Ruby: Don’t Be A Dick – A Guide to Concert Etiquette

(Brandon Montes-Nguyen/Emerald)

Live concerts are supposed to be one of the most special experiences any music enthusiast can have. You get to see your favorite artist mere feet in front of you and listen to their music with dozens (and perhaps even hundreds or thousands) of other people who want to enjoy it as much as you do. However, there a lot of things that can hinder the experience for yourself and those around you.

This past weekend, I went to the Danny Brown show at WOW Hall and it might have been one of the most unpleasant concert experiences of my life. This isn’t because of Danny Brown or his openers, ZelooperZ and Maxo Kream — they all put on great performances — it was miserable because of the crowd.

Being at the very front, I was surrounded by die-hard fans, wildly flailing limbs and screaming, annoying voices right in my ear. While this seems like a typical concert experience, it wasn’t for me. Sure, I’m used to swelling crowds at music festivals such as Outside Lands but at least those people were civil. At one point during Danny Brown’s set, a girl was dancing while holding on to the barricade. My friend, who was directly behind her, had to push the dancing girl forward to keep her from falling off.

The same girl also got her hoop earring stuck in a photographer’s hair bun, which required some serious disentanglement. In light of this unpleasant experience, I’ve prepared some do’s and don’ts for both frequent and novice concertgoers.

DO be aware of your surroundings. When in an especially crowded venue like WOW Hall, make sure you’re not getting in the way of other fans’ views or personal space. Keep your hands to yourself unless provoked or warranted. Nothing is worse than a fist-pumping bro smashing your face in with his elbow or an illicit hand reaching for your nether regions. Don’t push people into others or into the barricade. They could be dangerous, intoxicated, or both, and if you disturb them you’ll be in for a bad time. If you want to dance and express yourself then do so in your own space.

DON’T let your phone or camera get in the way of other people’s sight. This kind of goes along with being aware of your surroundings but it’s important to specifically mention phones and cameras. When I’m watching an artist perform, I’d rather not watch it through your viewfinder. Don’t hold your device way above your head so that it gets in other people’s faces. Instead, keep it at head level so you’re the only one who can see it (unless you’re a professional photographer or photojournalist and need that perfect shot). Better still, just put your phone down and enjoy the experience with your own eyes. Are you really going to go back and watch those shaky, blurry concert videos? Often, the artists on stage hate seeing phones too.

DO make sure your cigarette is not lighting somebody on fire. This almost happened to me at Danny Brown; a girl behind me lit her cigarette, took a drag, and brought her hand down so that the cigarette left a burn mark on my elbow. Even if you like to smoke, it’s never enjoyable getting a giant cloud of smoke in your face.

DON’T push your way to the front if the show has already started. Barging into the crowd because you got to the concert late will ruin everyone’s night. The people who were originally at the front earned their spot because they got there early. Don’t ruin the experience for them because you didn’t plan accordingly. Everyone in the crowd paid money to go to the show but that doesn’t mean you’re entitled to the front row (if you’re in general admission). And if you get to the front row early, don’t let your friends join you half way through the show because they were late. Deal with it. We all want to be there.

DO take care of yourself. If you choose to not be sober, go ahead, but please make sure you’re doing it safely. No one wants to deal with a severely ill person in the middle of the crowd and have security take them out and ruin their experience. I’m sure you don’t want to deal with being ill either. It’s just not fun for anyone. If you realize you’re not feeling well, take a step back and leave the crowd or the venue if you must.

Most importantly:

DON’T be a dick. It’s as simple as that.

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