As a regular concert goer, I would like to say that I have some authority on proper concert etiquette. At nine years old, I went to my first concert — Interpol and U2 at Acrisure Stadium (formerly Heinz Field). Since then, I’ve been to over 30 concerts, ranging from artists with barely 1,000 monthly listeners to worldwide superstars, from venues in the backroom of a bar to giant football stadiums and from ticket prices of $20 to over $200. If you’re considering going to a concert or music festival anytime soon, be sure to keep these tips in mind:
Don’t: Wait until last minute to make preparationsThere are so many little details that must be taken into consideration before even getting to the concert. How much are tickets worth? What are the fees? Are you free on that day? Where is the venue? How will you get there? If you’re driving, what will parking look like? Do you need to buy parking ahead? Are you staying near the concert afterwards, or are you going back home?
Don’t: Go aloneConcerts are fun, and they are definitely more fun with the right people! It’s crucial to have a buddy to be with you. Not only can you share that memorable experience, but they can help you be accountable, and you can keep each other safe.
Don't: Bring unnecessary itemsThe more you bring, the more there is to lose and the more there is for security to pat you down for. Try to keep to the essentials — phone, keys, wallet, tickets (if they’re physical), your ID and any essential items (e.g., masks, vaccination card).
Don’t: CampCamping culture at big-name concerts like Harry Styles, Billie Eilish and BTS has been a big issue recently. If you’re not familiar with this concept, there are some fans who find the need to put up tents outside of concert venues days before their concert in order to guarantee a spot at the front of the pit. Not only is this exhausting and a waste of time and resources, but it shows a deep misunderstanding of one’s privilege in light of the homelessness crisis in many major cities. Seeing your favorite artist up close is really not that serious. There are some festivals that have campgrounds, but this is not free from critique regarding cleanliness and hygiene practices.
Don’t: Forget to be vigilant about the people around youConcerts are a collection of people from all over. You never know who could be there. It’s important to watch for any suspicious characters. Also, it’s important for you to be aware of yourself around others. Make sure you’re not being a jerk (height-wise or dancing-wise).
Don’t: Become dehydratedI can’t tell you how many people have fainted due to heat and dehydration at the concerts I’ve been to. I think the record is seven people at an hour-long set. Any food and drinks at concert venues are bound to be expensive, so either prepare yourself for the high prices or drink lots of water before you get to the venue.
Don’t: Mosh irresponsiblyIf you’re going to mosh, know the rules. People (you included) can get seriously hurt when moshing rules aren’t followed. It’s not just a bunch of people throwing themselves violently without a care in the world. You’ve got to be safe.
Don’t: Have your phone out the entire timeNo one wants to watch their favorite artist through another person’s phone screen. If you take photos or videos, be conscientious and quick. Enjoy the concert real-time.
Don’t: Lose track of your itemsEven if you have very few items, make sure that you leave with what you arrived with. Concerts can cause sensory overload, and it can be really easy to lose track of everything while everyone is constantly moving around you.
Don’t: Lose track of your friendsConcert venues often have terrible Wi-Fi, and it can be anxiety-inducing to lose your friend in a crowd of thousands. Share your location with your friends, and make a plan if you get split up.
Overall, just know that it’s important to be smart, be safe and be aware of the people and things around you. Concerts are an absolute blast, but your experience can turn sour if you make it so.