Are alcohol and gigs a good combination?

Our writers debate whether alcoholic beverages are a good mix with live music experiences.

multiple writers
8th March 2021
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The consumption of alcohol is, for better or worse, an act that is engrained into our culture. Pubs, clubs, and also live music venues provide a release for some, and cause issues for others; our writers discuss whether gig culture benefits or detriments from drinking.


In my opinion, there’s no better feeling than being tipsy at gig, listening to music you love, surrounded by people who are having an equally great time.

I am aware that alcohol can have negative effects on people and that the culture around drinking and partying can sometimes be toxic. However, I think it’s important to remember that many people understand their limits and can have fun while still being responsible. It’s not mandatory that whenever you drink you have to get drunk; drinking can innocently enhance an already positive experience.

Alcohol can often make people feel free from the social constraints they normally worry about, meaning that you can sing and dance as much as you like without feeling embarrassed. It can heighten your emotions so that songs and bands you already love feel so much more special and you find yourself truly connecting with the music.

Yes, some people take it too far, and I doubt it would be too fun to end up in the medical tent at a festival. Yes, alcohol at gigs is usually overpriced, with a long queue to even buy something, but I don’t believe that these small drawbacks cause drinking at gigs to be a negative practice.

I’ve found friends at gigs that I most likely wouldn’t have made if I hadn’t have had a drink beforehand.

Waiting in line for an expensive, yet also watered-down, beer can be an amazing opportunity for making friends, and striking up a conversation with someone who looks interesting is a lot less intimidating after a drink or two; whether its in line for the bar, waiting for an artist to come on stage or in a queue for the toilets, I’ve found friends at gigs that I most likely wouldn’t have made if I hadn’t have had a drink beforehand.

Regardless of alcohol’s ability to make people more sociable and livelier, some people just like the taste; they don’t need alcohol to be a more approachable version of themselves, they simply enjoy having a drink. I personally don’t see anything negative about this. A gig is a special experience and allowing yourself an alcoholic drink seems like a natural way to mark the occasion.

I understand that not everyone enjoys drinking at gigs, or drinking in general, and that is perfectly fine, however many people do, and can drink while still being responsible, and so I can’t see how mixing alcohol with concerts, in a safe way, is a bad thing.

Anna Carson


TW: containing a mention of sexual assault.

I don’t have a personal issue with people having a couple of drinks at a gig, I’m guilty of that as much as everyone else, but with drinking comes drinking culture, henceforth I think alcohol culture and gigs are a bad combination.

Countless times, drunk people have ruined gigs for me and my friends, whether it be people thinking you’re looking for a fight in mosh pits, or generally being careless. The atmosphere at gigs is already one that can be quite aggressive, and your senses are heightened, so adding intoxication into the mix isn’t a great one. It can be argued "I’m here to have a good time, so if I want to get drunk, I’ll get drunk" but that’s pretty inconsiderate.

Drunk people intimidate younger fans, and if you’ve paid money to go and see someone, you obviously enjoy the music; so why would you put yourself in a position where you have the potentiality to not remember it, or ruin someone else’s night?

Some would argue, that if you’re not comfortable with it, then just don’t be anywhere near the front, but people shouldn’t have to restrict themselves just because you want to drink. There are plenty of other social scenarios where you can get drunk with your mates and bash into people etc, so go to a club or something instead. I don’t want to make the article about this but I'll mention this as well; with drinking culture and ‘banter’ comes the risk of potentially being groped. This is something that’s a large issue in the music scene, and every time it’s happened to someone I know, whenever the person has been confronted about it, they’ve blamed it on being drunk. I’m not wholly against drinking at gigs, but I am if it’s at the expense of someone else’s experience.

Charlotte Airey

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