When Sophie Keefer bought her tickets to see All Time Low, she hadn’t yet realized her mistake of buying tickets for the Pittsburgh show instead of Philadelphia. Rather than miss out on a good show, Keefer kept the tickets and bought more and proceeded to see her favorite band in both cities.
Keefer, a sophomore studying marketing, drove about five hours to Pittsburgh from Moorestown, New Jersey. In addition to her $45 pre-sale ticket, she and her friend spent more than $300 to pay for gas and a hotel. Despite the cost, she didn’t regret it.
“I would totally do it again,” Keefer said in an email. “It was fun going to a different city and seeing them perform and being in a place I hadn’t before.”
Traveling far and wide for a favorite performer is common among Ohio University students. For some, the distance is never too far.
Three years ago, Marita Haikal traveled not only over state lines to see her then-favorite performer G-Eazy, but also over the U.S. border into Ontario, Canada. The trip took nine hours one way and cost almost $300 in gas money on top of a $100 ticket, but she saved money on a hotel by staying with family.
“(The trip) was very long and exhausting, but all I could think about on the way there was, ‘It’s OK, I’m going to see G-Eazy. It’ll be worth it,’ ” Haikal, a sophomore studying chemical engineering, said.
Haikal said when she stopped at the customs border, the officers asked her why she was coming into the country. She answered honestly, telling them she was on her way to see G-Eazy.
“They just looked at me really funny," Haikal said. "I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m going to see a concert, please don’t judge me.’ ”
Codi Carter, a junior studying psychology, and Alivia Neil, his girlfriend, drove about six hours from Athens to Bonnaroo over the summer to see their favorite band, Portugal. The Man. Bonnaroo is a popular music festival in Great Stage Park, Tennessee.
After the festival, Carter and Neil decided to see the band’s next show in Asheville, North Carolina — another six-hour drive from Athens and an $180 price tag.
“We decided we had to go see them again because school was about to start, and they were playing back-to-back shows so we were like, ‘Well, let’s go do it,’ ” Carter said.
Between the two shows, Carter and Neil traveled to the Electric Forest Music Festival in Michigan. Because they were able to attend Bonnaroo for free as volunteers, Carter and Neil spent their “festival money” of about $350 at Electric Forest, Carter said.
Money isn’t the only thing OU students pay to see their favorite bands. Many of them choose to attend concerts on a school night, sometimes sacrificing their classes and sometimes their sleep.
Andrew Guidarelli, a junior studying aviation, traveled with his friends to Indianapolis on Sept. 10 to see U2, his favorite band. Not only did he spend $70 on a ticket, but, because it was a school night, he and his friends also left immediately after the concert and returned to Athens at nearly 4 a.m., Guidarelli said.
“If it was on like a Friday or Saturday night, I’d probably drive further and get a hotel,” Guidarelli said.
On Wednesday, singer Bruno Mars will perform in Columbus at the Schottenstein Center. Among the OU students traveling about 75 miles to the concert is Olivia Stukey, a sophomore studying early childhood education. The tickets — now priced between $290 and $1,155 — were a gift from her grandfather who bought them a year in advance.
“Personally, I would travel several hours to go to a concert because I love concerts,” Stukey said in an email.
The excitement of seeing an idol or favorite performer can also go beyond a one-time trip.
Brie Boothby, a junior studying journalism, has seen Dave Matthews Band perform in four different states for a total of 12 concerts. Twice, Boothby and her friends saw three performances within one weekend.
This summer, Boothby drove seven hours to Saratoga Springs, New York, from Fredericksburg, Virginia, to see Dave Matthews Band perform back-to-back shows — before driving six more hours to follow the band to Maryland for a third showing. She then drove home to make it to work the next morning.
“I’ve probably put over a thousand miles on my car trying to see Dave Matthews,” Boothby said.
Boothby used to save $5 to $10 from each paycheck she received to afford three lawn tickets for her and her friends for around $175. After going to 12 concerts, Boothby has spent close to $600 following Dave Matthews Band around the country.
“It’s so worth the money,” Boothby said. “I’m not embarrassed, because I really do love him.”