OPINION: Concert etiquette has changed since the pandemic

Apr 18, 2023 | OP-ED, Opinion

Concerts have always been a popular form of entertainment. They offer us the opportunity to immerse ourselves in live music and escape reality for a few hours.

And many times, concerts have also served as safe spaces, a place where thousands of people from different paths of life gathered because they all love music that much.

I remember my first concert. It was in Colombia.

I was 12 years old and One Direction was starting off their 2014 “Where We Are” tour in the capital Bogotá, it was the first concert for the band in my country, and after it happened, it would become the only concert they ever did in Colombia.

The tickets were not exactly pocket-friendly, but my parents knew how much it meant to me and they wanted to see me happy.

It was a privilege to be there, not only for me but for all of us that were in attendance and looking back at that day, I only remember good things. That is because we knew that with that privilege came the responsibility of following to proper concert etiquette.

Although it may seem like a minor topic, concert etiquette plays a crucial role in establishing a safe, positive and enjoyable experience for all of those involved.

Before the pandemic, concert etiquette were basic rules such as refraining from talking loudly during performances, not blocking the view of other people, and obviously, avoiding being a disturbance.

It is no secret not all concert-goers have followed these rules throughout the years, resulting in a lack of respect for others and a ruined experience for everyone.

Now, in the aftermath of the pandemic, it seems like these rules are being ignored now more than ever.

But recently a current theme on social media is how the pandemic has changed how people behave and interact with others in public.

After being in lockdown for what seemed like a lifetime, it is pretty noticeable that the way people act in public has changed, for better or for worse, and in the case of concerts, it seems to be for worse.

I have been to six pre-pandemic concerts, and four post-pandemic concerts, and the difference is painfully obvious.

Concerts have never been a smooth ride to hop on, there is always some delay or some issue, but nothing major that hindered the experience in general.

The audience at concerts, in my experience, has always been one of the best parts.

In the concerts I went to before the pandemic, I always ended up dancing, crying, singing with the people around me, I never felt judged and there were never big fights that broke out in the audience.

Of course this has a lot to do with the type of concerts I went to, they were mostly pop artists that were directed to a younger demographic. No one ever thought that drunken fights would be a problem in those concerts, and they never were.

Which is why it was surprising to me when I accompanied my little sister and her friends to the Sabrina Carpenter concert in Toronto last October.

When we wanted into the Phoenix, I noticed many in the audience were younger girls just like my sister, between 12 and 15 years old, which was not out of the ordinary. Sabrina Carpenter started as an actress in Disney Channel shows and movies, which is where many in her audience today knows her from.

What I also noticed was the demeanor and behaviour of the older teens in the audience. There were a few people drinking to the point where they were being disruptive and other audience members didn’t stay hydrated and were vomiting and on the verge of passing out.

With Sabrina Carpenter’s tour specifically, her audience act disorderly has unfortunately become a regular thing. There are many videos on TikTok about her tour across North America and the repeated behaviour from part of her audience.

As a chaperone for my sister and friends, I could see that being witness to that behaviour really affected their experience. They were visibly uncomfortable and even scared. I remember the three girls holding onto each other’s arms trying to walk among the drunken crowd, and how those not drinking had the same look of annoyance and disappointment on their faces.

After we got home from the concert, I asked my little sister what she thought of the concert.

“It was okay, I guess” she said, and she did it in almost a breathless whisper that could not hide her disappointment. I felt bad. I knew that seeing your favourite artists in concert is one of the most unique and sought after experiences and I was saddened to see that my sister’s first experience was affected by the irresponsible behaviour of other people.

Concert etiquette is something that’s important and even if we did have a period of no socializing, it shouldn’t be ignored.