A Lesson in Concert Etiquette

I go to a lot of concerts… A LOT. What I’ve learned in the last 15 years of attending performances from my favourite musicians is that the people attending the concert can really make or break the experience. Sure, a talented act and good venue are important, but the vibe concert-goers bring to a show can make a huge impact. So, if you aren’t an avid concert-goer but are planing to check out an upcoming show or two, keep these very important, possibly life-changing tips in mind.

Ed Sheeran at the Air Canaca Centre in Toronto - Sept. 18, 2014

Ed Sheeran at the Air Canada Centre – Sept. 18, 2014

Unless it’s a beanie or baseball cap, something that sits close to the head, don’t even consider wearing it. The people behind you will hate you, you’ll undoubtedly be blocking the view of the stage for more than one person. I know you want to look fly as hell, but you can do so without stupid and unnecessary head gear.

John Legend at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre in Toronto - Aug. 8, 2014

John Legend at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre – Aug. 8, 2014

Just like the big hat, big hairdos are super unnecessary when attending a concert. Picture someone with big coffee mug on their head — this is what it’s like for the people sitting/standing behind you. Top knots are cute, but a low ponytail or regular messy bun will also do the trick.

Justin Timberlake at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto - Dec. 10, 2014

Justin Timberlake at the Air Canada Centre – Dec. 10, 2014

If you are attending a concert with your significant other, remember that the people around you and behind you are there to watch the musicians do their thing on stage, not to watch you get romantic and make out with your boyfriend or girlfriend. Sure, I get that some songs are sappy and will bring out your mushy side, but keep the romance on hold until you get home.

Justin Nozuka at the Virgin Mobile Mod Club in Toronto - May 6, 2014

Justin Nozuka at the Virgin Mobile Mod Club – May 6, 2014

Don’t be that annoying-as-hell, totally belligerent concert-goer that gets so drunk that they start falling over and look like they are seconds away from puking on everyone’s shoes. Have a few drinks, have some fun, but don’t overdo it. Those that do are just ruining the show for everyone around them. (Plus, at some point security is going to notice you and kick you out anyway.)

Whatever beverage you do choose, keep your arm waving in check and don’t spill your drink on the people around you. You’d be surprised how many times I’ve left a concert reeking of beer, even though I’ve only had water to drink.

Sam Smith at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto - Jan. 20, 2015

Sam Smith at the Air Canada Centre – Jan. 20, 2015

Yeah, concerts are crowded, especially if you are attending a GA (General Admission) show. There will be pushing, shoving, and a lot of undesirable touching — this is inevitable. But at least try to be mindful of the people around you and how much wiggle room you have for dancing. If you’re waving your arms to the beat, make sure you aren’t constantly elbowing someone in the head. Dance it out, but make sure you aren’t accidentally grinding on a stranger’s lap.

Also, be aware of the shorter people around you. It’s easy to miss us in the crowd, but we are there, we are trying to have a good time, and we are desperately trying not to get trampled on.

Ed Sheeran performing at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto - June 6, 2015

Ed Sheeran at the Air Canada Centre – June 6, 2015

If you are attending a GA show and really, really want to be able to get a good view of the performer, get to the venue early enough to stand in line and snag a good spot before anyone else. Don’t be the idiot that tries to shove their way through the crowd for a slightly better view. If you show up late, deal with the fact that you probably aren’t going to be able to see very well.

If you are going to a concert with seats, stick to your seats. Don’t “accidentally” sit a couple rows in front because you think those seats are free. The people who purchased those seats are probably late, and the unnecessary confusion is going to cause a commotion while the rest of us are just trying to enjoy a the show.

Jay-Z at the Air Canada Centre - January 27, 2014

Jay-Z at the Air Canada Centre – Jan. 27, 2014

No one is here to listen to how your day went. This is not the place to discuss the argument you had with your significant other. Just stop talking.

Fall Out Boy at Molson Canadian Amphitheatre - June 17, 2015

Fall Out Boy at Molson Canadian Amphitheatre – June 17, 2015

I know how important it is to get a good shot or video of the concert that you can share with your friends. Trust me, I know! (Check out this post, for example…). But don’t watch the entire concert through your phone. Put your phone and camera away, and just enjoy the show. Take in the experience for what it is, because these blissful moments are few and far between. Watch and listen as the musician performs your favourite track instead of fiddling around with your camera. The memory is much more important than having proof that it happened. Besides, those additions to your Snapchat Story are going to look terrible and most of the videos you take are going to be forgotten about by the following day anyway.

Also, your camera, like the big hairdos and hats, are most likely spoiling the view for other concert goers. We understand if you are just taking a few photos here and there, but I shouldn’t have to watch the concert through your phone just because you want to upload the entire thing to YouTube.

One Republic at Molson Amphitheatre -- June 24, 2014

One Republic at Molson Amphitheatre — June 24, 2014

Let loose, dance the night away, sing at the top of your lungs and show the act some appreciation for their performance. If you’re going to go a concert and not have any fun, why bother going? Don’t ruin the vibe for the people around you, don’t stare at those having a good time with judge-y eyes, just have fun. Isn’t that the whole point anyway?

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