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Opinion: Gig etiquette? WTF?

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August 11, 2015

A sweaty, crammed, beer-stained punk show where the average age is twenty-one is the last place that any of the sweaty, crammed, beer-stained twenty-one year olds want there to be a set of rules, so why must we impose list after list of so called “gig etiquette” on these poor souls whose main aim is making sure they don’t puke on the person standing in front of them? If a rock gig is a place for rebellion, why is there even an “etiquette”at all?

If you type anything along the lines of “gig etiquette” into Google, you’ll get the same thing. Don’t constantly take pictures, don’t take pictures at all if you’re at the front, don’t make out with someone in the middle of a pit, don’t get so drunk you wet yourself on someone’s shoulders (I’ve seen this happen). Basically the same thing that would come up if you typed in “how to not be an asshole at a gig”, or, why not just, “how not to be an asshole.”

If you’re going to a gig and you need someone to tell you not to take a camera the size of a semi-detached house and stick it above everyone’s heads when you’re not even a professional photographer – you don’t need to learn about gig etiquette. Get off the website you’re on. Close the internet. Shut down your laptop. Take a step back and realise that no “10 things you shouldn’t do at a concert” list is going to help you. You are just an asshole.

This is why these lists are so ridiculous – the people who make out with their significant other for fifty minutes and then take two million selfies are the same people who cut in line at the supermarket or drive through red lights. They’re just assholes. Or, more realistically, they just don’t care about the people around them. And why should they? Perhaps if you’re at a small acoustic gig in the middle of the day then screaming out lyrics so loud you can’t hear the singer probably isn’t the best idea. But if you’re at a rock concert, why the hell would anyone expect your main concern to be for someone else? Yes, these people can be annoying, but if you start seriously imposing all these rules on them, you diverge so far from the original concept of a rock or punk show that the very point of one becomes obsolete. Just let people do what they want and shut up about it.

Do not fear, conservative gig goers, as this not-caring attitude (or should I say etiquette?) works both ways. Recently I was at a FIDLAR gig where people jumped on stage and tried to take selfies with the singer, who proceeded to bat the phones out of their hands. The band later tweeted “i have no problem breaking your iPhone 6 if you jump on stage and take a selfie while we are playing. please, give me something to break.” Obviously, their opinion is that it is bad gig etiquette to take selfies on stage, while the selfie takers were probably just a bit drunk and trying to have fun. Both had a right to do what they did – the selfie takers wanted to take selfies even though it would obviously annoy the band and it is obviously an assholic thing to do, so they did. The band didn’t like them doing it, so they swatted their phones away. No gig etiquette guide would have stopped the selfie takers from doing what they wanted to do – it’s an asshole thing to do, but they did it away, because they’re assholes. No guide on how to be nice to your fans’ possessions would have stopped FIDLAR from breaking the selfie takers’ phones.

Please, disagree with me. That’s the point. Do what you want to do at a gig, but accept that no list is going to help anyone whose first and foremost priority is having a good time, and the notion of imposing rules on a situation that was made to not have any is absurd. One thing I think we can all agree on is the etiquette of not groping girls (or guys) who crowdsurf. But then again, if you seriously need me to tell you that, you’re just an asshole.

Article by Amy Eskenazi

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