Concerts are almost as important to me as traveling. I’m used to getting all my last minute tickets on StubHub and Craigslist, but you won’t find concert tickets that way in the Czech Republic. Thankfully, you can still find your way into any show… most of the time. Here is how.
Though there is a Czech version of StubHub, this is simply not a popular website in the Czech Republic. You’re much more likely to find concert tickets at Viagogo which is a site that functions exactly the same way. The only difference is that it’s more common. So you might find only 3 or 4 tickets on Stubhub for a concert in Prague. But you’ll find at least a dozen on Viagogo for the same event.
The problem with this site is that people who use it tend to sell tickets higher than face value. In addition to that, you’ll be hit with the site’s processing fees. So though it’s an option, it’s not the best one. However it is convenient as you can usually get your tickets emailed to you and you don’t have to worry about meeting up in town to buy them.
Whether you live in Prague or you’re visiting, there are tons of local and expat groups on Facebook where people buy and sell things including concert tickets. One of the most popular groups is “Prague – Buy Sell Trade,” which has over 15,000 members looking to unload their junk. Most of these groups are closed, so you must first request to join before you can browse items for sale. Keep that in mind if you’re trying to get a ticket last minute. It may take a couple of hours or days to get approved as a member.
Buying tickets on Facebook groups is successful for bands and artists with a younger fan base. If you’re looking for tickets to see Ennio Morricone and the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, you’re probably out of luck. But if you want to go see The XX, you’ll easily find a ticket and some new friends to go with.
Like StubHub, Prague has its own Craigslist page but no one uses it. They use their own version called Bazos.cz. This site is only in Czech and in order to reply to ads via email, you have to register with a Czech number. But unlike Criagslist, most people list their phone number when they’re selling something on there. So as long as you don’t mind a couple of foreign text message charges on your phone bill, this is a good place to buy tickets. They are more likely to be sold at a fair price by regular people who just can’t make it for one reason or another.
Like tickets bought through Facebook groups, you’ll have to arrange a meeting with the person to get your tickets. I’ve never had any problems and I’ve done it three times. Just make sure you’re meeting somewhere public and that you’ve agreed on price. It’s probable also a good idea to bring exact change.
If all else fails, you can head to the venue on the day of the show and try your hand at buying a ticket from a scalper. I recently did this for the first time in Prague, and I am ashamed to admit, the Czechs have finally defeated me. I’ve never been shut out of an event I wanted to see. Whether online or in person, I’ve always found a way. I even got tickets to a Red Sox World Series game outside the stadium. But these Czech scalpers are something else.
First of all, it will be difficult to identify someone selling a ticket from someone smoking outside waiting for the show. So you’ll have to hover like a creep for some time before someone approaches you. Or until you work up the courage to talk to one of these large Eastern European thugs.
The other problem is that they don’t speak English. So communicating is difficult. Though one guy did speak enough English to tell me to go home and watch TV. I knew he would eat his words and approach me 15 minutes later if I was still around. And he did, offering the ticket a little cheaper, but still more than I wanted to spend.
From the hour I spent trying to acquire a ticket, I noticed that they work in packs. There are 5 or 6 guys who are all selling tickets working together. One of them holds the money, another watches over the operation, and 2 or 3 of them walk around trying to find buyers.
Generally speaking, buying concert tickets (or pretty much anything else off the street) is a game of wills. And usually, they want to sell it more desperately than you want to buy it. But Czechs for some reason don’t. These guys easily had at least 5 tickets each, but they wouldn’t go down to my price even after the show started. To be fair, I was trying to get a ticket under face value. Results may vary depending on how much you’re willing to spend.
One of them finally told me that he would sell at my price just before doors closed, which was an hour after the show started. But I was only willing to pay that price to see the whole show, not half of it. So I left. And I’m sure those guys were stuck with dozens of unused tickets, but they didn’t seem to care.
So if your last resort is finding a ticket outside the venue, bring enough cash and get ready to negotiate for an hour.