Concert Etiquette

One of our writers delves into the change in concert etiquette...

Zahra Hanif
6th November 2023
Image credit: Instagram @officialrandl
In recent years, it seems that live audiences have become much more unruly, and that bad ‘concert etiquette’ has become much more normalised at gigs. There are a few things that can explain this, such as younger crowds who may not have experienced live music at all pre-pandemic, so were not familiarised with the unspoken rules of making up an audience, or the ever-increasing use of social media meaning that people act out in hope of views online. 

Either way, it makes for a frustrating experience for genuine fans, and the severity of incidents occurring at events is escalating - this year we’ve seen a string of incidents in which fans have resorted to throwing things on stage, and while this is not a completely new phenomenon (see, David Bowie 2004), it seems that it’s become much more frequent and calculated from fans who claim they mean no harm - but cause it anyway. 

Image credit: Instagram @officialrandl

Recently, Death Grips made headlines for walking off stage early due to objects repeatedly being thrown at them, from phones to glowsticks. Bebe Rexha had to be treated in hospital after being hit in the eye with a flying phone. Steve Lacy, Harry Styles, Drake, Cardi B are just a few more victims to this dangerous trend of objects being thrown at artists. The logic behind this, supposedly, is that artists will see a phone or camera thrown at them and take a picture with it as a keepsake for the concertgoer. But this seems like gross objectification - there is no regard for their personal space or safety, only that you can prove a celebrity has touched your phone. The artist has put together a performance that you and the crowd around you have paid for, and then waited months for, and you’re willing to disrupt the entire thing for the sake of a selfie - it just seems entirely selfish. 

The artist has put together a performance [...] and you're willing to disrupt the entire thing for the sake of a selfie

There is no clear explanation as to why other items end up being thrown on stage - some scientists suggest that it is pent up excitement that spurs fans to pelt objects at the performers in front of them. Again, this can be put down to fans who’ve grown up in a digital world emerging in physical crowds and not knowing how to act, not having their actions be this consequential before, but it’s still not right. Buying a ticket does not entitle you to disrespect all the time, energy and heart that has been put into the show in front of you. These are real human beings in front of you, not performing objects made solely for your listening pleasure and/or clout acquisition.

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AUTHOR: Zahra Hanif
English literature student :)

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