FEATURE: Gig Etiquette

We may not be able to fix global warming or poverty just yet, but the world would be a slightly nicer place if people followed these simples rules while attending gigs.

1. Plan your arrival time based on your height.

This might be harsh, but if you’re short and worried about not seeing, you have two choices: either arrive early and get a good spot, or suck it up. Positioning at a gig is equal playing ground – first in, best dressed. The fact that you’re short does not override the fact that I’ve waited for hours and lined up for a top spot. Chances are, I’m a huge fan of the band too.

That said, if you’re taller you can show some sympathy and be nice. On most occasions I’m not too bothered to let someone short in front of me. But don’t go to a gig and assume it’s your right to be able to push in front. It’s not.

And no, do not pull that bullshit excuse of “you’re tall, you can still see if you go second row”. There is a huge difference between the barrier and second row, especially in a lively crowd where you’re being thrown around.

2. Don’t be a sloppy drinker.

You know what? I actually don’t want your beer thrown over me, funnily enough. Nor do I want it in my hair, on my shirt, or all over my shoes. Keep it in your glass thanks.

3. Be polite.

If I offer you my spot against the barrier, say “thank you”. Don’t pull a face like I should’ve offered earlier.

Same goes for anything else where general manners come into play. If you accidentally elbow or land on someone – apologise. Use common sense.

4. Don’t act like a gorilla on cocaine.

People go to a gig ’cause they wanna enjoy live music. Don’t flail your arms around and barge into people, especially if you’ve got a larger build. Seeing huge (usually drunk) guys lumbering around the mosh and ruining the night for people who are smaller is pretty disgusting. By all means mosh and jump around, but don’t do it at the expense of others.

5. Watch out for people around you.

See someone get knocked down? Help them up, don’t just leave them on the floor. Someone can’t breathe against the barrier? Let a security guard know.

You know what I’m talking about. Act like a bro towards people you’ve never met – some day you could be in their spot.

6. Shut your talk-hole.

Sure, you can chat with your mates, but don’t insist on yelling to your friends throughout the whole gig when people are trying to listen to music. Especially if it’s an acoustic act. No one needs to hear about your visit to the dentist last week.

7. Follow basic hygiene conventions.

Wear deodorant and keep your shirt on. It’s natural to sweat during a gig, especially in a tight crowd, but that doesn’t mean I want you to cover me in it. Deodorant will help cover the stench of pure evil too.

8. Dress appropriately.

There are very few gigs where huge handbags and stupid hats are appropriate. And yes – that’s also a no for heels. Partly because I don’t want you rolling an ankle, but mainly because I don’t want you breaking my freakin’ toes. Just wear something normal and practical.

9. Unless you have a media pass, you are not a professional photographer.

I don’t have to move aside so you can use a big camera to take nice pictures. By all means, take a couple (I take a two or three on my phone for reviews), but let’s be honest – unless you’re in the photographers’ pit, your photos are going to be sub-par compared to what you’ll find on a professional site.

Mosh pits can be rough. Bringing an expensive camera is plain risky. But no matter what you’re using, don’t hold it up all night – it’s ridiculously annoying. Put it away and enjoy the gig, yeah?

10. Don’t be a dick.

If these are too much to remember, just keep this one in mind and you should be fine.

Thanks to the contributions from Electric Skeleton, And Pluck Your Strings, Sabi’s Aus Music Blog, and Wasting Time.

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One thought on “FEATURE: Gig Etiquette

  1. There are so many more from a grumpy gig goer like me:

    Dress appropriately, you’re at a gig not a fashion show. Over sized handbags, high heels, puffy hair, not appropriate for a crowded gig.

    Shower beforehand, or at least roll on some deodorant. The gig will likely be a hot and sweaty place but that is no excuse to attend with a horrible stench trailing your every step. That goes for ‘bouncers’ or ‘security’ as well, as I have been left with my eyes watering because of one useless security member that constantly walked past smelling like shower was a bad word.

    Yeah, good for you, you spent $3000 on a camera. I’m happy for you, but we both spent the same amount on a ticket to the gig, so I have as much right to be front row as you. I shouldn’t have to jump out of the way so you can take more crappy pictures. An expensive camera doesn’t make you a professional photographer.

    Drinking and socialising at a gig is fine. You can’t be expected to stand around waiting for the entire night, but if you are going to talk while a band is playing, then move to the back of the room. Don’t shout to the person next to you about your boring job or what you did last weekend, you’re supposed to be there to listen to music.

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