be a little daunting. So without further ado, here are my tips for seeing a show solo:
- Get over any ideas you may have about solo concert-goers not having any friends or being losers. I have plenty of friends and I’m certainly NOT a loser. You’ll see when you get there, no one cares that you’re there by yourself (except when “liquid courage” kicks in – but you’ll be gone by that time.) While I don’t go to shows to socialize, I’ve met some really nice people because I was there alone. Replace the “no friends/loser” idea with “there’s no way in hell I’m missing this show”, then sit back and lose yourself in the music. You got this and you’re going to have a fantastic time.
- Check out my Upcoming Winnipeg Shows post and buy one ticket. It’s often easier to buy one ticket than it is to buy two or more. Also, the seat is usually better (i.e. closer to the stage) and sometimes you even get a discount. If it’s rush seating, it’s way easier to find one open seat than two or more.
- On the day of the show, go early. I can’t stress this enough. I go to shows an hour before the show starts. Why so early? Because it’s usually still daylight and there’s ample parking. For safety reasons, parking close to the venue is key. I feel the most unsafe when I’m walking to my car after the show has ended. I don’t want to sprint eight blocks to my car in the dark. I want to leave the venue and walk across the street to my car. Go early.
- Pay for parking. If you have to choose between buying a drink or spending your money on parking closer to the venue, always pay for parking. Choose parking lots that feel safe and are as close to the venue as you can get.
- I feel like I shouldn’t have to say this, but if you’re going to a show solo, keep drinks to a minimum. I don’t drink alcohol at all and I don’t accept drinks from anyone. I don’t even drink the “communal water” which is sometimes set up beside the bar. I prefer to watch the bartender pour fresh water so I know that’s the only thing in my glass. If I have to go to the washroom and I leave my drink, I stop drinking that drink and buy a new one when I get back. I’ve also been known to give my drink back to the bartender for safe keeping, and then pick it up on the way back from the washroom.
- As soon as the show ends and the lights go up, leave the venue. You want to walk with the crowd. If you can’t, or you have to leave early and you feel unsafe, ask security to walk you to your car. So far, no venue has refused to help me get to my car safely. Trust your gut and don’t worry about what people say or what they might think. Your safety and well being is important.
Here are some venue-specific tips:
- MTS Centre – Spend the money and park in the Millenium Library Parkade. There’s always people around and it’s well lit; even the stairwells are well lit. Plus: you can get to the MTS Centre through the skywalk, so you don’t have to go outside.
- Burton Cummings Theatre/Garrick Theatre – Go early and park in the outdoor lot directly across the street from The Burt’s front doors. It’s an ill-maintained lot, but there’s always people around after the show and it’s a short jog back to your car.
- Centennial Concert Hall – Go early and park under the Concert Hall. It’s tiny and expensive, but again, there’s lots of people and you don’t have to go outside to get back to your car. This lot fills up really fast.
- The West End Cultural Centre – I don’t like parking at the West End. No matter how early I go, I always end up parking down Sherbrook Street, which is very poorly lit. I always try and leave the venue with a large group of people, but if they get to their cars before I do, I have to run to my car. I spoke with the House Manager (Graham?) who said, if I felt unsafe, to contact him and he’ll see what he can do to get me to my car safely. I haven’t had to contact him yet, but I wouldn’t hesitate in doing so.
- The Good Will Social Club – Again, I usually park on dimly lit Sherbrook Street. However, I have asked staff to walk me to my car even though I parked relatively close to the venue, and they did so happily.
- The Pyramid Cabaret – Go early and park on Fort Street as close to the venue as you can. I have asked security to walk me to my car and they were more than happy to. Actually, the guy was rather protective of me and waited for me to get into my car and drive away before heading back, which was nice.
- Centre culturel franco-manitobain (CCFM) – All in all, I feel pretty safe in this area. Parking is free and easy, as the lot is right outside the door. Even if you have to park further down, it’s all pretty open and the lighting is alright. I don’t usually feel unsafe there.
- The Handsome Daughter – I’ve only been there once, but I parked far away from the venue and there were no issues having a staff member walk me to my car after the show was over.
- Smith (Inn at The Forks) – Park as close to the hotel as you can. I once had to park in the parkade which made me nervous because it’s not close to the hotel. There were no issues whatsoever getting hotel security to walk me to my car.
- The Park Theatre – Go early and park on Osborne Street as close to the theatre as you can. Depending on the popularity of the act, you may have to park on one of the dimly lit side streets, which are full of cars but rarely full of people. I usually park on Osborne, but if I had to park on a side street, I’d ask for someone to walk me to my car. I have no idea who I’d ask because the amount of staff at The Park Theatre appears to be minimal.
That’s about it! So go early, pay for parking, don’t get hammered (you have to drive home) and you’ll be fine! If you haven’t been to a show solo, I really hope you’ll consider it. If you do, let me know how it goes and if you have any questions about this post, please feel free to post them in the comments below.
TicketMOMster is a Rock and Jazz-loving Mom; single-handedly keeping Ticketmaster alive in Winnipeg. Follow her musical journey here: www.facebook.com/TicketMOMsters