How to Save on Hot Concert Tickets This Summer

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Sunday, May 3, 2009


Scoring tickets to a hot concert is thrilling. And then you get to the checkout, where convenience charges and building-facility and order-processing fees can bump up your bill by 70 percent, making you feel like you're buying a condo, not tickets to U2.

Here's how to beat the charges on some of the summer's buzziest shows:

-- Buy advance tickets for shows at 9:30 club or Merriweather Post Pavilion in person at the 9:30 club's cash-only box office (815 V St. NW; 202-265-0930), and pay $1 per ticket in service charges. Or, if you're feeling reckless, buy your tickets the night of the concert, an hour before the show begins, and pay no fees at all.

Face value of two tickets for Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings on May 8-9: $60. Bought through $72. Bought through the 9:30 club box office: $62. Savings: $10.

-- Buy tickets for Warner Theatre shows at the Warner box office (13th Street, between E and F streets NW; 202-783-4000) and pay only $5 processing per ticket.

Face value of two tickets to PJ Harvey and John Parish on June 5 at the Warner Theatre: $80. Bought through $105. Bought through the Warner box office: $90. Savings: $15.

-- Use cash instead of a credit card for Merriweather Post shows at the box office (10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy., Columbia; 410-715-5550) to save the 4 percent fee on tickets. Marylanders can also get 9:30 club tickets there, and they won't have to pay the dollar service charge levied at the club.

Face value for two lawn tickets to Jane's Addiction and Nine Inch Nails on June 9: $80. Bought through $101.70. Bought at Merriweather Post with cash: $80. Savings: $21.70.

-- By day, Verizon Center (601 F St. NW; is a Ticketmaster outlet that charges only a $1 service charge per ticket in advance for Verizon Center shows, and none at all if you buy on the day of the event.

Face value for two mid-level tickets for Beyoncé on June 24: $191.50. Bought through http://www.ticketmaster. com: $231. Brought through Verizon Center box office, $193.50. Savings: $37.50.

-- The Black Cat charges nothing extra for advance tickets purchased in person with cash at the venue (1811 14th St. NW; 202-667-4490) evenings beginning at 8. Buy online or by phone, and you'll have to purchase them through Ticketmaster and pay fees.

Face value for two tickets to Jay Reatard on July 5: $24. Bought through $31. Bought at the box office: $24. Savings: $7.

-- Patriot Center's box office (4400 University Dr., Fairfax.; 703-993-3000) adds only $2 per ticket for shows at the venue.

Face value for two better seats to Pink and the Ting Tings on Sept. 28: $99. Bought through $128.15. Bought through the box office: $103. Savings: $25.15.

NOTE: For box office hours, visit individual venues' Web sites.

-- Lavanya Ramanathan

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