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  • Writer's pictureCaitlyn C

What To Expect During Global Citizen Festival In NYC

Updated: Sep 1, 2022

One thing that is a very large part of my life, is live music.

I have been going to concerts with friends since 2014, and in the years since then, I have been to over 31 live shows, in 6 different states, and have probably seen close to 100 artists live.

And a very large chunk of the people I have seen live, have been completely free. I have had tickets won by radio stations (those have always been given to me by friends because I don't really have the patience required to win them) some have been given as gifts by other people because they didn't have anyone to go with.

But the largest way I have seen so many artists live is ironically through the same show.

It is called Global Citizen Festival, I attended the show in 2019, as well as the 2021 show.

For example, at those two shows, some of the big headliners were Alicia Keys, Queen and Adam Lambert, NCT127, Lizzo, Billie Eilish, Coldplay, Shawn Mendes.

And all of them were seen totally for free.

The concert only cost me a plane ride and a hotel room, and it was the perfect excuse to spend more time in the city and get out of Georgia for a few days!

What Is Global Citizen And What Do They Do?

Global Citizen is a nonprofit organization based in New York, whose mission is to end extreme poverty. They never ask for donations, and instead, ask for support by taking action to help people around the world. Taking action can be something as simple as tweeting about an issue, or even taking time to educate yourself on a topic.

How Do You Get Tickets?

Global Citizen has an app on the app store, download the app and sign up!

Once you do you will be able to take action to earn points! The actions they have on their app are quizzes, challenges, petition signing, etc! Each action you take will earn you points.

When they announce the festival, you will be able to use the points to enter the raffle to win tickets.

The first round of the raffle is when they give out the most tickets, they do several throughout the month leading up to the show, but the closer it is the harder it will be to win them.

If you are selected to win, you will receive an email with a link to claim your set of two tickets, and I believe you have 48 hours to do so before they are released back into the next round of the drawing.

If you don't want to win your tickets, you can also buy them on Ticketmaster.

Paid ticket prices vary, with the cheapest being for around $120, to the most expensive being for around $10k (Yeah I know, those come with all kinds of fancy privileges and have a blocked-off section close to the stage, most people do the free ones or cheaper options)

The other paid ticketing options also come with blocked-off areas, but honestly, I would rather just get the free ones personally, because if you pay for your tickets the area designated for you is one behind the other, with the most expensive paid ticket being at the front, the second most being behind, and so on and so forth.

But if you get the free ones, you can still be as close to the stage as the same people who pay a TON of money since they split the field in half. You just have to get there early enough!


How Early Should You Get To Global Citizen Festival In NYC?

Like most festivals, it can be as intense, or as simple as you want it to be. If there is only one artist you are interested in seeing, you can come later in the day just to see them, but you probably won't be close.

If being close to the stage is your goal, you need to come early in the morning. I personally wouldn't camp overnight, but there has never been an artist performing there that spiked my interest enough to make me want to do so. But there are normally always some people that do.

Both times that I went, we got there to get in line probably around 8-9 AM. And both times we ended up with great spots near the stage!


Important Things To Know About The Festival Layout

Every music festival out there is very different from the next, so here are some key things to know about this one, and how it is unique from others.

Two Entrances

The festival has two gates that you can enter through, the east gate and the west gate (there are also separate entrances for paid/VIP ticket holders)

When you receive your tickets, they must be printed out in order to get in, and on your ticket, it will say which entrance you are supposed to enter through.

Both times that I have gone, we have never had an issue getting inside, I think the gates they assign you are more of a suggestion and not always mandatory. but it is always good to check just to make sure!

Reusable Waterbottles

Global Citizen encourages people to bring clear plastic reusable water bottles, the first year I went they also had some reusable bottles they were giving out for free. They have water refill stations set up around the field, so there will always be access to clean drinking water.

Please note. If you are going and are trying to be close, there will not be a way for you to leave your spot and come back later on since this is a GA event. So make sure to hydrate beforehand!

One Setup

The festival is set up with one main stage at the front of the part (farthest from the entrance of course) so there is one stage that every artist and presenter will be on.

In order to help break up the crowd, they split the audience into sections or 'pins' of around 11 thousand people in each one. So when you arrive you will enter your 'pin' and once enough people are in they will close them off.

You are still able to leave your pin whenever you wish. but they place barricades and walkways in between them so that if there is an emergency first responders will be able to get there to help faster than if all 70thousand people were in one giant mass.

Both times I have gone I have always been in the first pin closest to the stage, so I never received a wrist band, but I do think that later on in the evening they sometimes will hand them out to try to keep people in their sections when they are not getting water, using the restrooms (they have portapotties) ect.

The Messages

Like I said before, Global Citizen's mission is to get everyday people to take action. So, while this is a music festival, and it is a concert the main reason they do it is to educate the people in attendance and get celebrities involved.

So while there are many amazing performances throughout the day, there are just as many if not more speeches done as well. Each speech will be on a various topic, and it normally ends with whoever is giving it pledging or announcing a large donation to the cause they are talking about.

In 2019 it was most of the issues you year about most commonly, education, homelessness, healthcare, etc.

But in 2021, their big topic of the night was the Pandemic and covid 19. So discussions of how the pandemic affected the world, masks, and vaccines were talked about a lot, so if that is not something you want to hear about for almost 12 hours straight. I would reconsider attending.


Leaving Central Park After The Show

Normally people will come and leave throughout the day, but not everyone wants to stay the whole time to see every artist, but nonetheless. At the end of the night, there will be around forty thousand people all trying to leave the show at the same time.

The first year I attended in 2019, they had a partnership with Uber, which gave a discount on a ride after the festival to encourage everyone to get home safely. So that is what we did the first year.

One very important thing to keep in mind when you Uber or rideshare after any large event, is that there will be thousands of other people trying to do the same thing so it could take a while to get a ride. So be prepared to be patient if you are trying to rideshare after the festival.

In our second year attending, we decided to get dinner after the show in Korea Town. So we took the train there, and then back to our Airbnb in Jersey.

While the public transit in New York is not always the most efficient, it is still probably the best that we have in the United States, so if we attend again that is probably the route we will go to save some money.


Side Story:

As I said above, we decided to get dinner in Korea Town after the 2021 show.

I found the restaurant we originally planned to go to on yelp, and all was well. But when we got to the restaurant we realized that it was a literal nightclub.

After spending 12 hours outside, we were not feeling up for that, so we made a split-second decision to go to a place right down the street.

It was a very quick choice, based on the pictures from reviews because all of our phones were dying. turns out the place we went to was a restaurant that specialized in intestines.

Which was in the name of the place, but none of us realized it until later.

So we did find a few things that were not entirely made of intestines because that was most of the menu (like the pork belly shown above)

But that night in NYC, with our dying phones and aching bodies, was the first time any of us ever tried intestines. I give it a solid 6/10.

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