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The End of Concert Etiquette

Riley Shankman
Crummy Crowds: Fans hold raise their phones raised to record Renee Rapp at her The Snow Hard Feelings Tour. This year, countless concerts have been crushed due to poor fan behavior.


The crowded stadium goes silent.

Everyone watches in horror as Harry Styles doubles over in pain after a fan throws a water bottle, hitting him during his performance at his Love on Tour concert in Chicago.

 “Well, that’s unfortunate,” the singer said after the incident, quickly returning to performing. 

Within seconds, the concert comes alive again as the crowd pushes towards the stage. Fans around me swarm as I stumble side-to-side to the pounding beat, trying in vain to keep my balance, knowing there is a danger if I fall in a crowd like this. I see glimpses of Styles through the cameras of the girls before me. 

This has become the new norm at concerts. 

This year, countless concerts have been paused due to poor fan behavior for artists to remind fans to behave respectfully within the crowds. Recently, during Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour, the singer was forced to pause the show to address fan behavior. 

Concert etiquette has become a thing of the past and thus the concert-going experience has become much worse for the audience. 

Still, I cannot help but think it is much worse for the artists because the general lack of decency from fans at concerts affects the experience overall, not just for the audience.

Going to a concert is a fun experience, allowing fans to connect with artists, and sing their hearts out while surrounded by people who feel the same way about the artist. The moment the headliner takes the stage, the crowd erupts in enthusiasm. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a fan of the anticipation before an artist’s performance. As soon as the lights go down and the pre-show filler music kicks in, I’m hyped up, too.

However, there is a difference between showing your excitement and encroaching on the experience of those around you. 

While I love to sing and dance at concerts, I know there are times just to be still and enjoy the moment as my favorite artists perform. Dancing and jumping around can be fun, but it can easily infringe on the safety of those around you.

In recent years, sporting events, concerts, and festivals have seen terrifying crushes and surges of spectators, killing people who were merely there to watch their favorite athlete or team play. These crowd crushes have become a global phenomenon, with the most recent being last Nov. 25, when four people were killed at Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT) in India where a university had planned a concert for its students.  All it takes is common sense and being conscientious about the people around you to make a concert a better experience for everyone involved.

It is believed by concertgoers this toxic fan behavior stems from peoples’ excitement for live  – concerts after the COVID-19 – lockdown -, according to “ ‘We all need a plan B now’: the dicey world of live music after COVID-19” by Micheal Hann, from The Guardian. Many people’s prolonged seclusion caused a buildup of internal unrest that eventually erupted into public disorder at social events, Hann wrote.

Decent behavior from fans is an expectation, not an option. 

For each show, fans are paying to have a good time, which the bad behavior of a few should not dampen. 

Everyone’s ability to be safe and enjoy the concert depends on adhering to these social norms of conduct, which include respecting venue regulations, refraining from throwing objects at performers and being considerate of other concertgoers. 

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