Here's how to get tickets for the Rock the Garden festival.
- Become a member of Minnesota Public Radio, or the Walker Art Center. MPR and Walker members can buy tickets before the general public, and for Rock the Garden 2010, 2011, and 2012, MPR/Walker members bought all the tickets before the rest of us got a chance. It costs a minimum of $5 a month to join MPR, which goes to support independent radio, and also gets you discounts at hundreds of local shops and restaurants: well worth the money. Becoming a member of the Walker Art Center starts at $60 annually for an individual membership, and will get you free gallery admission plus a variety of other benefits.
- Know when tickets are to go on sale, and buy yours early. The lineup is announced in mid-April, and tickets go on sale to MPR and Walker members immediately after. Tickets are sold on the Walker Art Center website.
- If you are not a MPR or Walker Art Center member, hope that enough tickets are left for some to go on sale to the general public. Any remaining tickets are bound to go fast, so buy as soon as possible.
What if it sells out before you get your ticket? Like most other cities, Minneapolis' ticket marketplace is craigslist. With 10,00 tickets, there's plenty of people who won't be able to go and will be selling theirs. Most sellers are asking around double face value, although that should drop some as the concert grows near and the risk of not selling the tickets before the event increases.
Don't want to pay inflated prices for tickets? With a little music knowledge, you could trade for a Rock the Garden ticket. Watch show announcements for a show that's highly likely to sell out quickly, and buy a ticket for that. Then, if all goes to plan, that show will sell out before Rock the Garden, and you can offer your ticket on craigslist in trade for a Rock the Garden ticket. And if your plan fails, you can still go to that show! As an example, in 2011, if you had happened to have picked up tickets for the sold-out Mumford and Sons show at the Varsity Theater, you could have found plenty of takers to trade one of those for a Rock the Garden ticket. Sporting event tickets might work too - tickets to a sold-out Twins game? - or anything else you can think of to trade.
Or, you can try to buy a ticket on the day of Rock the Garden. Whether encouraging ticket scalpers is a good idea or not is debatable, but there's usually plenty available on the street on the day of the event. This might help your negotiating: at Rock the Garden 2009, scalpers were paying $10 each for unwanted tickets. Trying craigslist right before the event may also get you a good deal from someone who needs to offload their ticket that day.
Or, how about not paying anything to get in, and receiving a free t-shirt? It will require work from you though. Several hundred staff and volunteer personnel are needed to run Rock the Garden. Getting a volunteer position at Rock the Garden gets you in to see the show, you do one shift, not work through the whole event, and they'll give you a cool shirt as well. Email MPR for the latest on volunteer opportunities at Rock the Garden.