Choose Prague’s Forum Karlin For Your Next Gig And Fly There For Free
Written by Jaillan Yehia
I’m on a lot of mailing lists and I just ignore most of the emails I’m sent – I bet you do the same thing.
But one email that’s guaranteed to get my attention, and be opened right away, is an alert to say that my favourite band is touring, and tickets are now on sale.
Admit it, you’ve closed that spreadsheet you’re working on in favour of a cheeky browse for some gig tickets, right?
Then I have a tip for you.
If you would rather see a famous band in a smaller and more intimate setting, like you would have before they hit the big time, rather than share the gig experience with 20,000 other people, then keep reading.
And if you’re up for saving some money on your gig tickets and want to see your favourite band play in a cool city at a venue that gets consistently amazing reviews, then you’re going to like the Forum Karlin.
Oh and if you were planning on booking the gig in the UK anyway, I’ll explain how you basically get a free flight to Prague out of it.
How I Basically Got A Free Flight to See Alice in Chains at Prague’s Forum Karlin
One of those exciting notifications that distract me from work popped into my inbox recently – to say Alice in Chains were doing a European tour.
Now, they’re the first band me and my fiance saw together, in Vancouver, and our anniversary was coming up, so I clicked on the link to the band’s European tour dates in double quick time.
I noticed that they were playing Wembley, but instead of just booking tickets to that gig, which was geographically my closest option, I checked where else they were playing.
I then checked the capacity of the venues, as well as their reviews and the ticket prices, to decide which one to book.
The cheapest tickets to the gig at Wembley cost £52.50 + VAT equalling a total of £61.26 per ticket. So for both of us that would be a total spend of £122.52. And we’d be sharing the gig with another 12,498 people. We’d still have to get the train to Wembley too, and that would cost around £20 each.
We’d be in for about £143 in total.
I checked some other cities I like, and knew I could get to cheaply, for example Glasgow. But Glasgow’s SSE Arena holds more people than Wembley and the tickets weren’t much less.
I then stumbled on the golden nugget I’d been looking for: Prague’s Forum Karlin.
It has the tri-factor: tickets are about half the price of those at Wembley, and the capacity of the Forum Karlin is tiny at just 3,000.
Plus there are tons of cheap flights available to Prague.
A pair of tickets to the same gig at Forum Karlin cost only £68. I could have even saved a little more if I’d used my Revolut card to pay, I was just so excited that I used my regular UK card which doesn’t have the best exchange rate.
In total I saved just under £55 on the tickets – which is the price of a whole new ticket to the gig at Wembley! But because return flights to Prague are plentiful at around the £35 mark, I had enough for a return flight to Prague, and to get to the airport too.
Why choose Prague’s Forum Karlin Over Venues in Other European Cities
This is not the first time I’ve applied this ‘look for a small venue in a fun location’ tactic.
My best small gig was Just Jack in a now defunct Glasgow club called The Arches which was literally a disused railway arch, compared to the big London venues it was like having a private show.
But getting the balance of price, capacity, venue and city is key – you want to have a good time above all, and that’s why I chose Prague, and the Forum Karlin, even though there was a smaller capacity venue available.
The smallest venue on this particular tour was in Tallinn, Estonia, and it only holds 1100 people.
But after going on a Google hunt for more info I learned that the Tallinn club has a reputation for poor sound, pillars blocking the view and grumpy doormen as well as queues, while Forum Karlin gets glowing reviews on TripAdvisor, has state of the art acoustics, two bars with no queues and looks like a class act in general for music lovers.
Add in the fact that I’ve been to Estonia and that the cheap flight selection is not on a par with Prague and I had my answer.
What Are The Forum Karlin Reviews Like?
We live in a pretty review-obsessed culture, but I think it can be really useful to hear what others have to say before I spend my hard-earned cash on something.
I checked TripAdvisor as well as social media like Facebook and noticed the venue itself has rave reviews for the acoustics and general concert-going experience.
This is a modern, clean, classy and well-organised venue that people seem to love, and have nothing but praise for. Plus the beer is meant to be good!
Things To Do In Prague, Near The Forum Karlin
The reason I’m travelling to Prague is partly to see a band I like in a small venue rather than a stadium, and get a more intimate, authentic and local experience, so it makes sense to do some other things to keep the theme going and swerve the crowds while in Prague.
This is what’s on my list:
Explore the area around Forum Karlin
I booked an apartment as close as possible to Forum Karlin so that I could get to the gig easily, and have lots of flexibility with my itinerary. I also found out that the Karlin area and the nearby districts are great places to get a feel for the real Prague.
Take a Prague Eating Tour
As my partner is a chef (we met in Canada, when I was writing about his food) checking out different local food trends, dishes and ingredients is a huge part of our travels.
We prefer to home-cooked, simple but delicious food which showcases the ingredients you can source in and around your own region, and neither of us are into chains or mass produced food. We like to find tours which show us the real food scene wherever we go, so we’re going to do this Prague food tour, maybe on the day after the concert.
Rent a Bike so I can cycle to and from the Forum Karlin
Picnic in Local Parks
The apartment I rented, as well as the Forum Karlin, are near Vitkov Park, which has one of the best panoramic views of Prague, so I’ll definitely be heading there, hopefully at sunset, to enjoy the setting.
I’m also going to check out Vojanovy Sandy, Prague’s first public park, as its another place you can get a local vibe, and not feel like you’re on the Prague tourist trail.
Have a pre-show drink at The Hemingway Bar
I’ve heard great things about this bar, and think it will make the perfect hangout before the gig at Forum Karlin. But be aware, it has to be booked in advance.
Take a couple of excursions outside the city
I’m in town to see a rock band after all, so I’m going to take my skull-obsessed man to the Sedlec Ossuary, a creepy bone-filled Catholic chapel just outside Prague.
When I told friends I was headed to Prague to see a gig at Forum Karlin I heard time and time again that I should make time to head out of Prague to Cesky Krumlov, a medieval town which is one of the prettiest in Europe. Everyone who travels to Prague seems to end up loving their trip to Cesky Krumlov.
Of course people like different kinds of gig experiences, so if huge stadium tours are your thing and you love sharing concerts with massive crowds for the atmosphere, Forum Karlin and other smaller venues won’t necessarily be up your street.
I prefer to see the band up close, and catch the nuances of the performance, just as I would have before the band was famous enough to sell out Wembley Arena, so that’s why I jumped at the chance to see this concert at Forum Karlin.
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