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Gig Etiquette: What not to do at concerts

Gig Etiquette: What not to do at concerts

Team Missy

A common topic of discussion that I’ve seen a lot of online recently is that of gig etiquette. I’ve also experienced it, or lack thereof, at a number of events over the past few months, as have others.

Similar to people throwing things at performers on stage, people’s conduct at concerts has been a topic of discussion since the pandemic ended. There’s been various reasons thrown around for this, like COVID made us ferrel and that people who had never been to a concert before just don’t know how to act.

So, what exactly is gig etiquette and where did it all go wrong? Let’s deep dive…

What Is Gig Etiquette?

There’s no hard our fast rules when it comes to gig etiquette, but like a lot of things in life there are socially constructed norms that people are generally expected to go by. Some venues will have actual rules, like requesting you to turn your phone off (some comedians now call for your phone to be sealed in a bag). And others are just social rules, that people should really know how to follow.

When Did You Become So Rude?

I was at the cinema for the opening day of Barbie and although I loved the movie, my viewing was somewhat ruined by two girls I had the misfortune of sitting beside; they did not stop talking loudly for the whole movie. This shouldn’t need to be said, but the cinema is not the place to be talking. Once the light comes down it’s a talk free zone.

I’ve also been surprised by the amount of people who think its acceptable to take out their phones during shows. I’d honestly die of embarrassment at having to take my phone out at all during a show or a movie, but apparently I’m part of a dwindling minority. Worse are the people who record movies. All in the name of TikTok views, eh?

A few months ago I attended a Taylor Swift Candle Light Concert. It was a string quartet, so as you can imagine it is on the quieter side of concerts, but it didn’t stop people from talking either. Like, why bother going if you’re not going to listen? We were also told at the start of the show to refrain from flash photography and that there would be a chance to record at the end of the show. Mere minutes into the first song and flashes started going off. It was mind boggling that people could be respectful of simple requests.

I can’t help but wonder; why go at all if you’re just going to talk through the performance? Not only is it disrespectful to the performers, it’s inconsiderate to others trying to enjoy the show and who have also paid money to be there.

But therein lays the issue; the lack of gig etiquette lately comes down to disrespect. Since the pandemic some people have become a lot more singular and focused on themselves.

When called out on their actions people often resort to the “It’s my money. I paid to be here. I can do what I want” attitude. In theory they are correct; they can do what they want, but where is the personal reasonability and respect for others around them?

See Also

I’ve also seen people try to blame this issue on teens, but I’ve seen people off all ages with poor social etiquette at events. Selfishness doesn’t know age.

So what are etiquette rules? Well, I don’t make them, sadly, but there are a few general ones.

Cinema Etiquette

  1. Turn your phone OFF. Silent is not good enough. The same goes (even more so) for live theatre performances. Vibrations that phones make is still irritating. Don’t be that person who’s phone goes off. I would honestly DIE if my phone went off.
  2. Don’t carry on conversations during a movie – it’s not fair on people around you. Talk after.
  3. In a darkened room the light on your phone is even more pronounced and distracting – stay off of your phone for the duration.

Gig Etiquette

  1. TikTok is full of concert videos of what can only be described as wailing instead of singing. No one is saying don’t go and enjoy yourself at a concert and sing your heart out, but if you’re doing it in a way that impedes someone else’s experience, reign it in a bit.
  2. Depends on the concert but in general flash can be a no no.
  3. It’s not a time to be carrying on a full scale conversation, save it until later.
  4. Look out for people around you – safety always
  5. Just be considerate – that’s really what gig etiquette and general life comes down to; be considerate of others around you. Gigs, concerts, movies, theatre…they’re all shared experiences, not singular ones.

No one is suggesting that concerts and shows shouldn’t be fun, but when your version of fun ruins it for other people it’s time to take stock. The general take away is; don’t be selfish, ya know?

A lot of venues have started cracking down on people disrupting performances, so if something is annoying you don’t let it go. Approach venue staff and let them know what’s happening.

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