Concert etiquette after the pandemic: what’s changed?

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Graphic by Kayla Roberts.

Pushing. Shoving. Phones being thrown at performers. Concerts were one of the many public events put on pause during the pandemic, but now that they have resumed, has behavior worsened?

 In Las Vegas, a concert-goer threw water at Cardi B, and Cardi B threw a microphone back in retaliation, according to NPR. According to the Los Angeles Times, a concert-goer threw a phone at Bebe Rexha’s face, reasoning that, “I was trying to see if I could hit her with the phone at the end of the show because it would be funny.” The phone caused swelling, bruising and pain to Rexha’s eye. During Pink’s concert, a fan threw ashes onstage. During Adele’s residency, she said, “Have you noticed how people are, like, forgetting fucking show etiquette at the moment? People are throwing shit onstage? Have you seen them? I fucking dare you. I dare you to throw something at me, and I’ll fucking kill you.” 

Natalie Nguyen, a political science and economics student, has been going to concerts since 2017 and has been to at least one concert every year since then. Nguyen says, “I’ve seen instances of objects being thrown at the artists, which is so disrespectful. These artists are humans and get hurt just like the rest of us, and throwing things at them to get their attention is really inappropriate.”

Jesse Fager-Larsen is an avid concert-goer, regularly going to indie, pop and rap concerts. Fager-Larsen has a different opinion, sharing, “I’ve been going [to concerts] since I was nine, but [I’ve been going] by myself, with my own money, since I was 16, so about five years now … Last year, I went to 20 different concerts.” Fager-Larsen doesn’t think behavior has changed after the pandemic, saying “Before the pandemic, [the behavior] was pretty much the same as they are now… In my opinion, not much has changed. There’s not really a big difference. People are a lot more scared of crowds now. Before the pandemic, people were really inviting; they didn’t care if people were right next to you. But generally, people don’t like when you push or shove.”

Nguyen adds, “I think the behavior at concerts has definitely worsened over time. After the pandemic and everyone finally had the chance to go to concerts again, there was more of a ‘you-only-live-once’ mindset that manifested into behaviors that aren’t respectful towards other attendees and the performers. Also, those big signs that people like to stick as high up in the air as possible? Please don’t bring them, or at least make them smaller and only raise them occasionally. It’s hard to enjoy the concert if my view is blocked the entire night … I always get upset when I see people who refuse to cheer and shame others for cheering. If you’re going to a concert, I feel like the least you can do is be supportive of the artist who is trying their best to put on a great show. It sucks to go to a concert and end up surrounded by people who don’t care and aren’t dancing and singing along.” 

However, not all concerts are a social nightmare. Nguyen shares, “I also appreciate it when people whisper if they have something to say to each other while the artist is talking. It seems like the bare minimum, but some people forget that they’re not the only ones there, so it’s nice to see people who respect those who are trying to hear the artists.”

Regardless of mixed opinions on the matter, behavior at concerts won’t detract music lovers from still going to concerts and performances. Fager-Larsen says, “I really like concerts, and I really like live music. So, even if it’s a $10 concert on Fremont Street, I’ll still really enjoy it.” Nguyen adds, “I just want everyone to have fun without forgetting to be considerate of other attendees, the performers and the venue. Be respectful of people’s personal space, follow venue rules, pick up your trash and cheer on the artists. It’s the small things that make or break a concert experience, so I hope to see everyone enjoy themselves without impeding on others’ experiences at concerts going forward.” Music lovers simply want to enjoy live music and support their performers, and respectful behavior only enhances that experience for all concert-goers.

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