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When it comes to live music, atmosphere is key. There’s nothing like seeing your favorite band while surrounded by fans. These concert venues however, take the experience to a whole new level. Here are our six top suggestions for totally unique (and weird) places to catch a concert.

RELATED: America’s best vintage drive-in movie theaters

A natural rock formation

Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, Colorado is a gigantic outdoor concert venue built seamlessly into natural rock formations about 30 minutes outside of Denver. From above, Red Rocks looks almost like a giant crater, but the circular rock arrangement creates natural acoustics and serves as a stunning backdrop for performers. The space has been used as a gathering place throughout history, starting as early as 1906 with the Ute tribe, who called it “The Garden of the Angels.” The venue’s unique history and beautiful landscape have made it a favorite location for music videos and concert recordings, including some by John Denver, U2 and, famously, Jethro Tull. Interesting fact: The latter event incited the “Riot at Red Rocks in 1971,” when thousands of ticket-less fans showed up and then attempted to charge their way into the venue.

An abandoned steel mill

SteelStacks in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania looks like the backdrop to a post-apocalyptic steampunk movie. It also has a pretty cool origin story. The Bethlehem Steel Mill once employed more than 10,000 workers, supplying steel that built bridges and skyscrapers across America. When the mill closed in 1955, rather than abandon their main source of industry, the town came together to turn the plant into an arts center. SteelStacks’ arts campus now hosts more than 1,000 shows and 8 festivals annually. The town’s sense of community, combined with SteelStacks’ stunning backdrop, create an atmosphere that shouldn’t be missed.

ALSO: Book your trip and your concert tickets all in one place—CheapTickets even has tickets to sold out shows!

A decommissioned cargo ship

That’s right. The Thekla in the Mud Dock area of Bristol, United Kingdom is an actual former cargo ship now serving as a floating nightclub and moored concert venue. Thekla was built in Germany in 1958, and served as a commercial shipping vessel before running aground in Gatesend, Norfolk. For seven years Thekla sat vacant and rusted, before being renovated and sent back into service, this time as an entertainment vessel. Renamed The Old Profanity Showboat, she featured jazz, theater, comedy and cabaret shows. Today, she’s the Thekla once again and hosts performers like Franz Ferdinand, Pete Doherty and X Ambassadors.

A Wild West movie set

In 1946, a group of film producers built a Wild West movie set called Pioneertown in California. Production designers outfitted Pioneertown‘s “Main Street” with a replica bank, saloon, chapel and cantina. The location got a lot of work, appearing in more than 50 films, including Warner Baxter’s The Cisco Kid. In 1972, Pioneertown became home to Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, a self-described “honky tonk tavern” and music venue. Notable performers have included Paul McCartney, Queens Of The Stone Age and The Arctic Monkeys. Robert Plant once famously stopped by for a surprise show. Pappy & Harriet’s has also been credited with being a main source of tourism in the area. A SXSW-produced documentary claimed Pappy & Harriet’s Hollywood history and unique atmosphere “sings life into an otherwise deserted California ghost town” although Pioneertown is currently experiencing a tourism renaissance.     

A cave

Flickr CC: Harrison Walter

Measuring 32 miles long, Cumberland Caverns in McMinnville, Tennessee is the second largest cave in Tennessee and also one of the ten largest in America. Located 333 feet under McMinnville, Tennessee, the caverns are home to Bluegrass Underground, a monthly concert series produced by PBS.  Stunning acoustics and an other-worldly environment make Cumberland Caverns a one-of-a-kind experience. Staff even encourage concert goers to explore the massive cavern before the show. If you get lost, don’t panic—just follow the sound of screaming fans.  

Tagged: California, City, Destinations, Family, Festivals, Flights, International, Music, Seasonal, Tips & advice

Note: CheapTickets compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site.

Jesse Betend

Jesse Betend

Jesse is a writer and radio producer in Chicago. He is the Executive Producer for the embarrassing storytelling podcast "We Still Like You" and writes for the Chicago Sun-Times.
Jesse Betend

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Important coronavirus travel update: Many of CheapTickets’s trusted airline partners are waiving change fees for eligible new bookings. Find an updated list of airlines here, and stay informed about your flexible travel options.

No one looking to make a quick buck decides to open a used record store, but there are true believers who are on a mission to keep vinyl alive. And that’s not all. In addition to thousands of vinyl treasures, some of these stores offer such collateral pleasures as turntables, 78s, 45s, cassettes, posters, books and even movies on VHS. You never know what you’ll find. As Jim Blasee, co-owner of Shake It Records in Cincinnati likes to say, “That’s the fun part.”

RELATED: America’s best drive-in movie theaters

Academy Records & CDs: New York City

Academy Records, Brooklyn, NYC

Academy Records

Opened: 2003
Philosophy: “There is something really special about a record store we want to keep from getting lost in,” says Cory Feierman, manager and record buyer. “A record store should be an exciting place to discover something completely new or something on the fringe of your interest; a place [where] you get to physically look at something,” he says.
Specialty: “We’re pretty well-rounded,” says Feierman. “We’re the biggest used record store in Brooklyn. Our focus is on the used; rock, jazz, blues, soul, dance music, house, techno and a lot of disco.”
Now playing: Freddie Gibbs and Madlib, Bandana
Celebrity sightings: Jimmy Page, David Crosby, Parker Posey

Amoeba Music: San Francisco (also LA)

Amoeba Records, San Francisco

Amoeba Records

Opened: 1990
Philosophy: “We try to have as much of everything as possible—new and used—to sell at a reasonable price,” says co-owner Joe Goldmark. “People feel they have a better shot at getting what they want here than anywhere else.”
Specialty: “We are like a big trading post; if you don’t have money to buy records, bring in something to trade. We specialize in customer service.”
Now playing:  Donald Byrd, Slow Drag
Celebrity sightings: Jimmy Page, Mark Duplass, Dr. Demento

Easy Street Records: Seattle

Easy Street Records

Easy Street Records

Opened: 1988
Philosophy: At a time when Seattle has gentrified and it may seem as if the city has lost a little bit of its soul, Easy Street is “a tether that keeps you connected to Seattle’s roots and legacy,” says owner Matt Vaughan. “Our motto is, ‘Vinyl is the end result.’ It’s a package that tells the artist’s story. There is a place for streaming music, but we’re here for people who get turned on by songs they’ve heard on Pandora and want to support the artist. We serve them the full meal.”
Specialty: Easy Street may be the only record store to open at 7am to accommodate patrons of the in-store full-service café (try the Woody Guthrie Farmer’s Omelet). “But we’re still a record store through and through and always will be,” Vaughan emphasizes. “Alternative rock and hip hop and local music from the past and present is and always has been our specialty.”
Now playing: The Faces, Snakes and Ladders / The Best of Faces
Celebrity sightings: Bo Derek, Danny DeVito, Tim Robbins, Patton Oswalt, Baseball Hall of Famer Randy Johnson

Electric Fetus: Minneapolis

Electric Fetus, Minneapolis

Electric Fetus

Opened: 1968
Philosophy: “Since day one we have connected with our community,” says Stephanie Covart Meyerring, president and second generation co-owner, along with husband, Aaron. “This is a gathering place to experience and learn about music and to find unique things.”
Specialty: “We’re best known for the funky environment, vast music selection, hard-to-find titles and unique in-store performances,” Meyerring says.
Now playing: Tame Impala
Celebrity sightings: Twin Cities native Prince was a regular patron and was in the store a few days before he died, making Electric Fetus a must for Prince fans from around the world. Ringo Starr wore an Electric Fetus T-shirt to the Grammys in 2010.

End of all Music: Oxford, MS

End of All Music

End of All Music

Opened: 2012
Philosophy: “We’re an arts-driven town and we felt Oxford could sustain a record store,” says owner David Swider. “We recently moved downtown to historic Oxford Square. We act as the center of the music community and support as many local artists and venues as we can. We think it’s important to have ownership, and believe that people should buy the albums they want to be able to pull off their shelf and play if the internet goes down. Our motto is when you walk into our store, you know we’re not f***ing around.”
Specialty: “We are very inclusive,” Swider says. “We cover just about every genre you can imagine with an emphasis on Oxford-based North Mississippi soul and country blues label Fat Possum Records. The store was named for an epitaph on Junior Kimbrough’s gravestone: ‘Junior Kimbrough is the beginning and end of all music.’”
Now playing: Ty Segall, First Taste
Celebrity sightings: Lenny Kaye (curator of Nuggets garage rock anthologies)

Grimey’s New and Pre-Loved MusicNashville

Grimey's, Cincinnati


Opened: 1999
Philosophy: “It’s a wonderful thing to be involved with a record store in Nashville,” says manager Anna Lundy. “So many people in our world are involved in music, whether it’s customers whose parents are songwriters or who have brothers and sisters who are session players,” she says. “We all love sharing music and have created a safe and welcoming space for people to come together and enjoy recorded and sometimes live music.”
Specialty: Country-western, Americana and bluegrass
Now playing: Yoko Ono, Some Time in New York City
Celebrity sightings: Robert Plant, John Prine

Herzog Music: Cincinnati

Herzog Music, Cincinnati

Herzog Music

Opened: 2017
Philosophy: Many record stores carry Hank Williams’ Lovesick Blues and I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry, but Herzog Music is located in the historic Cincinnati building where Williams actually recorded these iconic hits. Think the Sun Records space, but with vintage vinyl for sale. “Our core mission is to celebrate the musical and cultural past and make sure the torch is passed to the next generation,” says director of operations Bill Furbee. “It’s one thing for customers in their 30s, 40s or older to appreciate the cultural significance of what happened in this space, but it’s an entirely different story to hear a roomful of toddlers singing and dancing to Pete Seeger songs.”
Specialty: Local and regional artists with a focus on the independent Cincinnati-based label King Records.
Now playing: The Byrds, Sweetheart of the Rodeo.
Celebrity sightings: Marty Stuart, Steve Earle, Pokey LaFarge, George Clinton

Reckless Records: Chicago

Reckless Records

Reckless Records

Opened: 1989
Philosophy:  There is a scene in the cult classic film High Fidelity in which record store clerk Jack Black berates a customer for wanting to buy his daughter Stevie Wonder’s “I Just Called to Say I Love You.” Reckless Records has a location in the same boho neighborhood as the fictional Championship Vinyl, though Black’s verbal abuse would not fly at Reckless, says manager Melissa Grubbs. “We don’t think anyone should be embarrassed of anything they want. We carry as many things as we can to cater to all different kinds of people. It’s not like Jack Black; we spent many years trying to dispel that myth.”
Specialty: “We’re lucky we exist in such a music-loving city,” says Grubbs. “We have a varied staff who are interested in all different kinds of music whether it be old soul, Brazilian hip hop or garage rock.”
Now playing: The F***ing Champs, V
Celebrity sightings: Chance the Rapper, Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth), Fred Schneider (The B-52s), Mac McCaughan (Superchunk)


Shake It Records: Cincinnati

shaket it record store

Shake It Records

Opened: 1999, “The same year Napster started,” co-owner Jim Blasé says with a laugh. “Napster’s gone and we’re still around.”
Philosophy: “Great music, art and literature are all connected. We try to do our little part to keep them alive,” says Blasé.
Specialty: “Our deep catalog. Sometimes all you can get from other stores is an artist’s greatest hits, but  sometimes their greatest tunes are on the fourth track on side two,” he says. “We try to get as much as we can get on artists ranging from Alice Cooper to Bootsy Collins to Thelonious Monk. One guy from Mary J. Blige’s band bought straight-edge punk records. You never know what people are going to be into.”
Now playing: Nick Lowe, Nick the Knife
Celebrity sightings: Glenn Danzig, Bob Pollard (Guided by Voices)


Waterloo Records: Austin

Waterloo Record Store

Waterloo Records, Austin, Texas, September 2017. | Copyright 2017 Spencer Selvidge for Waterloo Records,

Opened: 1982
Philosophy: “Our slogan is ‘Where music still matters,’” says owner John T. Kunz. “We’ve always said Austin deserves a record store that reflected the vibrant music community here. We just wanted to create a record store that we would want to hang out in ourselves. We try to make it a meeting place musically with two to three live performances a week. We get a lot of music tourists and it’s always great to ask them what’s going on in their part of the world. We like to listen [to their recommendations] as much as we like to share our recommendations.”
Specialty: All genres of Texas music, as well as imports; “The best from around the corner and around the world,” Kunz says.
Now playing: Bjork, Debut
Celebrity sightings: Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, Richard Linklater

Tagged: California, Cheap Tips, Chicago, City, Destinations, L.A., New York City, seattle, Texas, Texas, Tips & advice, Top 10 list, Types of Travel

Note: CheapTickets compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site.

Donald Liebenson

Donald Liebenson

Donald Liebenson

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The Super Bowl halftime show is one of the most high profile gigs in music. You get only 12 minutes, maybe less, if you’re sharing the stage. For some, it’s a blur of glory. For others it feels like an eternity set to fireworks. In it’s 50 years, the Super Bowl halftime show has certainly seen its share of both triumphs and catastrophes. With Lady Gaga set to take the stage in Houston in 2017, here’s our list of the Super Bowl’s most historic halftime performances.

RELATED: Get your Super Bowl LI tickets from CheapTickets!

Flickr CC: Larry Darling

Flickr CC: Larry Darling

8. Katy Perry, Missy Elliot and Lenny Kravitz (2005)

There’s no doubt Katy Perry knows how to put on a good show. Who can forget the sight of Katy in her flame-print dress riding that gigantic metal lion? She did look a little stiff singing “Roar” atop her gigantic stead. Nevertheless, it was definitely one of the most memorable openings to any halftime show. Lenny Kravitz joined her for a particularly rocking version of “I Kissed A Girl.” As the first bars of “Get Your Freak On” start pounding out for the return of the fantastic Missy Elliot, the performance kicks into full gear. Yes, Katy gets slightly upstaged by her boisterous backup, Left Shark, and Missy, a supremely confident stage stealer, but ultimately this performance represents all the beautiful insanity that is a Super Bowl halftime show—turned up to 11.

Flickr CC: kyleburning

Flickr CC: kyleburning

7. Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake, P. Diddy, Kid Rock, Jessica Simpson, and Nelly (2004)

Hands down the most famous Super Bowl halftime show in history, just for all the wrong reasons. One second of breast and Janet Jackson’s career was over. As nearly was Justin’s. The FCC fined CBS and it wasn’t until 2011 that a court finally quashed the penalties. The NFL even kicked ex-‘N Sync member JC Chasez off that year’s Pro Bowl halftime show for fear he would be too sexually suggestive. They opted instead for Hawaiian dancers. CBS forced Janet Jackson to apologize in a recorded statement. Oh, and the performances were pretty good, too.

Flickr CC: Teresa Sedo

Flickr CC: Teresa Sedo

6. Pete Fountain, Irma Thomas, and Doug Kershaw (1990)

The mashup is an NFL halftime tradition, but they can’t all be winners. While the Super Bowl has seen its fair share of insane combinations of talent over the years (the absolutely bizarre, yet oddly enthralling combo of ‘N Sync, Aerosmith, Nelly, Mary J. Blige and Britney Spears jumps to mind) this one takes the cake for insane pairings. A dual celebration of Mardi Gras and the 40 year anniversary of the Peanuts cartoon, it’s ridiculous and not even in a fun way. The show opens with Charlie Brown and company dancing along to a marching band and ends with Snoopy riding a Louisiana riverboat to “When The Saints Go Marching In” which segues into “Happy Birthday Charlie Brown.” Not one bit of it makes any sense.

5. Michael Jackson (1993)

For a long time the NFL treated the halftime show as a throwaway. Between 1967 and 1989, halftime shows were cheesy affairs. 1992’s halftime show featured Gloria Estefan performing with a group of Olympic figure skaters. It was better, but nobody watched it because “In Living Color” aired a comedy special at the exact same time. The very next year, the NFL brought in the king of pop for what turned out to be the last of Michael Jackson’s many great televised performances.

Right from the beginning, the star power was on in full effect. Jackson stood statue still for a full minute and a half, just letting the crowd go wild, before bursting into “Billy Jean.” The ending was cheesy, with a chorus of children joining in on “Heal The World,” but this was the beginning of the star studded halftime show lineups we’ve come to expect—and the NFL never looked back.

RELATED: PSA: Airports are now hiring therapy pigs

Flickr CC: Steffane Lui

Flickr CC: Steffane Lui

4. Diana Ross (1996)

If Michael Jackson was the beginning of the Super Bowl halftime show’s celebrity power, Diana Ross paved the way for ridiculous spectacles like Katy Perry’s metal lion. The cinematography was a mess. But the performance was great, culminating in Diana’s big exit. A helicopter lands on the stage and she’s airlifted out of the stadium as the words “A true diva knows how to make a grand entrance and an even grander exit” flash onto the screen. And with that, the halftime show’s history of over-the-top pageantry was firmly cemented.

Flickr CC: PeterTea

Flickr CC: PeterTea

3. Prince (2007)

Just Prince doing his thing in the middle of a thunderstorm. The man absolutely brought it with fantastic covers of “We Will Rock You,” “Proud Mary” and “All Along The Watchtower,” as well as a few of his personal best. Only a few years after “nipplegate,” this was a daring choice for the NFL. Prince’s performance was undoubtedly sexy, but managed to stay cable network friendly. The finale of “Purple Rain” was one of the best any performer can hope to offer, and Prince’s guitar solo made it clear; if you weren’t going to actually play an instrument, you better at least have a metal lion or something.

Flickr CC: U2start

Flickr CC: U2start

2. U2 (2002)

More than a great show, this was a true historic moment. Bono and company started things out with a full rendition of “Beautiful Day.” Then the words “September 11th, 2001” flash onto a giant screen behind the band. You can actually hear a reverent hush fall over the cheering crowd as Bono begins “MLK,” then transitions into “Where The Streets Have No Name” as the names of survivors begin to scroll on the screen behind him. So much could have gone wrong and not just because a subpar performance would have been a disaster. U2 played it perfectly, from the song choices to the staging. As Bono shouts “America!” and an ocean of glow sticks wave pridefully back at him, you can still feel the intensity of the moment watching it years later. Powerful and unifying. It wasn’t a “wardrobe malfunction,” but it got America’s attention.

Flickr CC: Arnie Papp

Flickr CC: Arnie Papp

1. Coldplay, Bruno Mars, Beyoncé, and Mark Ronson (Let’s be honest, we’re talking about Bey’s part) (2016)

Beyoncé’s first Super Bowl performance in 2013 was undoubtedly a better show. She got top billing and reunited with Destiny’s Child. Easily one of the best halftime shows, it’s no surprise the NFL wanted her back just three years later. Coldplay opened with “Viva La Vida,” a perfect opening number, and Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson brought it to us with “Uptown Funk.” But it was Bey’s performance that made history.

She didn’t even need a stage, launching into “Formation” right on the field in front of a wall of fire. The song, and it’s accompanying music video is a clear indictment of racial inequality and police brutality. Beyoncé and her backup dancers dressed in outfits that evoked the Black Panthers. Just like U2’s performance, this was a show that became part of the American narrative. Not all historical events are unifying. Neither are all Super Bowl halftime shows. This was an amazing artist, using one of the biggest stages in show business to address a pressing social problem in American culture. Whether or not you feel it was appropriate, we will be talking about Beyoncé’s performance—especially people’s reaction to it—for years to come.   


Tagged: City, Sports

Note: CheapTickets compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site.

Jesse Betend

Jesse Betend

Jesse is a writer and radio producer in Chicago. He is the Executive Producer for the embarrassing storytelling podcast "We Still Like You" and writes for the Chicago Sun-Times.
Jesse Betend

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Hello there. Do you like beer? Do you like sausage? If you’re nodding your head ‘yes,’ then it might not be a big jump to think you might enjoy an Oktoberfest celebration. But the original Oktoberfest, a festival dedicated to all things autumnal and German, is all the way in Munich! We can’t afford Munich right now!

Thank heavens we have Oktoberfest Zinzinnati. First held in 1976, Oktoberfest Zinzinnati (in Cincinnati, Ohio) is America’s largest Oktoberfest celebration—more than 500,000 people visit each year! Here’s why you should stop what you’re doing and head to Ohio for the party:

Repeat after us: dachshunds in hot dog costumes.

Every year, Oktoberfest Zinzinnati opens festivities with the Running of the Wieners, this year on Friday, September 16, 2016 at 11:30 a.m. What is the Running of the Wieners? It’s 100 dachshunds in hot dog costumes streaking down the street in race heats towards their owners while thousands of people cheer. Only one dachshund can be the King of the Wiener Dogs. You want to witness this, we promise.

Photo: Flickr | David K, Hot Dog

Photo: Flickr | David K, Hot Dog

Have a drink at the glockenspiel.

The Christian Moerlein Glockenspiel is—get this—a working clock with a bar on the ground level, as well as a stage. Every hour, when the clock strikes, performers in traditional lederhosen appear to sing, dance, and toast with the crowd. Prost!

Have a drink anywhere, actually.

There are five different beer gardens at Oktoberfest Zinzinnati. All of them have an enormous selection of beers on tap, and all of them have live music. Some band names this year include The Fest Meisters, Zinzinnati Bier Band, and Smittie’s Schnapps Band. Get your polka on!

Allen Burt,, Attribution CC BY 2.0

Photo: Allen Burt, Oktoberfest in Zinzinnati

Raise a glass.

Try not to lower it! The Sam Adams Stein Hoisting Championship on Saturday, September 17, 2016 at 5 p.m. is a test of strength, mental endurance, and true love for beer. All you have to do is raise your stein of beer and keep it raised longer than anyone else in the crowd to be crowned this year’s Hoisting Champion.

Become one with the brat.

On Saturday, September 17, at 3 p.m., it’s time for the greatest sausage spectacle you may ever see: The World Brat Eating Championship. Will anyone be able to defeat reigning world champion brat-eater, Joey Chestnut? Who would dare to try? Is the newest contender…you?

ljv,, Attribution CC BY-ND 2.0

Photo: Flicker | ljv, Sausage Party

Demonstrate your barrel-roll and beer-stein race aptitude.

On Friday, September 16, at 6 p.m, head over to Freedom Platz on Second Street for the German Games, where live music and German dance groups frolic around contestants trying to roll a wooden barrel around a timed course or race a short distance holding two filled-to-the-brim beer steins.

Participate in the World’s Largest Chicken Dance.

You heard us. Jump in and join the official World’s Largest Chicken Dance on Sunday, September 18 at 4:30 p.m. Thousands participate in the dance each year, and in 1994, Oktoberfest Zinzinnati chicken dancersset the world record, with 48,000 people flappin’ their arms and waddlin’ to the beat.

Jim,, Attribution CC BY-SA 2.0

Photo: Flickr | Jim, Chicken Dance


Tagged: City, Events, Festivals, Food & drink, Music, Seasonal

Note: CheapTickets compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site.

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It’s that time again. The music, the scene, the nonstop partying: The music festival.

The great and glorious Lollapalooza kicks off tomorrow at 4 p.m., one day earlier than ever before. Which means only one thing for Chicago: One extra day of massive blow-out parties, must-see after shows, concerts, food, new friends, art and anything-goes after parties. And this year promises to one-up last year’s lineup, with names like Flosstradamus, The Last Shadow Puppets, Radiohead, Disclosure and LCD Soundsystem.

If you haven’t gotten tickets yet, there’s still time to catch the event of the season. But if you can’t drop everything and fly to sunny Chicago right now, here are 8 more seriously good summer music festivals you can still make before it starts to get cold again.


City Folk Festival

When and where: September 15–18 in Ottawa, Ontario

The New Pornographers, Dropkick Murphys, Marlon Williams and Charlotte Cardin will all be at City Folk Festival, so naturally you should too. They’ll all be hitting the stage with the beautiful Lansdowne Park as their backdrop. And because indie rock goes best with a cold craft beer, local hangout Beau’s Brewery will be onsite providing plenty of the good stuff. Plus, there’ll be food, and plenty of it. Notably, the festival is vegan-friendly so everyone can chow down in harmony. Don’t forget to stop by the affiliated Marvest for some seriously local music, food and drink. Everything is sourced from within 100 miles.

Backwoods Camping and Music Festival

When and where: September 1–5 in Stroud, Oklahoma

This is what road trips are made for: Stroud, Oklahoma is a small town just off the fabled Route 66. In this small, unassuming destination you’ll find adorable diners, throwback hotels and the Backwoods Camping and Music Festival, along with the treehouse parties, ferris wheel, waterslide, public art and music that go with it. This crossover festival hosts rock, indie and EDM alike, so plan to stage-hop to catch A Silent Film, Hippie Sabotage, Audien and The Young Vines.

Ohana Music Festival

When and where: August 27–28 in Dana Point, California

The two-day Ohana Music Festival benefits local nonprofit the San Onofre Parks Foundation, which works with the state’s parks to preserve California’s stunning coastline. So it’s only fitting that the entire thing is basically one big beach party. And the lineup boasts some serious heavy hitters, among them Eddie Vedder, Lana del Ray, Elvis Costello, Cat Power and Band of Horses. Grab some craft cocktails and artisan eats between sets, or wander through the Doheny State Park (where the festival is held) to explore grassy plains, dig your toes in the sand or swim in the beautiful Pacific. Preferably not after you’ve been drinking. This one’s not a camping festival, so get those hotel reservations now.

Imagine Music Festival

When and where: August 26–28 in Hampton, Georgia

You can get your EDM, circus, costume-party, camping and dance-party fixes all in one place this year: Atlanta’s Imagine Music Festival, an uninhibited two-day romp through the Atlanta Motor Speedway. Or, more specifically, the ‘Imaginarium’, a fictional (obviously), ancient lost city. This fable makes room for a whole host of spiritual and oddball activities like drum circles, acro yoga, Qi Gong, art installations, live painting, a pool party, aerial cirque performers and a central fire. Local food vendors will keep everyone fed and watered. Oh, and there’s music, too: Come for The Disco Biscuits, Zeds Dead, Adventure Club and Dillon Francis. Stay for Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs.

Billboard Hot 100 Music Festival

When and where: August 20–21, 2016 in Wantagh, New York

Think back on it, and maybe you’ve heard of artists like Ariana Grande, Calvin Harris, Rachel Platton and Fetty Wap. The name of this festival—taking place at the iconic Nikon Jones Beach Theater—pretty much says it all: This is the festival to go to if you want to dance to tracks that dominate the airwaves. It is called the Billboard Hot 100, after all. And you’ll be treated to one seriously pretty backdrop—the Jones Beach State Park in Wantagh, New York. It offers more than 6 miles of Atlantic beach and miles of hiking trails.

Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival

When and where: August 5–7, 2016 in San Francisco, California

Folks, the fabled Outside Lands is a Golden Gate Park mainstay—which means you’ll get to drink, dance and party amid a Japanese tea garden, museums and botanical gardens. Joining you, and providing the tunes, will be some of the most famous musical acts in the world: Radiohead, Ryan Adams, Lana del Ray and LCD Soundsystem. In case that wasn’t enough, there’ll also be plenty of laughs—Natasha Leggero and John Mulaney headline the comedy stage, which is likely somewhere between all the public art installations, musical stages, the future-minded Eco Lands, and more food, beer, cocktail and wine vendors than you could reasonably visit during the three-day affair.

Wrecking Ball

When and where: August 13–14 in Atlanta, Georgia

This one’s an indie kid’s dream. Atlanta festival Wrecking Ball may only be in its second year, but that hasn’t stopped it from drawing the likes of Dinosaur Jr, Thursday, Motion City Soundtrack and Anti-Flag. If that’s any indicator, genres run the gamut from post-hardcore and punk to emo and indie rock. Plus, there will be tons of beer, and the city’s food trucks will swarm upon the festival to satisfy hungry festival-goers. Best of all, it takes place in the much beloved Masquerade, a tri-level music venue where infamous acts like Radiohead, Foo Fighters, Motorhead and Nirvana have all graced the stage. And if you’ve ever wanted to see this venue in all its glory, take note: Wrecking Ball is Masquerade’s very last blowout before the venue moves from its original location, so get those tickets now.


When and where: August 4–6 in Detroit Lakes, MN

Country music lovers, take note: Eric Church, Kid Rock and Tim McGraw are headlining this year’s WeFest. And they’re joined by some lesser-known hard hitters, including Montgomery Gentry, Maiden Dixie and an obscure up-and-comer named Steven Tyler (maybe you’ve heard of him?) who will be performing with the Loving Mary Band. Camping is the name of the game at this Detroit Lakes, MN fest (though there are some hotels nearby, if camping’s not your thing). And they’ve got 10 different campgrounds for different strokes— among them, there’s an Accessible one, a few for families, and several for the rowdy young kids. But fear not: There’s still modern plumbing and restrooms for all. And the concerts themselves? They’re held at the outdoor amphitheater at the gorgeous Soo Pass Ranch.

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Tagged: California, Events, Festivals, Music

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Memphis, Tennessee is the spitting image of its namesake in Memphis, Egypt. In both locations you will find an astonishing man-made pyramid, a long and winding river, and plenty of blues and barbecue…Okay, maybe the last two are a hard sell in Egypt.

But either way, the stateside Memphis is a great destination for travelers who want to eat, drink and party—which also makes it college students’ paradise if they can find a way to afford it. So here are the best things to do in Memphis if you’re traveling cheap.

See the Great Pyramid of Memphis

A broke student’s guide to doing Memphis on the cheap

The Lookout at Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid. Photo credits: Allen Gillespie and Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau

We weren’t kidding—there’s actually a pyramid downtown. And admittedly, it’s one of the weirder things to do in Memphis. The iconic structure did a stint as a sports stadium and a concert venue, but its unique shape made it difficult for the building to find success (as it turns out, pyramids do not have very good acoustics). Locals say this modern-day replica of its distant Egyptian cousins sat empty for years before it finally found its true calling: becoming a Bass Pro Shop.

Now, the 32-story steel pyramid is home to the United States’ tallest free-standing elevator, hundreds of live animals, and even a hotel. All of this is surrounded by a countless racks of outdoor merchandise, including yachts and boats that actually float in the stream that winds through the store. In this stream you can see native fish that will astound you with their size and willpower to not eat the smaller fish. A stroll around the store also offers tropical fish aquariums, actual alligators, and an impressive array of “stuffed” animal specimens… not the kind you want to hug and cuddle with.

After seeing the indoor zoo and walking through the heaps of merchandise, make your way to the enormous 28-story freestanding elevator—it’s pretty hard to miss. For just $10, you can take the tripup to the lookout and see Mississippi like those who built the Egyptian pyramids saw the Nile during their (probably awful) work day.

Pro Tip: There’s a General Store in here, too. Before heading to the elevator, stop in for some sweet treats like roasted nuts or gourmet fudge for the trip up. There’s a restaurant at the top, and this will help keep you from being tempted to sit down for a steak.

Where’s the party?

A broke student’s guide to doing Memphis on the cheap

A broke student’s guide to doing Memphis on the cheap Crowds on Beale Street. Photo credits: Andrea Zucker and copyright Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau, 2011, all rights reserved.

Beale Street, that’s where, and it has been since the birth of blues music. This cobblestone street, located in the heart of downtown Memphis, dates back to 1841. It’s where you’ll find three blocks of restaurants, nightclubs, live music and museums, as well as street performers that can really rock it, and without you having to pay a dime in cover charge.

But beware: Recently, Memphis put a $10 cover charge on Beale Street, which takes effect at 10 p.m. every night. Although this might be a bit of a bummer, entrance to the street is free before 10 p.m. and you’ll likely want to leave around then anyway…

Pro Tip: Beale Street security might be enforced at 10 p.m., but there is a larger crowd at this time, making it easier for thieves and pickpockets to maketheir way through. Stay alert and consider leaving before it becomes overcrowded.

Discover the Home of the Blues

And the Birthplace of Rock’n’Roll. Meaning the bars along Beale Street are far from the only places to catch some live music here. Memphis has plenty of other options for great music and a good time.

For instance: Right on Beale Street and 3rd is Handy Park. Here, you can find free concerts in the afternoons that are open to the public. There’s also Bluesday Tuesdays in Overton Square, where every Tuesday is a chance to enjoy free authentic blues and breathe in some fresh air. And from June to September, the Memphis Blues Society hosts an evening of blues music in the Tower Courtyard at Overton Square.

Indulge in an all-American sport

A broke student’s guide to doing Memphis on the cheap

The Triple-A Memphis Redbirds play baseball at AutoZone Park. Photo credit: Craig Thompson

Memphis is home to the bat-swinging, base-running, baseball-playing Redbirds. There’s almost nothing as nostalgic as a good old-fashioned baseball game. And even if you’re far from local, the friendly hometown crowds here can make you feel like you belong.

As a bonus, tickets for a Redbirds game can cost as low as $20. Meaning you don’t need to feel guilty about splurging on some peanuts, cracker jacks, hotdogs, nachos, beer and whatever else you might require to enjoy this American pastime.Pro Tip: People-watching at sporting events can give you some excellent insight into what it means to be from that city. And it’s always fun to play along, if you’re up for it.

You can’t miss the Mississippi River

A broke student’s guide to doing Memphis on the cheap

Aerial View of Mud Island River Park. Photo credits: Jack Kenner and copyright Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau, 2011, all rights reserved.

If you’re looking for some history and culture beyond great music and great food, head to Mud Island River Park.

On the Mud Island Riverwalk, which is free to the public, you can see an exact scale model of the Lower Mississippi River. You can also enjoy the life-sized version of the river just by walking around the grounds of the park.

The park itself is made up of 18 galleries and exhibits that cover 10,000 years of Mississippi River history. For $10 you can have access to all of these exhibits, a guided tour of the park and a round-trip ride on the monorail.

The food is totally worth the money

If you’re going to splurge on something in Memphis, we highly recommended that you splurge on food. Specifically, the city’s famous barbecue. Your taste buds, and your tummy, will thank you.

The best part about this “splurge” is that it is not even a huge one. Many barbecue joints in Memphis are very reasonably priced, and beyond that, they’re completely worth theprice you pay. That said, don’t be surprised if the meal is served on paper plates with plastic utensils.

Which restaurants should you try? Well we’ve got a shortlist right here: Tops Bar-B-Q, Central BBQ and Charlie Vergos’ Rendevous.

Tagged: Cheap City, USA, Tips & advice

Note: CheapTickets compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site.

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Summer is finally upon us, and with it comes concert season. Here are our top picks for must-see concerts this summer. Enjoy.


Beyonce live in Amsterdam. Photo: Diariocritico Venezuela – FlickrCC

Beyoncé — The Formation World Tour

It should come as no surprise that Beyoncé tops the list (not that this list is in any particular order). Seeing Beyoncé in the flesh will change you. And hearing her songs from #Lemonade live will likely ruin you to every other concert out there. She has photos from some of the early shows up on her website, and they promise her well-known flashy outfits, her usual barrage of killer backup dancers, and a few surprises. This tour is scheduled to hit Philadelphia, Detroit, Los Angeles, New Orleans and plenty others this summer, before going international.

The National

The National Photo: Ashton Flickr CC

 The National

The National’s tour this summer is peppered with festivals, which just proves that they really know their audience. The low-key vibes this Cincinnati band gives off were practically made for spending warm summer nights belting the hits outdoors. Their equally relaxed sets are also a welcome break from the showy concerts that tend to dominate summertime. The National are playing at Red Rocks Amphitheatre at the end of July, and there’s probably no better place to see them. Otherwise, catch them in New York City, Berkeley, Calif. Or Eau Claire, Wisc.



Coldplay live at Estadio Vicente Calderón in Madrid. Mylo Xyloto Tour 2012. Photo: Ana Morales – FlickrCC

Coldplay — A Head Full of Dreams Tour

Whether or not you’re sold on Coldplay’s new stuff, it is undeniable that they put on quite a show. Think confetti, surprise trips out into the nosebleeds, and the always-interesting antics of frontman Chris Martin. This is their first stadium tour since 2012, meaning you can expect tickets to sell out fast. The tour focuses on international venues (sure, we’d travel to Copenhagen for that), but they’re set to head to New York City mid-July and tour the U.S. from there. You can catch them in Chicago, Columbus, or Louisville, among others. 


Sting live in Bilbao in 2008. Photo: Alberto Cabel – Flickr CC

Sting and Peter Gabriel — Rock Paper Scissors Tour

Sting’s concerts are always very thoughtful and put-together, and therefore leave quite the impact. His music is moving and complex, making his concerts quite the deviation from those of the other pop stars on this list. This isn’t the first time that these two mega-stars have toured together, either—they hit the road together in the ‘80s in support of Amnesty International. This time, however, the icons will hit the stage both together and separately, exploring their greatest hits in new depths. The 19-date tour opens in Columbus, Ohio, before heading to Washington, D.C., Camden, N.J., and Coney Island in Brooklyn.

Adele in Seattle, Washington

Adele in Seattle, Washington Photo: nikotransimission Flickr CC

Adele — Adele Live 2016

If the gods were smiling on you, you may have snagged tickets to Adele’s summer tour for a decent price. If not, you still have a chance to change your luck—they’re hard to come by, but there are still some tickets available out there, somewhere. We wish you luck. Adele is elusive. She doesn’t particularly love touring, which becomes obvious when you consider that this is only her third tour since she exploded into the limelight almost a decade ago. So her rightly rabid fans become even more desperate for tickets on the rare occasion they can see her live. That said, it’s totally worth fighting for those seats. She’s got some pipes on her, and her voice will literally blow you away. She’s set to stop by Chicago, Phoenix and Boston, to name a few.

Florence and the Machine

Florence and the Machine performs at Coachella 2012. Photo: Jason Persse – Flickr CC

Florence and the Machine — How Big Tour

Most of Florence’s concerts this summer are being performed in conjunction with Of Monsters and Men, so it’s hard to see where you could go wrong. The tour focuses on “How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful,” which came out last May, so everyone in the audience will have had plenty of time to learn all the words. Catch them in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, Mansfield Mass., or headlining at Bunbury Music Festival in Cincinnati.

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Tagged: Music, Tips & advice

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From blues and jazz to Katy Perry-style mega pop, America’s music scene is off the charts. And all over the country, entire swaths of the states are extremely loyal to their own favorite genres, according to this interactive map by Movoto. Which begs the question: What cities are the best for each kind of music? Here’s where to go to sample the best music genres and scenes around, on the cheap.

Get ready to rock in New York City

New Yorkers are as dedicated to music as they are to their pizza and bagels. And the city that shaped The Velvet Underground, KISS and The Talking Heads—and who propelled CBGB into a pop-culture icon—just wants to rock, whether it’s a cheap underground show or a packed stadium. But it doesn’t get much more quintessentially New York as Billy Joel, who’s filling the equally iconic Madison Square Garden on the regular. With tickets starting at $93 for his January 7 show, there’s no excuse notto see him play your favorites like “Still Rock and Roll to Me,” “Movin’ Out,” and of course, “New York State of Mind.”

Dance to some EDM in San Francisco

Maybe it’s all the tech start-ups, but there’s just something about the Bay Area that makes people want to get down with some dirty bass. Cheap EDM shows are always within earshot—you can actually hear glitchy drums and layered strings pulsing down the steep San Francisco streets. If you need a little guidance on where to go, there’s a cheap Sound Tribe Sector 9 show on January 29, with tickets starting at $62. You’ll be treated to a trippy laser show and one of the genre’s top artists for your efforts.

Two-step, folk-style, in Las Vegas

You might expect mega-concerts to be Sin City’s biggest draw, but nothing gets the locals going quite like the twangy guitars and grassroots lyrics quite like folk music. And despite being surrounded by casinos and expensive hotels, there are plenty of cheap folk shows on the neon strip, including big names like Willie Nelson. Score some tickets to see him play January 8 amid all that glitz for as little as $62. Or, if your tastes run a little more country, see Reba, Brooks & Dunn for only $75.

Get back to your indie-rock roots in Austin

Austin, Texas, is the last bastion of excellent American music before you hit the southern border. There are cheap shows (and seriously cool venues) everywhere, and Austinites go crazy for the city’s vibrant punk and indie-rock scene. Catch The 1975 on May 5 for as low as $51. They’ll be rocking out in the Lone Star State for one night only.

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Tagged: Las Vegas, Music, New York City, Tips & advice, Uncategorized

Note: CheapTickets compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site.

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Would you like fresh beats with that?

The Guardian recently reported that psychologists have (finally) found a connection between music enhancing the flavor of food. Lead researcher Professor Charles Spence summarized the experience to the magazine.
“It is an exciting area: how soundscapes come together with taste to make the whole experience more enjoyable. It’s a kind of digital seasoning,” said Spence.

When it comes to the pairings, Spence found people matched descriptions of sounds to tastes. For example, sour was associated with high-pitched music, whereas sweetness paired better with rich, full-bodied sounds. With this logic, Spence determined that bitter tastes would go with deeper tones.

So, without further ado, check out this list of foods you have to pair with concerts for an ultimate taste and ear bud combo:

1. Sweet and Sour Pork and Panic! At The Disco
California is home to some of the best ethnic foods, and Chinese food is no exception. No need to Panic! over how perfect this food combination is. This punk-pop band is just as unusual of a combination as mixing sweet and sour, but somehow it just works.

2. Chicken-fried steak and Mackelmore and Ryan Lewis
Okay Oklahoma, you have our attention. Enjoy this state’s signature blend of meats with Mackelmore’s iconic blendof musical eras. Plus, Mackelmore would be impressed with how thrifty you were getting your tickets!

3. Sugar cream pie and Salt N’ Pepa
Sugar, spice and everything nice coming at you from good old Indiana. Enjoy the sweet styling of the salty rapping duo over an equally sweet pie.

4. Chicken biscuits and Grace Potter
This flaky and buttery yet juicy combo is almost the same description fans use to describe Grace Potter’s vocals. This concert and food pairing will have you drooling from start to finish in Atlanta.

5. Bison burgers and Jason Aldean
Pretend this hunky country artist rounded-up thatbison in the North Dakota grasslands just for your burger. Together, these two hunks of meat make for a delicious evening.

6. Lobster rolls and Vance Joy
Freshly caught in a Riptide, Maine’s lobster is some of the best in the country. You’ll need a bib for all the butter that will be consumed – and we’re referring to both the velvety voice of Vance Joy and the silky meat of a freshly cracked claw.

7. Chile con carne and Madonna
These two bold flavors can be found in the state where bigger is better, Texas. Both have a spicy, yet complicated bark to their bite, and when they come together it makes for one emotional experience.

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Tagged: Food & drink, Music

Note: CheapTickets compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site.

Alexander Santo

Alexander Santo

Alexander Santo

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Perhaps you’re familiar with the thanks-for-playing feeling of utter woe when you realize tickets to the concert you’re whole life has been leading up to sold out in 60 seconds flat.

You start going through the five stages of grief. First complete denial. How did it sell out so quickly and how did you not get tickets? How? Next comes anger. You didn’t want to go to that dumb concert anyway! What a lame-fest! Now the bargaining stage. How can you get those tickets? There must be a way. In desperation, your mind falls on one option: scalping.

Time for some scalping 101. What’s the first step? Don’t.

Desperate times do not have to call for desperate measures. Here are five solid reasons you shouldn’t scalp:

Reason 1: It’sseriously frowned upon in most states
If ticket scalping was a good thing, scalpers wouldn’t have signs that read, “Need tickets” They clearly have tickets–so what’s the deal with the false messaging? Most states have bans or restrictions against scalping tickets, according to Because scalpers are unregulated, you could be purchasing a fraudulent ticket, which brings us to our next point …

Reason 2: You never know what you’re going to get
Scalpers can trick you good. In desperation you will probably fork over any sum of money just to get into the concert. By the time you get to the gate and find that your ticket is a knock-off, that scammer is long gone–definitely not worth the risk.

Reason 3: Scalpers are the ones that got your ticket in the first place
Didn’tthink about that, did you? Scalpers buy bulk tickets to resell for jacked-up prices to you in your time of need. Don’t reward them. That money should be supporting your favorite artist, not that guy. Oh right, artists, let’s see what they think.

Reason 4: Your favorite artists hate it
T-Swift and Bono would be really disappointed to learn how you obtained those tickets. Country artist Eric Church told USA Today that he only wants his tickets to go to his real fans, and those do not come from scalpers. When asked for his opinion on scalpers, Church shared how he really feels. “The people that are scalping these tickets are the equivalent of crime rings basically,” said Church. Then he compared their business to the mafia.

Reason 5: You have better options
Secondary ticket markets like CheapTickets are completely legit, trustworthy and artist-approved. And when you have an affordable, low-risk option, why would you dance with the devil?

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Tagged: Festivals, Music, Sports, Tips & advice

Note: CheapTickets compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site.

Alexander Santo

Alexander Santo

Alexander Santo

Latest posts by Alexander Santo (see all)