OPINION: Selfishness is the ultimate concert killer


Frankie Perez

Concert-goers dance at Lollapalooza 2022 in Grant Park. Frequent festival-goers have complained that poor concert etiquette ruins the experience for all attendees, and has lead to injuries.

I have been known, in the past, to elbow the extremely tall person in front of me if I’m pushed against the barricade at a concert. I’m not proud of it, but I’m 4’8, and I paid just the same as everyone else, so I deserve the chance to experience the show the way I want. Or so I thought. With concert season quickly approaching, including DePaul’s ‘FEST’, it’s important to brush up on our concert etiquette. 

Let’s start by noting that there is no one way to behave at a concert. The standards often change depending on the genre, artist, venue, crowd, and even the song. Truly, not understanding these variations is how a concert experience can easily become unpleasant, for both artist and audience. Recent DePaul Battle of the Bands winner, Zeno Camera, weighed in on his experiences.

“I was at The House of Blues recently, me and my friend were fortunate to find a place closer to the stage … but there was one couple that I think security had to kick them out because they were pushing people to get to the front,” he said. 

Aggressively pushing other fans is obviously one of the more irritating behaviors of concert goers.

“It gives the impression that listening to music is this individualistic experience, when it’s a community experience,” Camera said. “Listening to music is an experience that we are all sharing, together.”

In an attempt to recover some of the decorum that was put on a hiatus during the pandemic, we should be placing kindness at the core of concert-going habits. This can take the form of allowing the shorter person, who will not obstruct your view of the stage, to stand in front of you at a show. The gesture is small, but can completely change the experience for both of you. Additionally, giving people the amount of space they need to breathe and move around a bit can not only enhance the experience but also encourage safety at an event. 

Following the Astroworld Tragedy, audiences and venues have both been more aware of the consequences of unsafe concert practices and how to avoid anything similar happening again. 

There are, of course, concerts where pushing and shoving is encouraged and expected. DePaul junior Ella Hardie notes some of her experiences in a completely different environment. 

“I go to a lot of house shows, a lot of punk shows where there’s a lot of moshing, and I cannot fend for myself,” Hardie said. “As a short person, I tend to cling to a wall and just observe.” 

She said that these shows are still extremely fun, because of the culture of kindness that surrounds them.

“They can get really hot and a little scary,” Hardie said. “Lots of shows have water at the front, which is nice.”

A small gesture like passing out water to a crowd can go a long way. In a smaller crowd with sweaty walls and pushing patrons, how can you care for those around you? 

Hardie’s biggest advice on how to make a house show the best experience possible is this: “Don’t intentionally shove people, wear deodorant, that’s so major, and drink water if you’re getting tossed around.” 

As silly as it might sound, taking care of yourself is an essential component of concert-kindness culture. Putting long hair up is often a mutually beneficial choice. It’s out of the way for the other audience members, and allows you a bit more mobility. If an event is outdoor, personal care like sunscreen and sanitizer can make your experience a lot more enjoyable. 

Perhaps the most important “rules” involve the way people interact with the artist. Though it’s always fun to sing along to your favorite songs, making sure your own voice isn’t overpowering the artist is a sign of respect not only for the performer but also to your fellow audience members. In addition, don’t throw anything that could cause harm on the stage, like a water bottle or a shoe. Not only is it rude, but it is also dangerous. Finally, make sure to take your time and enjoy the show in real time. We all like to take a picture of our favorite singer or a video of our favorite song, but being present at a live show is a once in a lifetime opportunity. 

As you enter the concert/festival season, remember to drink lots of water, give each other space, and most of all, be kind. Share the experience with all the people who are there for the same reason as you, and soak up the feeling of a joyful, communal experience.