A few months back I was on an endless conference call at work, browsing my Facebook and Twitter feeds when I came across a status update from Florence + The Machine announcing a ticket giveaway lottery for a super-secret private show. I sent the email to the designated address.
A week or so later, I got an email announcing I had won two tickets to the filming of Flo’s MTV Unplugged concert. The next night I was in a historic synagogue in the LES with about 100 other people including Kanye West and Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age, who was Johnny to her June on a duet of “Jackson.” It was one of the most intimate and classy shows I’ve ever attended.
The same thing happened a few weeks ago for Delta Spirit’s record release party. Saw the @BrooklynVegan contest announcement tweet, liked the event page on Facebook and a few days later I was on the guest list for a bar crawl and tiny show at Public Assembly. Don’t even get me started on The Black Keys “El Camino” record release show (best and most harrowing day ever).
The point is that bands are brands, and just like every brand these days, they have social media marketing gurus. They will likely have a release party for their new album and it will be in New York. Most bands prefer to invite the fans to attend such a show instead of packing it with pseudo-celebrity VIPs. Then there are the venue, the label, the sponsoring booze brand, any other invested affiliates will announce such a party/show on Twitter and/or Facebook. There will likely be some kind of lottery via Twitter or Facebook.
Also, bands often announce new tour dates and ticket pre-sales, secret appearances (e.g., Record Store Day), and sometimes even where they’re hanging out while in New York via Twitter. Follow every band you’re even remotely interested in and scan their tweets to figure out who of their friends and followers might be likely to divulge such info and follow them too. Follow venues, restaurants, booze brands, blogs, writers that have written stories about bands you dig.
Aside from all the rad free shows I’ve scored entry to, my favorite Twitter reward (and go to first date story) came from a food truck (which I also stalk religiously.) One day last summer @biggayicecream announced special guest @OttaviaBourdain (Anthony’s wife) would be working the truck that afternoon. Being a MAJOR fan of Mr. Bourdain, I knew he had a book signing that night at the Union Square Barnes & Noble. So on a hunch, I ambled over to the truck after work, hoping to bump into @NoReservations himself.
As I approached I knew it was him from a distance, just kind of loitering around on the corner by Pret. No one else had noticed him yet. I pounced. “Tony!… Um, I mean, Mr. Bourdain. I love you man, can I get a picture?” He didn’t really have a choice, so I snapped a few. Me: looking ridiculous with a shit eating grin on my face. Him: cool and immune to his fame.
Another outlet of free events, parties, networking opportunities, etc., throughout the year are the local film and music festivals. Sometimes they even give out free passes via Facebook and Twitter (a friend of mine won 2 passes through @Bonnaroo last year). Here’s a short list to follow:
@tribecafilmfest – Tribeca Enterprises hosts loads of lectures, events, parties, screenings and a full roster of independent films annually in late April. Last year I scored tickets via Twitter to the premier of “Bang Bang Club” where, while standing out front acting cool enough to be there, I was asked by Ryan Phillippe where the VIP entrance was (I did not tell him it was in my pants).
@nysff – The New York Surf Film Festival is a week of stoke-inducing films, parties, fashion shows, events, etc., held annually in September. Last year I won a really cool swag bag just by being their 1,000th Facebook follower.
@BigAppleFilm – Spotlights NYC filmmakers annually in November.
@cmj – The College Music Journal Music Marathon and Film Festival has become a massive week-long party in New York City and Brooklyn recurring every October. Follow them for info on up-in-coming bands and planning your CMJ2012 schedule of parties, lectures, shows, films and networking events. Last year they gave away a bunch of badges via Twitter raffles.
Here’s a list of some other miscellaneous handles that often tip readers off to free stuff to fill those funemployed days and nights:
@brooklynvegan: Definitive NYC music site.
@nycwhisky: Free daily whiskey tastings & events throughout Brooklyn and Manhattan.
@myfreeconcertNY: Their website features a giveaways page for free ticket contests via Twitter and Facebook).
@wfuv and @Alternate_Side: Remember when you used to sit in the car all day and have the radio station’s phone number on speed dial for call in ticket contests? Yeah, now they do that on Twitter.
@MagicHatContest: Everyone’s favorite hippie brewing company also hosts frequent ticket giveaway contests.
@NewYorkThrifty: Free juggling lessons, movie screenings, ice skating, tax prep, etc. I’ll definitely be bringing my bedazzler out of retirement for this: “$19 for a package valued at $455 at Glamour Shots! Makeover, wardrobe changes, 2 hour shoot, Slideshow DVD, 8×10 photo:http://bit.ly/zlBA4W”
Follow me @raeinbk (and check out who I follow for more broke-friendly tweeters)