The One About Gig Etiquette

It is that time of year again when festivals are gracing us with their presence around the UK. I’ve been enjoying the hilarious social media posts about mud and such scenes but I’ve also seen some not-so-good comments about etiquette at gigs in general. Personally, I’ve experienced some awful behaviour at gigs from abuse of all nature to a couple of injuries so I could relate to some of what I was reading.

I asked you on my various social media platforms what you thought about gig etiquette and I was inundated with messages, tweets and comments about the matter. Some from music fans and even some music artists got involved so thank you!

Now, a fair few of the comments are probably a bit much. A few people I wanted to say, “perhaps you shouldn’t be going to gigs then” to but there were some fair comments as well.

So here are a few pointers about gig/festival etiquette. Mostly for fans but some for the artists also.

Support Acts

If you are at the barrier/near the front waiting for the artist you want to see come on then please show enthusiasm for the support acts.

There is nothing worse for a support act when the people they immediately see aren’t giving them any attention. In fact, it is plain rude. Either participate or stand further back.

The industry is difficult and for acts just starting out it can be off putting. Show support for the support!

Latecomers

If you arrive late to a gig then you have no right to push to the front of the queue or venue unless perhaps people let you.

The amount of times I’ve queued for hours for events and then some arsehole pushes through to the barrier is ridiculous. This applies to queueing too. Even if all your mates are there don’t just assume that the long queue of people are okay with you pushing at the front.

If you want to get to the front get there early. End of.

Phones

We live in an age where the majority of us own a smart phone. This is great but also can ruin a gig experience.

In small venues I think it is really off putting when people in front of the stage are just looking down at their phones – messaging or scrolling through social media feeds. You are out at a gig! Be sociable!

Also, filming/photography is a tricky one.

I think it is okay to film snippets of the gig (maybe about 30 seconds max of a track) and to take pictures but spending the whole gig on your phone having it pointed at the stage is no way to enjoy a gig.

Don’t be surprised if the artist gets pissed off that you are watching their gig through a screen.

Don’t Throw Beer/God Knows What Else

We’ve all been in situations at music events when you feel something being chucked over you and you wonder, was it beer or piss? Not pleasant at all. It is one thing going to a gig to have a good time but don’t ruin other people’s experience and even clothing.

Plus…you’re wasting beer!

Mosh Pits

Okay so mosh pits aren’t my thing. However, I don’t have an issue with them.

If I go to a gig I know is going to be crazy, like when I saw IDLES for example, I stand in a place where I’m out of harms way and watch the madness begin. I love watching it from afar!

But there are some things I think “moshers” should bear in mind.

Not everyone is going to be into it. If you collide with someone who is obviously struggling with it then perhaps instead of repeatedly bashing into them suggest – politely – they should move to a better spot. Also, if someone falls over in the mosh pit then please quickly help them up. At such a happy place like a gig we don’t want anyone being trampled on causing major injury.

On the flip side of all this, if you are trying to start a mosh pit and NO ONE is into it then maybe calm it? You don’t want to look like a dick.

Merch

In today’s musical society it is extremely difficult to make a living – especially for smaller artists – due to streaming.

Spotify pays about 0.004p per stream which is nothing really.

Artists make the majority of their money from merchandise, physical music sales (especially vinyl) and of course gigs. If you can spare a bit of cash for a merch item that the artist is selling or a physical copy of their music then that would be very much appreciated.

We’ve got to keep the music scene alive.

Drinking

I like a drink at a gig. I’m not a heavy drinker but I enjoy the buzz just as much as the next person however there is enjoying the buzz and then becoming totally inebriated. Please be aware of those around you and if you get too drunk don’t be surprised if security pull you out.

It is for your own safety and everyone around you.

For Artists

I had a few artists and promoters get in touch with some very artist specific “rules”. So here is a summary:

  • Show support to every artist on show. Talk to them. Shake hands. Exchange numbers. It creates good relationships for future events.
  • Take all and any possible equipment you may need. Don’t assume someone in another band will lend you an item. It is up to you to be organised.
  • However, if someone is missing an item then help them out. Kind of falls in the showing support category.
  • Don’t be late. This is not only linked to arrival and setting up but also starting your set. These events are very tightly timed and if you start late or overrun it can be problematic for the rest of the event. It is also plain rude.
  • Thank the crew and bar staff. Not just off stage but perhaps on stage. They work tirelessly throughout the gig to get everything done and to the best standard. They are the real saviours behind the scenes.
  • Promoters are important but doesn’t mean they’re all brilliant. The ones who are, build a good relationship with because they’re incredibly important to your longevity. Shake their hands and say thank you. But if they’re not worth it and/or screw you over then politely decline to work with them again.
  • Tidy up after yourselves and don’t take other people’s items. It is simply stealing and the artist may not be able to shell out for a replacement mic stand or drum stool etcetera.

Respect

Respect is the most important thing at a gig. Everyone is there to enjoy themselves and want it to run smoothly:

  • I’ve kind if mentioned this before but respect all of the artists performing. Give them attention. Clap at the end of songs. It is scary being up there especially when the crowd are not necessarily there to see you.
  • Show respect to staff members such as crew, security and bartenders. They are all there to work. None of them are paid enough to receive abuse.
  • Respect people around you. Be polite. Don’t take advantage or shout abuse. It isn’t fair as everyone is there to have a good time. But also, be helpful to one and other. Be a good human being. Don’t spoil it for others.
  • At the end of the gig, if you want a piece of memorabilia to take home then don’t have a scrap for it. You want a setlist or plectrum? That’s fine but others might want one too. People shouldn’t come away with scratches/bruises just for wanting to take something away with them. But also, for larger events, if you are being ignored by crew members when you are shouting up to the stage asking for items or if they tell you no then respect that. They have a job to do.

The more I think about it, this whole post is about respect. At the end of the day….

Don’t. Be. A. Dick.

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