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I Set A Goal Of Going To One Concert A Month In 2016 And This Is What Happened...

I've always loved the experience of going to concerts so instead of setting unrealistic goals for 2016, I challenged myself to go to one concert a month. I didn't think I would follow through with it to the level I did. Check out my experience and look below for my advice on how to do this on your own!

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January: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

"My one goal for 2016 is to attend at least one concert each month—and dance, and cry, and laugh, and have a really, really good time, have a blast, and remember those moments for the rest of my life." // This is where the journey began.

January: Chainsmokers

Then came The Chainsmokers. They had a huge 2016 and now they're a popular name but they weren't as big when I saw them a year ago. Would it surprise you if I told you I paid $20 for this GA concert? Crazy, huh?

February: Julieta Venegas

This may be a good time to explain that I'm a bilingual Hispanic and I enjoy listening to music as much in English as in Spanish. Julieta Venegas and her music helped me through my puppy love stages so finally seeing her live almost made me feel 10 years old again.

March: Siggno

Ahh, speaking of music in Spanish—here's Siggno. Great regional Mexican band that plays great Tejano music. This concert was a little different than I expected. Most of the concerts I attend to have young crowds (15-35) but this show brought out a bunch of 40+ year olds. Definitely a bit weird at first but I quickly forgot about that as the night went on.

Quick thing about March—SXSW happened

I can't believe I haven't disclosed this yet, but I live in Austin, Texas aka "The Live Music Capital City of the World." I moved here 5 years ago and have loved every moment of it. Being a naturalized Austinite means I get to enjoy all the perks of a city that loves music and South by South West (SXSW) is one of them. (See ACL below for more.) If you don't already know about it, SXSW is a week-long (now like two weeks) festival where people from all over the world come together to share their music, films, and much more. This year, I got involved as much as I could and got to see some really cool shows. For the sake of brevity, I'll only include the main bands I knew and took pictures of. There were plenty more that I listened to but I'm not counting them for this challenge.

March: Jesse y Joy at SXSW

Spotify put together their own venue in some parking lot by East Austin and hosted different artists all throughout the week. This show was free to the public with an RSVP and I only had to wait in line for about an hour to get in. Jesse and Joy performed and BOY—THEY ARE AMAZING.

March: 2 Chainz at SXSW

I love social media as much as the next millennial, but I don't think I had ever loved it as much as during SXSW this past year. I made it a point to follow all the right Twitter accounts to get the latest scoop on new shows and it turns out ATT's Culture Collide was set to host 2Chainz at the rooftop of a downtown building on a Thursday night. The best part is they gave away a pair of tickets through Twitter and guess who won? THIS GUY! But that wasn't all.... look at the next post.


FLO FREAKING RIDA AT SXSW!!! That's me with the big smile throwing my Hook 'em Horns (I'm a graduate of the University of Texas) next to Mr. Flo Rida. Oh and yes, he totally grabbed my phone to snap this picture of us. Pretty awesome, right?? I forgot to mention this show was also free as a courtesy of the folks at ATT Culture Collide. When I messaged them to claim my 2Chainz passes, I asked if I could get the chance to attend Flo Rida on Friday night because he truly is one of my favorite artists. SO LEGIT. I thought my 2016 concert challenge had peaked here but it didn't...... ;)

March: Intocable at SXSW

If you're Mexican, you know who Intocable is. You've cried to their songs and dedicated them to your lover or your ex. They are part of you know and your kids will all know about them someday. I closed out my SXSW week with their free show in front of a large Hispanic crowd with the Austin skyline behind them. I may or may not have cried a tear or two.

April: March Madness Music Festival ft Aloe Blacc, Flo Rida, PITBULL♥️, and Maroon5

UGH WORDS AREN'T ENOUGH TO EXPLAIN THIS ONE. I traveled to Houston for a free show put on by the folks behind the March Madness Championship. THIS SHOW WAS AMAZING. I couldn't find a single friend who wanted to go with me since but I decided I couldn't miss it. I stood in line for an hour and eventually stood in front of the stage for like 8 hours. No joke. I made friends and asked them buy me water because I was close to passing out. In the end, the show was everything I could have asked for. Saw Flo Frida again. Aloe Blacc for the first time. Maroon 5 also for the first time and let me tell you they're as amazing live as in the radio. Holy crap—they are good. & PITBULL FOR THE SIXTH TIME. Yes, Pitbull for the sixth time. He's my fav artist (judge me, I don't care) and it was unbelievable. Best price? FREE. (minus the ride and the bottles of water I bought)

April: iHeart Country Festival 2016

This event was probably one of the most random one of the year. There's a company called 1iota (you may have heard of them) and they basically provide services that connect audiences with artists. I found out they were looking for people to serve as "seat fillers" during this event as it would be recorded for TV and all seats needed to appear filled. I submitted my entry online and got a message that I could go the day of the event for a chance to get in. I never expected I'd have the chance to see a bunch of great country artists from so up-close. We were right in the middle section of the stage, probably 10 rows out. It was amazing. AND FREE.

April: iHeart Country Festival 2016 (continued)

Zac Brown Band, Miranda Lambert, Keith Urban, Florida Georgia Line, Sam Hunt, Chris Young, Lee Brice, Thomas Rhett, Brett Eldrege, and Cole Swindwell—those are the artists I got to see. What an exceptional show right in the heart of Austin. I loved this so much (mostly because I love ZBB and they performed my fav songs.)

May: The Tamale Kingpin aka Chingo Bling (saaaas)

So I have to admit that even with the hundreds of concerts in Austin that happen in a given month, sometimes it's hard to find one that you actually want to go to. Instead of spending money on a random show, I decided to modify the challenge a bit to include performers that are not exactly singers. Chingo Bling is a comedian that performs stand-up but also does a phenomenal job singing parodies to popular songs. (Youtube him!) In a way, he did fit right into this challenge but I thought I should disclose that he's a comedian before someone makes a comment about it. Anyways. his show rocked!! Saaaaas!

June: Random band at Son's Island

You're probably looking at this and wondering what the heck is going on. No, we're not a band (although we are a squad, which is a kind of a band—right? friendship is a band and stuff? no, okay). So I was really broke during June. My friends and I went on a day trip to a place called Son's Island as a mini vacation and late at night, we attended a small concert by some random band. I didn't catch their name nor remember any of their songs but I definitely enjoyed the live music. I would have uploaded a video but my phone lost a bunch of videos that were apparently corrupted :'( Anyways, enjoy this image of some people I care about a lot.

August: Blues on the Green

Okay you're probably wondering why there's yet another image of non-concert action? Well, there's a good explanation. Blues on the Green is an event that happens during summers in Austin where they host a series of free concerts each month from May through August. I couldn't tell you who played (okay, I just looked it up and it was The Sufferers—ring a bill? Here either...) but it's about going out there and having a good time. Just take a blanket, some cold drinks, and good snacks. I guarantee you'll have a good time. Pro tip: take a cooler filled with your favorite booze to enjoy as the music plays—just don't drive after and definitely don't be an obnoxious fool.

Agosto: Tigres del Norte

Esto si lo tengo que decir en español. No puedo creer que tuve la oportunidad de ver a Los Tigres aquí en Austin y en primer fila. OSEA QUEEEEEE??? Todos conocen a Los Tigres. Tus abuelos lloraron con ellos. Tus papás lloraron con ellos. Tu lloraste con ellos. Tus hijos, nietos, y bisnietos van a llorar con ellos. // For you non-Spanish speakers, just know these guys are amazing and I recommend you learn Spanish just to understand their music. They're incredible.

August: Coldplay

That's right. Coldplay. COLDPLAY. COLD-FREAKING-PLAY!!! This show is the one I had to work hardest for. It was the most expensive out of the year and the farthest one I had to travel for (show was in Dallas at the Cowboys Stadium) but it was worth it all. These guys will go down as the icons of our generation and getting to see them live was unbelievable. Pro tip for Coldplay concerts: take a pack of tissues for when you start crying.

September/October: ACL Fest

Okay I did not cheat by combining two months. If you don't already know ACL, it's short of Austin Citiy Limits—an annual music festival that brings in artists of all genres to perform at our most beloved park. (This is our Coachella or Lollapalooza.) I got weekend one passes and it just so happened that the first day was the last day of September and the other two days were the first two of October. I think this was God looking out for my poor bank account. Anyways, it did not disappoint. I listened to a bunch of new music and saw some of my favorite bands perform. If you have never been to ACL before, I completely recommend you go. Pro tip: stay hydrated.

ACL Bonus: Two Door Cinema Club

View this video on YouTube

I discovered TDCC just this year (judge me, it's cool). These guys were probably the highlight of the weekend. Completely incredible. Other noteworthy artists/bands I saw: Mumford & Sons, KACEY MUSGRAVES♥️, Blue October, Kendrick Lamar, Flume, M83, LL Cool J, The Naked & Famous, St. Paul & The Broken Bones (look them up!), City and Colour. I forgot the rest :’(

November: Andy Grammer

You may think you don't know Andy Grammer but you do. He has the catchiest songs ever so I couldn't pass up the chance to see him when he came to town. His show was actually paired with Devin DeGraw (see one below) but I thought his set was LEGIT. He sounds exactly like on the radio and I found that very satisfying. I got a great deal on the GA floor tickets so going was a most. Totally worth it.

November: Gavin DeGraw

Great show. I wasn't the biggest fan coming in but I left very pleased with his performance. I added more of his music to my regular playlists. Totally recommend you catch his show if he goes to your town. For all you One Tree Hill fans, listening to the theme song live will make you cry. It didn't make me cry, but I saw people who were definitely getting a little teary.

November: Maná

I love it when artists use their platforms to promote messages about love, empowerment, and tolerance. Maná is a Mexican rock band that I've listened since I used pampers. Some of the earliest songs I remember are from them so getting to see them live was already incredible enough. Being there and seeing how much of the show was devoted to letting the audience know that there is power in Latinos left me in awe. Now that we have a president who isn't the kindest to people of other backgrounds and ethnicities, it's important at we remind ourselves that we're all important. Sorry about plugging in my political thoughts but if you've read this much, I think you deserve to know more about me. Anyway, Maná's show was probably one of my favorites of the year. Also, I almost forgot to mention I got these tickets for FREE from Latino 102.7, my favorite Austin radio station! Gracias Latino!!

November: Maná (bonus)

"Anoche el reloj cucú corrió mientras la emoción de escuchar a Maná me lleno de pies a cabeza. Bendita la luz de su música que siempre nos manda señales y nos hace sentir que podemos rayar el sol. Gracias, Maná, por un concierto increíble en #SATX."

December: Sin Bandera

So November came around and I had no idea what show I was going to attend during December to close out my challenge. I wanted it to be a meaningful concert but there was literally nothing I could find that was worthy of the grand finale. Then out of nowhere, I got an email that Sin Bandera was going to perform in San Antonio and I lost my mind. They're a Mexican pop band and I've loved their music since I was like 7 or 8. No joke. They stopped playing together for basically a decade and out of nowhere decided to come back for one last tour, aka "Una Última Vez" (Spanish for "One Last Time). I sang the night away and when it was all set and done, it hit me that I had officially brought closure to this challenge. *insert tears here*

December: Sin Bander (Bonus Instagram post—sorry the caption is in Spanish)

"Anoche tuve la oportunidad de ver a Sin Bandera en vivo y a la vez cumplir mi reto de asistir a un concierto en cada mes del 2016. He aquí declaro mi bandera de triunfo y agradezco a Dios que me alcanzó la vida (y dinero) para poder cumplir esta meta. Colorín colorado, este reto se ha acabado. #unaultimaveztour #sinbandera"

Recap, Thoughts, & Advice

Okay I'm not sure if you kept up, but I completely overdid my challenge. I was hoping for one concert a month and in some months I had as many as THREE! (I'm not even counting the dozen artists I saw during SXSW and ACL.) I learned a lot about this and I'm hoping you can take some of my advice.

Here's what I learned and some advice for you:

* Find a buddy who's crazy enough to take this challenge with you

* Subscribe to all the newsletters/emails/alerts from any music venue or ticket seller you know of. (Ticketmaster, iHeart Radio, ATT Center, etc.) The reasoning here is that you'll get first notice of shows and that will help you get the best seats

* Try to win tickets or go to free events! Half the shows I went to this year were free! It's not that hard if you dedicate a little bit of time to this!!

* Buy tickets early and make a plan!

* Don't be afraid to drive to another city if you really like the artist

* Look online for the concert setlist. This will help you prepare for it by knowing which songs they're going to play! (this one is optional if you want to be taken by surprise!)

* Take pictures for the memories! I always record videos when I'm up-close but you don't have to. I know a lot of people get annoyed. Just make sure you have some memories you can look back to later (and for social media posts)

* Always have a portable charger cause you might run out of battery #21stcenturyprobz

* If no one else is down to go with you to a show, go alone! It's not weird. You're gonna have a blast if you really like the artist. I've done it three times now and they've probably been some of my best experiences. Plus, be social and you'll make friends at the venues!

* Find a creative way to display all your ticket stubs after the shows

* You gotta have fun with this! Get out there and have a good time!!

Happy concert going!

Hope you got something from my experience and can use it as inspiration for a future challenge of your own. I promise you it's a blast!

I'll probably chill on concerts for a while, but if you wanna keep up with my future concert experiences or new challenges, follow me on Instagram and Twitter!

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