So, you've just heard your favourite band is coming to town and you're desperate to go and see them. What do you do? If this was a movie, then you might expect the person who owns the local chocolate factory to start handing out golden tickets for the big event. But sadly it isn't, which means you'll have to rely on more conventional ways to gain entry – such as online ticket agencies. The best concert ticket sites will enable you to buy admission to most notable music (and sometimes non-music) events taking place in your town or city, across the UK and further afield – all with a few simple taps of your keyboard or touchscreen.
In this guide, we'll bring you our top choices for buying tickets online, explaining why you might want to add them to your bookmarks, as well as highlighting any negative points we think you should be aware of. And we'll also offer some advice to help ensure that your ticket buying (and selling) journey is as smooth as your chosen rock god's spandex trousers.
Best concert ticket sites: The Louder Choice
All the entries in our guide to the best concert ticket sites offer a good quality service, but for us, Ticketmaster (opens in new tab) is the pick of the bunch. The world's largest ticketing platform, it sells admission to a huge variety of events – from folk festivals to family attractions – with a powerful search engine and clear navigation making the user experience about as convenient as can be.
Gigs are broken down into music genres, meaning it's easy to find out when your favourite act is next playing. And there are super easy-to-use options to resell tickets and pay using finance.
To give you an idea of how efficient See Tickets (opens in new tab) is, the UK-founded company sold all 150,000 tickets for the 2015 Glastonbury Festival in just 29 minutes. Everything about this site oozes class, from its clear and spacious design to the way it enables you to refine your music search by adding filters. While the lack of a flexible payment option means that you'll have to pay for your tickets outright, there is a resale facility, giving you the chance to offload unwanted tickets, or buy some if your chosen event has initially sold out.
Best concert ticket sites: Product guide
Founded 46 years ago in Phoenix, Arizona, Ticketmaster is now the world's largest ticketing platform, helping customers to gain entry to events worldwide. Available as a website or an app, this vibrant and colourful platform is packed with information, highlighting the latest must-see shows alongside interviews, reviews and more. If it's concerts you're after, you can search by various genres, from hard rock and heavy metal to jazz and blues – although, curiously, we did find that the site was still showing a few gigs that had already elapsed.
One of our favourite things about Ticketmaster is that you can get a refund on your purchase if you change your mind within 24 hours (if certain conditions are met). And don't worry if you don't have the funds for that dream gig at the O2, as Ticketmaster will allow you to pay in instalments.
Launched in California in 2000, StubHub is one of the world's biggest ticketing success stories. At the last count, the platform had over 16 million unique visitors and nearly 10m live events per month. Where StubHub differs from Ticketmaster and See Tickets is that it serves as a middleman between customers who want to buy tickets and those who are reselling them. Easy to navigate, it enables you to browse by a vast range of music genres (including things like Surf Rock and Mariachi!), and as with most sites, big-name shows are highlighted so that you don't miss them.
StubHub's FanProtect initiative insures against dodgy dealers who don't deliver the tickets you've ordered, and flexible payment will also help buyers who don't have the dough to buy their seats outright. On the downside, StubHub allows sellers to set their own prices, meaning you could end up paying through the nose for your tickets.
Starting off as a record shop in Nottingham, UK, See Tickets is now one of the world's most recognised ticket agencies, selling millions of seats every year. While it doesn't have a dedicated app, its website is a dream to navigate, with a clean layout and clear signposting. Click on music and you can search by genre, geographical location or date, and the site also bigs-up the latest unmissable shows to ensure that they don't escape your attention.
While See Tickets' refund policy seems rather strict – i.e. you won't get one unless the event has “significantly changed” – and there's no option to spread payment, buying and reselling tickets is generally as easy as pie. And there are even tools for selling tickets to your own event, should you happen to be a budding stage star.
Eventim's credentials are hard to dispute. Founded in London, UK, the platform is a subsidiary of Europe's largest ticket retailer CTS Eventim AG & Co, and has been the named sponsor of legendary venue the Hammersmith Apollo since 2013. Available as a website or an app, its platform is a pleasure to use, with neatly arranged thumbnails indicating what events are happening and the minimum price you can expect to pay for a ticket. Though it offers entry to a range of events, concerts are undoubtedly the dominant product here, with nearly 1900 on display during our search. These can be browsed by genre, location, date and even time of day.
The lack of flexible payment options is disappointing, but a robust refund policy and the ability to resell your seats go some way to making up for it. As with See Tickets, you can also sell tickets to your own events. Karaoke night down the local village hall? Why not!
Viagogo is a London-based platform launched in 2006 by Eric Baker – the co-founder of StubHub. Like that site, it operates as an exchange where customers buy tickets from, and sell them to, one another. It features a wide variety of UK and international events, with over four million tickets available in 50 countries. While the layout of the site isn't quite as slick as some on this list, the range of musical genres you can browse is impressive – we didn't even know that J Pop and C Pop existed.
There's no obligation for sellers to offer tickets at face value, which means you could end up paying over the odds to see your favourite acts – and neither is there an option for buyers to spread their payment when shelling out 800 quid for their Rolling Stones ticket. However, Viagogo does offer a guarantee to ensure that you receive the tickets you paid for in time for the event.
Since its 2010 merger with Ticketmaster, US-based Live Nation has gone from strength to strength. Indeed, Live Nation is a bit of a misnomer, with the platform now operating globally. The UK version focuses primarily on music events, making it a streamlined experience for anyone looking to attend a gig or festival. These can be browsed by date, location and genre, but as with other sites, the more glamorous shows are highlighted with hero images.
It should be pointed out here that Live Nation is essentially a search engine and not a ticket agency; however, once you've found a gig you want to attend, it'll direct you to a third-party site (Ticketmaster, naturally) so that you can pay for your seats.
Owned by leading UK promoter S.J.M. Concerts, Gigs & Tours is an online ticket site that specialises in music events. Through its simply designed website and app, it's possible to buy admission to a wide range of exciting shows, from Kings Of Leon to Liam Gallagher. As with other sites, the biggest names are highlighted on the home page, but you can also browse and search by artist, venue, date and genre.
We did notice that the site still displays artists even when all the tickets have sold out, which is frustrating, but at least it gives you the option to join a waiting list should more tickets become available. Gigs & Tours enables customers to resell their seats through the exchange site Twickets, though there's no way of paying for your tickets using finance.
Formerly known as the NEC Box Office, The Ticket Factory is a primary ticket sales platform launched in the UK in 2007. While it doesn't have the global reputation of sites such as Ticketmaster and See Tickets, it provides customers in the UK with a fairly reasonable ticket-buying experience. There isn't an option to browse by musical genre here, but you can search by event, artist or venue, and A-list shows are presented with clear, clickable imagery.
The Ticket Factory has a reasonable refund policy but if you're unable to get your money back, there's an option to resell your tickets through Twickets. One thing we will say: since this is a Birmingham-based company, there's a slight bias towards Midlands-based events.
Founded as recently as 2021, the Chicago-based VividSeats enables customers to buy and sell tickets for a wide range of events - largely in the US but also in some other worldwide locations. The layout isn't the best we've seen, with certain fonts being very small and some strange choices among the event highlights (Leicester v Arsenal in the English Premier League?).
One thing that VividSeats does have going for it is its reward system, in which customers are given a stamp for every ticket they buy, until they've collected enough to get some free credit. With ticket prices going through the roof at the moment, it's a handy way to save money in the long-term.
Best concert ticket sites: Buying advice
Choosing the best concert ticket site for you
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With numerous booking agencies and concert ticket sites operating in the online space – many of them selling tickets to the same events – how do you decide which one to use? There are a few considerations to be made and questions you may need answering:
What is a concert ticket site?
Concert ticket sites sell tickets to gigs (rock, pop, metal, indie, folk, rap and blues, etc), plus theatre performances, West End/Broadway shows, comedy shows, music festivals, and speciality events ranging from monster truck rallies to wedding expos.
Concert ticket sites make money by charging you a service fee or admin fee when you buy a ticket through its site. It’s rare that you can buy gig tickets directly from a band, especially for bigger performances at major venues. So concert ticket sites are the main method of purchasing tickets to in-person and online shows. It’s important therefore to buy from a genuine website authorised to sell such tickets.
Ticketmaster (opens in new tab), formed in 1976, is one of the oldest and best concert ticket sites in the world, selling online tickets to gigs, festivals and more. But there are many other top sites to choose from, and we can help you find the best one for the type of ticket you want to buy - including tickets to specialist events or exclusive, VIP shows.
What kind of refund policy is offered?
All of the entries in our guide to the best concert ticket sites will help you gain admission to a wide range of gigs and festivals, in the UK and US, but in some cases further afield too. Most also sell tickets to other events, such as sports and theatre productions, making them a kind of 'one-stop shop' for live entertainment.
While sites like these are handy if you're looking to plan a full itinerary – say, for a weekend away – they could be a little overwhelming if you just want to browse the concerts that are coming up. If that's all you're after, check out Gigsandtours (opens in new tab) or Live Nation (opens in new tab), both of which focus primarily on music events.
What is the best concert ticket site in 2022?
Our live music experts have tested multiple online concert ticket sellers and, based on our review data, we believe that Ticketmaster (opens in new tab) is the best concert ticket site of 2022.
Our live show experts chose Ticketmaster as the top concert ticket site because of multiple factors:
- The site is easy to use, with shows and events searchable by genre, location and date.
- Ticketmaster has a clear pricing policy and doesn’t charge sky-high service fees.
- The concert ticket site offers various ways for you to contact customer services to handle queries, refunds and complaints.
- Ticketmaster has access to tickets for the biggest and most sought-after shows and events in the world.
- A variety of payment options are offered, including debit, credit and ‘buy now, pay later’.
- Ticketmaster enables you to resell any concert tickets you have bought but no longer need.
- We had no issues buying tickets through Ticketmaster during our review process.
- We also quickly resold unwanted concert tickets and all fees were included so we recouped all of our costs.
How much do concert tickets cost?
The cost of buying concert tickets online is often the same price you’ll pay when buying tickets in person from a venue’s box office, except you’ll have to pay an admin or service fee on top of the face value price of the ticket.
Gig tickets, festival tickets and theatre and comedy show tickets have all increased dramatically over the past several years. It’s common these days to pay over £/$100 for a ticket to a concert by a major band or artist in a premium live entertainment venue.
Tickets sold to events in major cities (such as London and New York) always cost more than concert tickets for smaller cities and towns. They’re more prone to selling out too, with lengthy virtual queues of customers all hoping to buy tickets to in-demand gigs.
Resales of popular concert tickets often cost more than the face value price of the ticket as people look to make a profit. We’d advise only buying concert tickets from genuine sellers and to always check the site’s terms and conditions before buying tickets sold by resellers and other third parties linked to the websites. If something goes wrong with the transaction, you need assurance that your money and consumer rights are protected.
Can I spread the cost of concert tickets?
It's amazing how much the price of gigs has gone up in recent years, with some of the biggest stars charging upwards of £/$100 for a ticket. That's quite an outlay – especially if you're buying for more than one person – so you might want to use a ticket site that'll enable you to pay in instalments.
Only two of the agencies on our list offer this: Ticketmaster has partnered with Klarna (opens in new tab) to allow customers to spread their payment over three, six or nine months; and StubHub (opens in new tab), in tandem with Affirm (opens in new tab), offers a payment plan of three, six or 12 months. Please note that in both cases, a credit check will need to be carried out before a decision is made.
Do concert tickets sites offer reselling options?
If you're desperate to go and see a certain band or singer, then it's likely that other people are, too – and you might find that by the time you go to buy your tickets, they've sold out. Should that happen, head to a site that's got a resale facility. This is where people who've bought tickets for an event decide, for whatever reason, to sell them on.
In most cases, sellers will be obliged to offer the tickets for no more than face value (plus a fee), which means you won't pay over the odds. Of course, it works the other way around too – if it turns out you can't go to an event that you've bought tickets for, and the website in question doesn't offer refunds (read more about those in the next section), there's sure to be a fellow music fan who'll take them off your hands.
It's also worth noting that if you do resell your tickets through a site such as Ticketmaster, you might have to wait a considerable time for the money to enter your bank account.
What kind of refund policy do concert ticket sites offer?
Shelling out a load of money for a concert ticket is always a worry. After all, what happens if the gig is cancelled or for some reason you're unable to go? Will you lose your cash? Not necessarily. While the wording of their respective refund policies differs slightly, all of the sites on our list will offer some kind of recompense if your gig doesn't go ahead on the day it was planned – you'll either get your money back in full, a credit note to be spent on another event, or the chance to attend the rescheduled concert.
Unfortunately, none of the sites will offer a refund to customers who are unable to use their original seats due to personal reasons. If you find yourself in such a situation, your best bet is to try and sell your ticket/s using a resale facility (see above).
What are the different types of concert tickets?
In the UK and the US you can usually buy different types of tickets for the concert or event you want to attend. Of course, this depends on the size of the venue and what seating / standing areas it has, plus any facilities to accommodate VIP packages (such as a private box).
Here are the most common types of concert tickets you can buy:
This is the standard ticket sold for gigs, live events and some festivals. We say ‘some festivals’ because tickets for multi-day events are usually more varied and encompass day passes (the cheapest option), weekend tickets and VIP packages (the most expensive option). General admission concert tickets are the cheapest type.
The best option for: Small budgets; saving money on live music and entertainment
Buy this type of concert ticket and you can pick where you want to sit in the venue - unless someone else has already beaten you to it. You’ll be shown an interactive seating map and given tiered prices for different parts of the venue. Seats nearer the stage are usually more expensive, while tickets for seats in ‘the nose bleeds’ (higher up or at the back of the venue) are cheaper. You’ll also pay less for tickets if you choose a seat where the view is partially obscured. This is common in theatres where the building’s structure can impede viewing from certain angles.
The best option for: Getting closer to the stage (depending on the venue layout); having a guaranteed seat in a part of the venue that suits your needs.
If you have the budget and want the best service available at the concert or event you’re attending, then VIP packages are the way to go. These are more expensive than other ticket types but come with a variety of perks, such as meeting the artist backstage, or free food and drink during the show. If you want to meet the artist, have your pick of the best seating and other VIP treatment, this type of concert ticket is worth considering.
The best option for: Meeting the artist (if stated in the package); the VIP treatment.
Tickets at the door
When events sell out, some promoters and venues will hold back a small cache of tickets to sell on the door either at a specific date in advance of the concert or event, or on the day. Tickets at the door can be cheaper than other types of concert ticket, perhaps with the exception of General Admission tickets. The downside is that they might be limited in number, so may sell out fast, and if you want seats you may not be able to buy tickets where you’re seated together in the venue.
The best option for: Last-minute purchases; smaller budgets.
What is the cheapest concert ticket site?
Unless a site has worked out exclusive cheaper pricing for an event, the price of concert tickets is fairly standard with all of this year’s best concert ticket sites. However the admin fee or service fee you’ll pay on top of the cost of your tickets will vary from site to site.
In addition, there are services that may source cheaper tickets but they often sell out fast. For example, TicketLiquidator (opens in new tab) is a concert ticket outlet with independent ticket brokers and a clear money-back guarantee. StubHub operates in a similar way.
SeatGeek (opens in new tab) is an online service that quickly compares prices for tickets to various gigs, shows and festivals. Ticketmaster is very competitive and offers cheap concert tickets, and specialist sites like Hey Alex will track down all manner of ticket types that might be otherwise hard to find.
Specialist concert ticket sites
Getting in a virtual queue is just as time consuming and frustrating as queuing for tickets at a venue. If you have neither the time nor patience for it, and you have a bigger budget for service fees, there are specialist concert ticket sites that will do all the legwork for you.
Hey Alex (opens in new tab) is one such site. It acts as sort of an event and concert ticket concierge - just tell Hey Alex what tickets you want and it will track them down for you. Fees vary with these types of sites, but if you’re time-poor, they could be great value for you.
The site also offers bundle deals so some tickets can be booked along with hotel accommodation.
Are concert ticket sites safe?
All online purchases come with risks attached, regardless of what you are buying. Concert tickets are no different, so we advise the following:
- Use a genuine concert ticket site that is authorised to sell tickets.
- Check the company’s rating for trustworthiness and customer service before you buy - Trustpilot (opens in new tab), Companies House (opens in new tab) and our best of guide are good places to start.
- Read the terms and conditions before spending any money.
- Make sure the site offers buyer’s protection on concert tickets, especially if you are buying from a reseller. Note, some sites won’t offer refunds if you buy from a reseller.
- Always buy tickets on a credit card or through a service such as PayPal so you can more easily get your money back if there’s an issue with the transaction.
How we test concert ticket sites
At Louder, we have extensive experience of the live music scene and reviewing gigs and festivals. We also have experience of testing concert ticket sites, using them for work purposes if we’re unable to source review tickets for certain shows, and personally when buying online concert tickets for genres of gigs not typically reviewed on Louder.
Our testing criteria for concert ticket sites includes:
The above is just a small selection of the criteria that makes up our concert tickets site testing policy. Once we have reviewed a site, we then use that testing information to decide which sites appear in this guide and which sites do not. We’re confident that the companies listed in this guide are the best concert ticket sites of 2022, and we’re always testing new sites and services to ensure you have the best experience when buying festival and concert tickets online.
Read more on how we test products and services at Louder.