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Monday, May 27, 2024
The Observer

Let's go to a concert

Concerts not only make life better but did you know that they also help you live longer? Now, before you roll your eyes and sarcastically express your surprise, you must listen to my reasoning. It is no surprise that concerts make life better, as they are the essence of fun, but there is scientific evidence that shows that regularly attending concerts can increase your lifespan by nine years… almost a whole decade.

In a study, O2 and Goldsmith's University Associate Lecturer and behavioral scientist Patrick Fagan conducted psychometric testing and heart rate tests (often used for various physical and mental activity tests) on a group of subjects who then attended a concert. After the first 20 minutes of the gig, they found that the subjects already had a 25% increase in feelings of happiness, self-worth and community, as well as a 75% increase in pure mental stimulation. Some may argue that these results are similar to those found when people listen to music independently, but these statistics show that physically experiencing music (especially in the presence of others) can not only bring about an abundance of bliss but also impact your overall health.

Despite this study being considered semi-old news, I have been thinking about it a lot recently. Since I was 7 years old, I have regularly attended concerts. Over my 21 (almost 22) years of life, I have attended about 75 shows — big and small. Going to concerts is my hobby; it’s something that brings me an immense amount of joy and I know this is true for others as well. However, in 2020, everything stopped; the world halted. For almost two years, live music was extinct, and it was during this time that I came to realize how desolate the world felt due to the void in music and the lack of communal experience. It's important to note that the auditory element is the impetus for creating the experience.

Thankfully, 2022 is witnessing a powerful resurgence of music, but this year has made me reflect on the time when these shared events were impossible. We are living in uncertain times, and, while this might sound cliché, music has the power to unite us all. We need live music more than ever.

As a result, I am going to give you an assignment. Find a concert, whether that is a backyard gig, a downtown block-party jam, a DIY basement show, a big stadium performance and/or a tiny theater concert, and go add a decade to your life. Make new friends, dance until your feet hurt and sing until you can't speak. There is nothing guaranteed in this world other than the power and pleasures of music.

Contact Willoughby Thom at