Tickets for most area concerts are sold through one of two national ticket outlets. Both have multiple telephone numbers and add service charges to the stated ticket prices. (Most venues also have their own box offices that you can visit to purchase tickets directly and avoid service charges.)

Ticketmaster handles tickets for Nissan Pavilion, Merriweather Post Pavilion, MCI Center, Carter Barron Amphitheatre and many smaller venues. In the Washington area, call 202-397-7328; in Baltimore, 410-547-7328; in Northern Virginia, 703-573-7328; and from farther away 800-551-7328 (on the telephone keypad, "7328" spells "SEAT"). Sales booths are in many Hecht's, Tower Records and Record & Tape Traders stores. Web site: www.ticketmaster.com.

Wolf Trap Park, the 9:30 club, the George Mason University Center for the Arts and some other venues sell their tickets through Tickets.com. In the Washington area, call 703-218-6500; and outside the region, 800-955-5566. Tickets.com also has retail counters in some Olsson's Books & Records and Coconuts stores. Web site: www.tickets.com.

The Kennedy Center operates its own Instant-Charge service. For all shows at the Kennedy Center, call 202-467-4600 or 800-444-1324 (TDD: 202-416-8524). Web site: www.kennedy-center.org.