How Long Do Concerts Last?

If you are going to a concert, it’s important to know how long it lasts so that you can plan appropriately. Some concerts are short, some are long, but most concerts are about the same length on average. How long do concerts last?

Concerts typically last from 90 minutes to 2 hours. There is also usually a 20-minute intermission in the middle of the concert. The length of a concert depends on the popularity of the band or artist, the number of performers on the program, and the type of venue.

90 minutes to 2 hours is about the average length of all types of concerts, including rock, pop, rap, EDM, classical, jazz, etc. Festival concerts tend to last longer, up to 4 hours.

Read on to learn more about how long concerts last and the factors that determine how long they last.

How Long Do Concerts Last?

While the average length of concerts is 1.5 to 2 hours, they can last longer if there are several artists and bands which are included in the program. If each artist or band takes 45 minutes to one hour of stage time, the concert will last much longer.

Also, if there are multiple artists, the prep time for each artist will add about 15 to 30 minutes to the total concert time. The concert stage has limited space to accommodate all the gear of the participating bands. 

At one concert I recently went to, the opening artist remained on stage to jam with the featured artist. Then when the concert headliner came on stage, the first two artists stayed around to jam with him. That show took about 4 hours from beginning to end. This was unusually long due to all the equipment set up and takedown.

If it’s an outdoor concert in an urban area, it usually won’t last too late into the evening based on noise laws.

One example of this was when Bruce Springsteen did a concert in Hyde Park, London; he went past the curfew of 11:00 p.m. He was joined at the encore by none other than Paul McCartney, who sang several songs. However, after 10 to 15 minutes of the curfew deadline, the show organizers pulled the plug, upsetting thousands of fans of the two music icons.

Factors That Determine How Long Concerts Last

how long are concerts

The duration of a particular concert depends on a lot of factors. Here are some of these factors:

Artist or Band

It may be a rock band, a solo singer, a rapper, a singing group, an opera group, or a symphony orchestra. Each of these acts has its own specific duration. The length of time is largely influenced by the type of music they are playing.

For example, Willie Nelson, a folk singer, usually takes two hours to sing his first and last song. With bands that require set changes, two and a half hours would be the average.

Popularity of the Artist or Band

The actual time of the concert will also depend on how popular the band is. If they are a really popular band that has sold millions of records, the concert may take two, three, or even four hours. But if it is a band that is trying to break into the big league, one hour and a half would likely be too long.

Number of Bands or Artists

The more artists in the program, the longer the concert will be. If there are several bands or artists listed in your program, the concert will take more than two hours to finish. The setup of each artist and the break between each act will add up to the actual duration of the concert.

Type of Venue

If the performance takes place in a popular concert hall, it is likely the concert will last about 2.5 hours. But if it is in a small venue like a café lounge, or a hotel restaurant, an artist will usually play or sing for an hour or so.

Time the Concert Starts

If you are attending a classical concert, where opening and closing times are more strictly observed, you can expect to stay in the concert hall for no more than two hours, depending on the actual length of the opera or the classical concert.

However, in rock concerts, where starting times are not strictly observed, you could spend more than the allotted time. Some rock artists are known to be latecomers. There could also be some technical difficulties or longer setup times.

Approximate Length of Time for Various Types of Concerts

The time a concert lasts generally varies based on the type of music being performed. Below I’ll list how long concerts last for different types of music:

Rock Concerts

Rock concerts usually last about three hours from beginning to end. The time the rock concert lasts is based on the number of bands that will play, the length of the songs they will sing, and the breaks in between their performances.

For first come, first serve seating concerts, when a popular rock concert is scheduled to start at 7:00 p.m. you need to be there at 6:30 at the latest, or you will find yourself near the back rows – unless you have paid for a choice seat or space in the concert arena. 

There are some concerts that have more than one opening act. This will make the concert last longer than usual. If there are three opening bands, with 30 minutes each, that would be one and a half hours total. That does not even include the setup time for all their gear. 

And then the headliner band goes on stage. If they play for about an hour and a half, or even two hours, that would make the concert over three hours long. Should the band and the crowd hit it right, the band could do several encores before they say goodbye. That would make it even longer than three hours.

how long do concerts last for
John Meyer and Ed Sheeran

Rap Concerts

How long a rap concert will last depends on many factors. Most often, a rap concert will feature many artists. The MC will also affect the duration of the whole concert since they are the one who controls who goes on stage and when. The average would be about 2 hours.

Most rap concerts have several DJs. There are times when the headliner brings along their own DJ. The DJs or the MC will open and run the concert. The opening artist will have a set number of songs. Songs with different tempos and breaks between songs will affect how long each set will last.

If there are several opening acts, you will have to add their own times to the whole concert. Then the main headliner rapper will go onstage. He or she will sing several numbers, which can be more than what the opening artists have given. If they have their own record label, they may bring along other rappers from the record company.

Jazz Concerts

When Earl Klugh gave a concert in Indonesia at the Java Jazz Festival in 2013, he played for one and a half hours before he bade goodbye to his audience. At least that’s the time that was indicated by the video of the event:

The video recording of his concert indicated that he played 12 numbers in all. He may have played more music, but they were not all included in the video. So, Earl could have played more than one and a half hours. Easily, with some encores, he could have kept the audience engaged and bring the jazz concert to the 2-hour mark.

Classical Concerts

A classical concert will last around one and a half hours. Classical pieces are typically long, so a classical concert may not be more than three renditions of classical music pieces. Most symphony orchestras feature only two classical pieces in one concert.

On average, classical concerts last 2 hours. But that may include the intermission. The actual time will depend on the particular classical piece or concerto to be played by the symphony orchestra or the concert pianist. 

Operas also take a long time to complete from start to finish. Some last for more than two hours. Operettas or lighter versions of operas are shorter in duration. They can take from one hour to an hour and a half. Luciano Pavarotti typically entertained his fans for one hour or so.

Festival Concerts

Festival concerts are the longest of all concerts because they are not just done in one day, but for several days. Woodstock, a popular festival concert, was held from Aug. 15 to Aug. 18, 1969, in Bethel, New York. The most popular rock bands of those days performed at this concert. It was top-billed by Jimi Hendrix, who closed the concert with some of his avant-garde songs.

Today, most festival concerts last for about four hours. If the show includes too many acts, it can last for one whole day. In festival concerts, there maybe two or three opening acts. They will take from 45 minutes to one and a half hours. The main act will typically last more than two hours.

We’ve looked at how long concerts last on average, now let’s have some fun and look at the shortest and longest concerts ever.

The Shortest and Longest Concerts Ever

Shortest concerts:

The shortest concert ever performed in recent times is that of the White Stripes in Newfoundland, Canada, on July 16, 2007. They appeared on the outdoor stage of the venue. They played a single note then took a bow. The total concert lasted 50 seconds.

The group submitted their feat to Guinness to claim their world record. Guinness briefly recognized their feat but scrapped it later, saying it was too trivial.

Bruce Springsteen played the shortest concert of his life at the Hope Estate Vineyard in Hunter’s Valley. It took him only around nine minutes to play some of his popular cover songs.

Longest concerts:

Chile Gonzales on May 16, 2009, at the Cine 13 Theatre, Paris – 27 hours.

For approximately 27 hours, the Canadian pianist entertained his audience for 27 hours and 44 seconds. He played 300 songs and gave anecdotes throughout the concert. Did he or his audience ever sleep during the concert?

Live Aid on July 13, 1985 – 16 hours.

There are 75 live performances in Live Aid. The full concert totaled 16 hours after all the bands had played. The event was organized to provide aid to Africa’s starving children.

Grateful Dead Concert on Dec. 31, 1978, to Jan. 1, 1979, at the Winterland Ballroom – 6 hours

The Grateful Dead played 36 songs, and most of them are not short ones. This concert lasted for approximately six hours.

Conclusion – How Long Do Concerts Last?

If you are going to a concert, it’s important to know how long they last so that you can plan appropriately. How long do concerts last?

Concerts typically last from 90 minutes to 2 hours. There is also usually a 20-minute intermission in the middle of the concert. The length of a concert depends on the popularity of the band or artist, the number of performers on the program, and the type of venue.

90 minutes to 2 hours is about the average length of all types of concerts, including pop, rock, rap, EDM, jazz, classical, etc. Festival concerts tend to last longer.

You now know what to expect for any upcoming concert you may be attending or organizing. In the end, if the fans love the music, they will want to go as long as possible.