What are General Admission Tickets: Everything You Need to Know

Banner what are general admission tickets

When planning to attend a live event, you might encounter various ticketing options, among which “General Admission” tickets are quite common. But what does general admission mean, and how does it differ from other types of tickets? This guide aims to explain GA tickets, offering insights into their characteristics, benefits, drawbacks, and best practices for event organizers.

What is general admission?

General Admission refers to the ticketing system option where seats are not assigned. Attendees have the flexibility to choose their spot on a first-come, first-served basis.  This could mean standing areas at concerts, open seating at theaters, or unmarked spots at sporting events. Music festivals, for instance, often rely heavily on General Admission ticket sales for revenue. For example, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, known as one of the top-grossing music festivals worldwide, reportedly earned over $114 million in 2017 from General Admission tickets alone.

Benefits of General Admission Seating

An event venue that is full of empty chairs

For Event Organizers:

  • Cost Efficiency

With GA tickets, there’s no need to create and manage detailed seating charts. This reduces the time and resources needed for planning and organizing seat assignments. Also, selling and distributing GA tickets is simpler and it reduces administrative work and operational costs.

  • Increased Flexibility

General admission seating offers flexibility to handle last-minute ticket sales and varying crowd sizes. It also allows the venue to be arranged to fit different events best.

  • Improved Crowd Dynamics

GA seating creates a lively atmosphere because people can choose their own spots and often gather near the stage, fostering a sense of excitement. Without assigned seating, entry and exit can be quicker and smoother.

For Attendees:

A group of attendees listening attentively to the event's speaker

  • Freedom of Choice

Attendees have the freedom to choose their location based on their preferences, such as proximity to the stage, preferred sightlines, or being near friends. Also, GA seating allows attendees to roam around during the event, whether to get a better view, find quieter spots, or join groups.

  • Enhance Experience

General Admission seating lets fans get closer to the action at concert and sports events, especially in standing-room-only sections. It also promotes a sense of community, as people share the experience and interact more easily.

  • Budget-friendly

GA tickets are often cheaper than reserved seats. This affordability makes events accessible to a wider range of attendees with tight budgets.

  • Accessibility

Every attendee has the same chance to secure a good spot, regardless of when they purchased their ticket, often benefiting those who arrive early.

Considerations and Tips:

  • Arrive Early: To get the best spots, it’s often beneficial for attendees to arrive early. This can be a trade-off in terms of time but it is usually worth it for prime positioning.
  • Be Prepared for Standing: At many GA events, particularly concerts, standing for long periods is common. Additionally, wearing comfortable shoes and being ready for a more dynamic experience can enhance enjoyment.
  • Plan for Personal Comfort: Bringing essentials like water, snacks, and, if permitted, a small cushion or blanket can make the GA experience more comfortable.

Comparing General Admission vs. Other Types of Tickets

A woman holding a general admission tickets

General Admission:

Description: Standard entry with no assigned seating.


  • Lower cost, making it accessible to a broader audience.
  • Simpler logistics for event organizers.


  • Fewer amenities or exclusive benefits.
  • No guaranteed seating, which might be less appealing to some attendees.

VIP Tickets:

Description: Premium access with perks like reserved seating, exclusive areas, and additional services.


  • Enhanced attendee experience with added value.
  • Higher revenue per ticket.


  • Higher costs limit the number of potential buyers.
  • It is more complex to manage due to additional services and areas.

Early Bird Tickets:

Description: Discounted tickets are available for a limited time before the event.


  • Encourages early sales, providing upfront cash flow.
  • Creates a sense of urgency and early commitment from attendees.


  • Reduced revenue per ticket compared to standard pricing.

Group Tickets:

Description: Discounts for purchasing multiple tickets at once.


  • Attracts larger groups, increasing overall attendance.
  • Encourages attendees to bring friends or colleagues.


  • Lower revenue per ticket, though compensated by volume.

Tiered Tickets:

Description: Various pricing levels based on benefits, seating, and access.


  • Appeals to a wider range of budgets and preferences.
  • Maximizes revenue by offering options from basic to premium.


  • It is more complex to manage and communicate the differences.

Setting Up General Admission Tickets for Events

A person planning thoroughly for the upcoming event

Plan Early and Thoroughly

Begin planning well in advance of the event information and date to account for all necessary logistics, including venue selection, permits, and staffing requirements. Thorough planning helps to anticipate and mitigate potential challenges.

Define Your Pricing Strategy

Determine the pricing structure for general admission tickets based on factors such as the event’s budget, target audience, and perceived value. Consider offering discount codes, group rates, or package deals to your patrons to incentivize ticket sales. 

Choose the Right Ticketing Platform

If you’re a new event organizer, Event Espresso is a one-time solution for your event ticketing needs, registration, and customer support. Trusted by thousands of event planners, Event Espresso offers a user-friendly interface, robust features, and reliable support to help you manage your events effortlessly.

What sets Event Espresso apart from other ticketing platforms is its 0% commission fee, allowing you to maximize your revenue without any additional costs. With Event Espresso, you have everything you need to organize and execute your events from beginning to end successfully.

Optimize Entry and Exit Processes

As an event organizer, it is important to properly create efficient entry and exit access to reduce wait times and ensure smooth crowd flow. Moreover, you can use QR codes or RFID wristbands to differentiate what kind of tickets attendees avail and provide fast, secure ticket validation.

Mark General Admission Areas

To enhance the attendee experience, clearly designate general admission seating or standing areas within the venue using seat numbers, signage, barriers, or floor marking. This will help you and your attendees navigate the event space and ensure a clear distinction between GA and reserved seating sections for patrons.

Ensure Adequate Facilities and Services

Make sure your event venue provides ample facilities and services to meet the needs of your attendees, especially people with disabilities. This includes essential amenities (restrooms, concessions, first aid stations) and seating areas (if applicable) to enhance the attendee experience. Also, ensure that these facilities are easily accessible throughout the event.

Promote Your Event Effectively

To make your event stand out and drive ticket sales, you can utilize a mix of online and offline channels (like social media, email marketing, press releases, advertising, etc). However, even with all these ways to promote your event, remember how effective word-of-mouth can be.

Ask your friends and contacts to spread the word. This can help increase interest and ticket sales and you can make your event more noticeable and attract both new customers and returning attendees.

Prepare for Crowd Management

A person monitoring the CCTV camera for crowd management.

To guarantee the smooth operation of your event and prevent overcrowding, it is essential to implement a solid crowd management strategy. First, conduct a thorough risk assessment to identify potential hazards related to crowd control. Consider factors such as the event size, location, and the expected crowd behavior. 

Don’t forget to set up systems that guide how people move and behave. This includes using fences or barriers, clear signs, and specific spots for entering and leaving the area. The goal is to avoid overcrowding and make sure everyone can move around easily and safely.

Also, ensure you have a clear plan for emergencies, covering medical situations, evacuations, and handling disruptive individuals. Make sure your team, including staff and volunteers, is well-trained to deal with unexpected situations. And their top priority should always be the safety and comfort of everyone attending.

Additionally, use a communication device such as radios, mobile apps, or other communication tools for quick dissemination of information and coordination in response to any issues that arise. The use of CCTV cameras can help monitor crowds and detect problems early. Real-time monitoring enables quick action to prevent safety issues.

Enhance the Attendee Experience

Think about ways to make the event more enjoyable for attendees, like adding interactive activities, entertainment, or special benefits for general admission ticket holders. Pay close attention to details such as comfortable seating, good lighting, good view, and high-quality sound to ensure a memorable atmosphere.

Collect Feedback and Analyze Performance

After the event, gather feedback from attendees through surveys, social media, or evaluations to understand their experience and inventory purposes. Additionally, analyze ticket sales, attendance, and revenue data to assess the event’s success and identify areas for improvement in future iterations.

Examples of Events with General Admission Tickets

Music Concerts and Festivals

Music festivals like Coachella and Glastonbury often use general admission tickets. This ticketing approach allows festival-goers the freedom to explore different stages and select their preferred viewing areas. From up-and-coming indie bands to chart-topping headliners, music concerts and festivals offer a range of performances to suit varied preferences.

Sporting Events

Sporting events like NBA games or football matches offer general admission tickets for a certain section of the venue. Fans have the freedom to move around within the designated areas. General admission seating also promotes a lively atmosphere, as spectators can interact with fellow fans and engage in the excitement of the game.

Theater Performances

Some theaters and performance venues use general admission tickets, especially for casual or interactive shows. Improv comedy clubs, for example, often have general admission seating. This means audience members can sit wherever they like and enjoy the humor up close. It creates a laid-back vibe and helps people feel connected to each other.

Community and Cultural events

Community events, cultural festivals, and art exhibitions often use general admission tickets to welcome people from different backgrounds and ages. For example, street fairs highlight local artists, while multicultural festivals showcase various traditions. With general admission, people can mingle and explore at their own speed, trying out different things and enjoying the mix of experiences.

Why Offer Different Ticket Type

Offering a variety of ticket types for an event is a smart move that benefits everyone involved. This strategy is all about recognizing that people have different wants, needs, and budgets. Let’s break down why this approach is so effective and important:

Making more Money

Having different ticket types, especially ones that offer special perks for a higher price, means you can attract people who are willing to pay extra for the best possible experience. At the same time, by also offering more affordable options, you can ensure that more people can attend your event. This way, you’re not just making your event accessible to a wider audience, but you’re also boosting your revenue by catering to different spending capacities.

Personalizing the Experience

Everyone likes to have options that suit their personal preferences and budget. Some might want VIP treatment, while others might be happy just to be part of the event. By offering different ticket types, you let attendees choose how they want to experience your event, leading to happier guests.

Learning About Your Audience

The types of tickets that sell the most can give you valuable insights into what your audience prefers. This information is gold when it comes to planning future events because it helps you understand what works best and what your attendees value the most.

Pros and Cons of General Admission Seating


Flexibility in choosing where to sit or stand

One of the biggest perks of GA tickets is the flexibility they offer. Without actual seating location, you have the freedom to choose where to sit or which section row and seat to stand. This can be particularly appealing for those who prefer to decide on the spot or want to group with friends without the constraint of pre-selected assigned or reserved seats.

Potential for closer proximity to the stage or field

For many, for example, the allure of general admission tickets lies in the potential to secure a spot close to the stage or field. If you’re willing to arrive early, you can position yourself in prime viewing areas, by being closer to the action or your favorite performers.

Generally more affordable than reserved seating

General admission tickets are more affordable than reserved seating options. This price difference, therefore, makes attending events more accessible to a wider audience. As a result, more fans can enjoy live performances or games without breaking the bank


Long wait times to secure a good spot

Securing a good spot with a general admission ticket often means arriving long before the event starts. This can lead to extended periods of waiting, which might be inconvenient or uncomfortable, especially in adverse weather conditions or without amenities like restrooms or food services nearby.

Potential for overcrowding

Without fixed seating, general admission areas for example at concerts can become overcrowded, as there’s a natural tendency for people to push toward the front or fill up available space. This can lead to discomfort, reduce enjoyment of the event, and even raise safety concerns in extreme cases.

Less comfort compared to assigned seating

The lack of assigned seating means you might end up standing for the duration of the event occupied on a first take, which can be tiring and less comfortable than having a guaranteed seat. In some venues, the general admission area may have limited seating options or none at all, which can be a significant drawback for those who prefer or require a seat for health and comfort reasons.


For organizers still new to the event industry, leveraging ticketing platforms like Event Espresso can streamline the event planning and management process. Event Espresso stands out by offering the ability to create unlimited events, display events on calendar pages, and check in attendees by scanning event tickets or with mobile apps.

Unlike other platforms, Event Espresso provides comprehensive features designed to simplify event organization and ensure seamless execution. If you want your next event more efficient and your attendees happier, sign up for Event Espresso today or start your free demo now!

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