Why do we buy tickets to a concert two years before?

The fear of missing out on unique experiences leads us to book months in advance and plan our free time well in advance.

5 min
Chris Martin during the Coldplay concert at the Lluís Comanys Olympic Stadium on May 24, 2023.

BarcelonaTickets are over in the blink of an eye. To get to everything, we are forced to plan months in advance so as not to miss that show, that live artist or that meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant. The wait increases if we want to go to a concert or festival, sometimes up to two years. But do we get tired of carrying a QR code on our mobile phone to access a leisure space, or are we moving hopelessly towards a horizon where improvisation is impossible?

“You don't enjoy culture, you live it as a success. Getting tickets is like a war and culture should not be like this,” says Gerard Castillo, 23 years old and resident of Andorra. He explains that he is resigned to adopting the "dynamics of prevention": "I buy tickets without knowing if I will be able to go to a certain event or even if I will feel like it, just so as not to be left without it." The big festivals, like Primavera Sound, Cruïlla, Sónar, the concerts of great artists and Michelin star restaurants are the maximum expression of the consumer culture of the sold out: If there are no entries, it is because it is a success. And this way of thinking has been spreading and has gone beyond great phenomena – such as Taylor Swift– to accommodate more everyday leisure, such as nightlife or concerts by local artists. This consumerist vision inevitably has repercussions on venues and professionals who lack the resources to enter the wheel of great cultural promotion.

Networks play a great role when it comes to wrapping an exclusivity event and are the perfect tool to create the feeling of FOMO (fear of missing out) or, what is the same, the fear of missing out on an experience. Marc Barbeta, a sociologist at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, ​​explains that a concert, for example, may have more value “if it is capable of generating a symbolic barrier around it” and separating those who were there and those who were not. This is what creates an exclusive experience, which can also be explained virtually “in the magnificent showcase” that are networks such as Instagram or TikTok.

A Tik Tok user

Barcelona resident Anna Paniagua is more than used to waiting to see her favorite artists. His own record was more than two years: he bought the ticket in 2021 for see justin bieber in 2023. In fact, the concert was cancelled. These cases are not rare, since such massive events require exaggerated planning, but there has been an extension of this dynamic, even with national artists. It is the case of Dani Martin, which in March announced seven concerts in Madrid in December 2025 and on the same day tickets for five of the dates had been sold out.

We can even feel that doors to culture are closed to us. This is the case of Íngrid Graells, a young woman from Navarcles who lives in Barcelona and explains that she consumes worse leisure time: “I prioritize comfort rather than mortgage myself for one night and then have to think about reselling the tickets.” Marc Barbeta wonders if there is any space for cultural consumption that does not go through profound commercialization: “I think few,” and explains how this impacts our difficulty of living without knowing what we are going to do. The sociologist affirms that "we have consumption based on the here and now and it is increasingly difficult for us to endure the discomfort that uncertainty generates." ~BK_LINE_HOP~ Buy emotions before experience

The Covid pandemic has been one of those responsible for this commercialization, especially of nightlife, and many young people agree that it has entrenched higher prices: "Before you could go out to Razzmatazz for three euros. This is now impossible anywhere from Barcelona". Víctor Sanz, a resident of the Raval neighborhood, feels that he is buying the consumer experience (merchandising, advertisements, etc.) before the enjoyment of seeing the artists he likes: “We do not generate leisure organically.” This reflection is also shared by sociologist Eva Illouz, who explains in an interview that what is really being sold to us are neither leisure products nor services, but merchandise-emotions that we can associate with an idle event.

Concert by Joan Dausa, Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona.

In fact, there is also a certain resistance to this culture of buying massive entertainment well in advance, whether due to social or economic factors: not everyone can afford to pay 25 euros for an event. Some groups in Barcelona, ​​​​such as MUSA, Desacato Goblin or La Bellaquera, among others, choose to offer accessible consumption of nightlife with reverse box office, tickets at reduced prices or free access for vulnerable groups.

However, Barbeta puts on the table that in the face of this hyperplanning, we are also exposed to discourses that promote a contrary lifestyle, that promote change, fluidity and improvisation. This leads us to a paradox, an "unplanned planning" that is only available to a few social groups. Following the sociologist, we could be facing what the anthropologist Gregory Bateson exemplifies: “Flow, be spontaneous, but don't forget to reserve entry for me, in my summer macro festival.”

Can we escape 'FOMO'?

Syndrome FOMO, either fear of missing out, is defined as the fear of being left out of something that is trendy and that is normally linked to the technological world. However, we have ended up extending the meaning to fear of missing out on experiences. We can feel it during our daily lives, especially if we are used to receiving many inputs: Being constantly connected makes us desire what we see and reject what we experience in the moment. In this way, we can think that we need certain objects or to go to certain places, as is the case of a large concert, for example, because we have seen on the networks that some acquaintances have attended, or because the Internet bombarded us with alerts. of tickets sold out.

Núria Codina, professor of social and leisure psychology at the University of Barcelona, ​​explains that, in addition to the negative consequences that this digital dependence can have, "there is a time management problem and an emotional-relational problem. ". But how can we face the need to be connected all the time and FOMO What can this fact cause us? Codina emphasizes that it is necessary to become aware of "unjustified" dependency and that we can count the time we are connected and evaluate it: what are we doing when we are on our mobile?

It is true that it is a sensation or a syndrome linked to the youngest, but adults, although perhaps to a lower degree, are no strangers to hyperconnectivity, and even less to the logic of consumption that governs the world today of music and leisure in general. It is still early to see how this digital dependence will affect us over time, but what we are aware of is that A) it is difficult to escape and B) it lacks compassion for that culture that escapes the masses. ~BK_LINE_HOP~