How Long Do Concerts Last?

General admission concert with an artist performing on stage.

Over 50 percent of Americans attend a live performance each year. People even take off from work just to attempt to get tickets for these live shows—not to account for the time spent getting to the concert, parking, and actually attending the show. People spend a large amount of time in just the planning process, so how much time is spent in the preparation of the concert versus the actual show? 

One of the most recent ticket fiascos that have occurred is when musical artist Taylor Swift announced her Eras Tour. Ticketmaster—where millions of people buy tickets to concerts and sporting events every year, even announced an official apology to fans across the US who struggled to get tickets for her 2023 stadium tour. 

So if you’re lucky enough to have gotten Taylor Swift tickets—or have an upcoming concert to attend—knowing just how long it is likely to last will help you to plan your night accordingly. This is also important for parents who have kids at home with a babysitter, individuals with special needs or who take medications and need to know how long they’ll be at the concert, or those attending a concert with a friend as a favor, and would really prefer not to be there.

How Long Does the Average Concert Last?

At their concerts, artists are typically on stage anywhere from 90 minutes to two or three hours. But, this depends on a lot of different factors. Whatever your reason for wanting to know how long a concert lasts, let’s find out more.

To start, what are some of the reasons why some might be wondering how long a concert is? We touched on a few of these already, and while the reasons why will vary from person to person, we can look at the most common reasons why someone might want to plan for the concert length and to figure out tips on how to make the most of your concert experience.

Not only do want to account for the actual show, there are many other factors that go into how long the entire concert-going experience might take. 

For example: 

  • Concert setting
  • Attending with children
  • Type of seating 
  • Transportation to the venue 

Concert Setting: Large vs Small Venue    

The location of the concert will make a huge difference with the amount of time needed to even get to the venue. If you are seeing an artist perform in a small concert hall, there won’t be traffic congestion in the same way there would be if you were attending a concert at an arena or stadium. 

Some stadiums in the United States, like the AT&T Stadium in Texas, can hold upwards of 100,000 people, while Wembly Stadium in the United Kingdom can hold up to 90,000. These venues will be much different compared to smaller locations. So you will want to take the venue size and location into account when determining how much time you will need. 

Estimated Time Needed: 1 hour, depending on venue 

Attending a Concert With Children 

Adding children into the mix will definitely require more time to account for when attending a concert. Popular children’s concerts will be catered to their audience, so there will be some more kid-friendly aspects. These may include longer intermissions and shorter shows altogether in order to give parents plenty of time to take care of their kids without them missing the concert.

That said, you’ll still want to plan on getting there with enough time to get your child settled and ready to watch the show. But, as most parents know, preparing for taking the kids anywhere can be a lot.

Estimated Time Needed: Additional 30 minutes on top of the regular extra time.

General Admission vs Assigned Seating 

General admission (GA) concerts will often see concert-goers lining up hours or even days before the concert to get the best spot possible. GA admission tends to be more popular in smaller venues, but depending on the performer or venue, there may be a GA or pit section for some, while others have purchased assigned seats. 

If you are attending a concert that is general admission entry, this means that there is no assigned seating or spot for you specifically. Each concert venue will have different policies in place regarding how early you can line up for a concert. It is best to check with your specific venue to determine what is and is not allowed. Typically, most venues allow lines to begin forming a few hours before the doors open. So, if you are attending a concert with general admission seating, it is best to plan on arriving a few hours before it is set to begin to help you to get the best spot. 

If your ticket has an assigned seat, you can get to the concert whenever you want—that seat will be waiting for you. 

To know what type of ticket you have, you will need to check on the ticket itself. It will most likely either indicated general admission, which could be displayed as GA or the seat and section number. 

Estimated Time Needed: Up to 6 hours

Getting To the Venue

Whether you are driving or taking other forms of public transportation to the concert, you will most likely want to account for an increase in traffic, both in terms of vehicles and pedestrians. While the venue in which you are attending will be a factor, ride sharing and arriving early will help to ensure that you won’t miss a thing. 

Estimated Time Needed: 1 hour

colorful confetti falling from the ceiling at a concert.

Concert Planning: Once You Arrive 

Not only are there different things to take into account about the concert you are going to in general, but there are other things you make want to plan for that will take time, like: 

  • Buying merchandise
  • Buying food or drinks
  • Watching the opening acts
  • Using the restroom

Buying Merchandising 

If you are wanting to get a t-shirt or poster to remember the concert, you will need to take into consideration that these lines can get extremely long. If you have an assigned seat, then getting in line as soon as you arrive to the venue is a great option. For GA ticket holders, this will be a bit trickier, and you may want to consider purchasing merchandise online either before or after you attend the show. 

Estimated Time Needed: 30 minutes

Buying Food or Drinks 

Similar to buying merchandise, buying food and drinks at a concert can take a while. Lines can get really long, so you will want to plan accordingly. A great time to get a drink or a snack would be as soon as you arrive. Another option is to go when the concert is happening, if you, or someone you are with does not mind missing a song or two, that might be the best time to grab a drink and snack. 

Estimated Time Needed: 30 minutes 

Watching the Opening Act 

When the start time is listed on the ticket, that is the time that an opening act will be on. If you want to watch the opener, you will want to make sure all of these things are done before that time is listed on the ticket. If you do not want to see the opening performer, than this could be extra time to get food, buy merchandise or use the restroom. 

Typically opening acts perform from anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes before the headliner goes on. 

Estimated Time Needed: 30 minutes 

Using the Restroom

With some venues holding upwards of 90,000 people, there will be lines for just about everything. Using the restroom before you even get to the venue can help eliminate this time and will free up your time and can give a buffer in the event that something takes longest than you planned for. 

Estimated Time Needed: 30 minutes 

So, How Long Is a Concert?

While the music and performance might only last about two hours (not taking into consideration the encore!), the preparation before and after the show can take hours! If you add up all our estimated times, this could mean that you will need to start prepping to get to a concert several hours before it even begins! 

While all of these times and activities before a concert might not apply to you, looking through our estimated times and using our hours between times calculator can help you plan for the big event.  

This entry was posted in Lifestyle, Time and tagged , . By Emily DiFabio