Adriaan Roets
4 minute read
20 Nov 2019
1:54 pm

A guide to free things at concerts

Adriaan Roets

A certain big-name British singer is heading to a certain big arena next to Northgate Mall this weekend. If payday is looming, here's how you can get 'things' in for free.

Picture: iStock

If you met me at a braai and we had a few glasses of wine, you’d probably walk away with the following facts about me.

I’m a bit of a libtard, a champagne socialist, very optimistic with an incredibly dark sense of self.

You’d also find out about the fact that I love a bargain. In fact, one of the most relatable things I recently heard was an interview comedian Nicole Byer had with Seth Meyers, where she talks about her former love of shoplifting when times were tough.

“I used to love shoplifting,” she exclaims in the interview before adding, “It’s the best. You pick out what you want and you don’t pay.”

When it comes to giant corporations, and the toxic manifestation of exploitation within those systems, it’s easy to root for the Byers of the world.

Steal from the rich, give to the poor (even if it’s yourself).

But at the same braai, you’ll also find out I have a certain moral compass where stealing is wrong.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t jump the system.

And as a millennial, with limited income and no medical aid, sometimes you have to jump a few turnstiles to get a partial free ride.

Many concerts at this unnamed arena in Joburg have taught me the ticket for getting your buzz on is expensive, and I simply don’t have wads of cash for that.

But without outright stealing, if your wallet is a little low and you’re heading to a concert on Saturday, here’s things that can be Mahala.


From Red Bull to free tees, get to the concert arena a little earlier to see what you can find.

If someone wearing branded shirts heralds you closer, take a gamble. You might just walk away with a free shot, keychain or cap.

Remember to take a backpack and don’t be afraid to visit people promoting drinks more than once.

There will be more than one promotion so take advantage of each opportunity.


Paying upwards of R100 for bad wine sends chills down your spine. Concerts take even greater advantage of crowds when it comes to alcohol mark-ups.

You can get past security with our own drink – as long as you don’t make the error of decanting it into glass or metal, or store it in your backpack.

Take hard liquor and decant it into zip-lock bags that you reinforce with plastic wrap. Or, you get tiny plastic hip flasks at a number of stores.

Tape these to your ankles or slip them under the lining of your jacket (you can mend it later). Once inside, bite off the corner and easily add to mix or take sneaky shots.

Be very wary of the security guards hovering about if you don’t want to be caught. Clear alcohol can easily be decanted into water bottles while other liquids can be mixed.

As an effort to measure out karma I usually still pay for mix.


There’s still some technicalities regarding cannabis for personal use – but it remains a staple at any live music event and you can’t escape it.

However, if you don’t smoke, but want an altered state, and don’t want to drink alcohol, edibles seem to be a great way for that little kick. Visit sites like to see options and also support the small businessmen and women behind the products.


Eating at concerts can be a long and arduous ordeal.

Long lines are particularly irksome at the arena where a concert is taking place on Saturday. Eating before going is almost always advised,

However, there is a smoking spot at Entrance 3 that is usually reserved for VVIP and Early Entrants upon entry to the dome, so those entering from other entrances don’t know about it.

There’s also a bar and food stalls on the outside that usually don’t have that many people hovering about. Take advantage of these shorter lines.

If you see me on Saturday at said concert, I’ll be the guy squeezing liquid from the corner of a ziplock bag.

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