A few weeks ago, I was standing in London’s Hyde Park as global superstar P!NK soared through the air above me, singing that it was time to Get the Party Started.

It was incredible.

All around me were friends dancing, families laughing and couples cuddling (except for one lesbian couple who broke up in front of me).

But I was alone. And, let me tell you, I felt all the better for it.

Since P!NK’s show was announced in October 2022, I had tried and failed to convince friends, acquaintances, and even exes that the one thing they needed to do this summer was go to this concert with me. 

How could anyone say no to hearing Who Knew – one of the best songs of all time – live?

But none of them said yes – so, baffled by the uncultured people in my life, I finally got myself a ticket two days before and prepared myself for what would be one of the best concerts of my life. 

After buying the ticket, I felt a rush of excitement, but also felt silly for waiting so long to get one. I’d already done plenty of concerts alone and knew how much fun I could have going solo.

Now I get that we live in a world that makes it feel awkward or embarrassing to go to a gig by yourself. I’ve lost count of the times people have said to me: ‘Didn’t you have someone to go with you?’ 

And yes, it can be enormously fun to see a live show with some friends. But you can also find power, freedom and joy in going it alone.

Truth be told, I’m no stranger to flying solo at concerts. In fact, I’ve been to more concerts by myself than I have with friends.

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I’m not alone in going to shows on my own – last year, it was revealed that two in five people (40%) in the US enjoy going to concerts by themselves – and I would go as far as to say I now prefer going to concerts alone. In fact, I want to see more people doing it!

In the spirit of honesty, I should say that my love affair with solo concerts didn’t start from a happy place. In fact, it started from a place of childhood trauma.

Growing up in the ‘90s and ‘00s, my favourite singers were (and continue to be) divas. If they had a big voice and a huge power ballad, chances are I was obsessed. None more so than with the songbird supreme, Mariah Carey. 

But my peers at the time were kind enough to let me know that this wasn’t the kind of music a teenage boy should be proud to listen to. Rumours spread through the school that I was gay.

I was bullied, made fun of and ostracised – it wasn’t easy, to say the least.

To protect myself, I would tell new people I met that my favourite artists were Usher and (inexplicably) the Black Eyed Peas. 

So when a diva came to town, I didn’t have a choice. If I wanted to go, it had to be alone. I didn’t have many friends and I was too embarrassed to ask the few I did have if they would go with me.

The first concert I went to alone was Mariah Carey at Madison Square Garden on New Year’s Eve 2009 when I was 18. I stood there at my seat anxiously, simultaneously wanting someone to speak with me so I felt less alone, but also wanting to feel invisible. 

But all that anxiety and insecurity washed away the moment Mariah hit the stage with All I Want For Christmas Is You. All I could see and hear was her for the next hour and 45 minutes.

As intimidating as it was at first, going to concerts alone helped me find myself, a community and a sense of confidence I so desperately needed.

More from Platform

Platform is the home of Metro.co.uk’s first-person and opinion pieces, devoted to giving a platform to underheard and underrepresented voices in the media.

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The first time I ever admitted to myself that I was gay was when Lady Gaga sang Boys Boys Boys on the Monster Ball tour in 2010. 

Even though it would take me almost a year from that day to come out to someone else, I know it would have taken longer had I not have felt that love and safety from being surrounded by queer people in the crowd that night.

There are other perks that come with going it alone at a gig, too.

For one thing, the rising cost of tickets means you can spend however much or little you want on a ticket without worrying about other people’s budgets. Not to mention you can arrive at the concert and leave whenever you want.

There’s also freedom in not having to worry about whether the people you’re with are enjoying themselves. I remember taking my cousin to see Lana Del Rey in Liverpool in 2017 and I could tell she wasn’t loving it because she didn’t know a lot of the songs.

I became so concerned with making sure my cousin had fun, I couldn’t properly enjoy the concert myself. 

So, part of what’s so liberating about going to a concert alone is you don’t have to worry about other people’s experiences – and focus on your own. I loved the P!NK concert so much because I could sing, dance and cry with absolute abandon. 

For those still afraid to take the risk, let me tell you one last anecdote. Five years ago, I went to Nottingham for a Mariah Carey show. I wore all my favourite Mariah merch and sat just about as far away as you could get from the stage. 

Out of nowhere, a man appeared beside me and offered me a free third row ticket because I looked like a true fan (or lamb, as Mariah calls us).

So, let this be a small reminder that if you let the fear of what other people might think hold you back, you might just miss out on the best night of your life!

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