Rock Concert Pigs

by admin on September 7, 2011

My husband and I recently went on a trip for our first anniversary. We visited the Biltmore Estate in NC and stayed at the Inn on the estate itself. When looking at the events going on during the weekend that we were planning on going, we noticed that there was a concert that we were interested in attending. There was also a package deal in which you get preferred seating at the concert if you are staying at the Inn. Since it was a special occasion, we decided to go for the whole shebang despite the large expense involved. Overall, the trip was great. I enjoyed the performance given at the concert. We had 3rd row center aisle seats (which was awesome). That being said, the issue that I had was with the other concert goers and the staff working at the concert as well.

The band performing is an older rock group. Since it is a rock group, I had certain expectations including people drinking alcoholic drinks and a generally excited atmosphere. The venue itself was outdoors and set up with chairs right up to the front of the stage. This means that there was no intended standing area at the front of the stage. I saw a range of ages at the concert, but a good portion of the people that were sitting around us in the other awesome seats were older people who have probably been fans of the band for years and were both willing and able to drop money on good seats. I only mention this because I suspect at least some of these people are not able to stand for the length of a concert anymore. Based off how much money we paid, they shouldn’t have had to stand anyways.

When the concert started, there was a regular stream of people from further back in the crowd rushing up to the front of the stage to take pictures and film parts of the concert with camera phones or digital cameras. This meant that for the people sitting on the aisle, all of the sudden there would be a mass of bodies filling the center aisle to the point you would have to push people if you wanted to get through them and blocking off the view of at least half of the stage (there were times that I could not see the drummer, who was placed in the middle back of the stage). The ones that took a few pictures or filmed a short clip of a song were the most acceptable, as they tended to leave to return to their seats in short order. But then there were the people that insisted on standing in the center aisle for the length of a song. At minimum. The older gentleman sitting in front of me was clearly irritated by this (as were most of the other people sitting around us that I could see). He was at least able to get the people in the aisle to crouch down so that the people that were actually supposed to be in the front could see.

The person that takes the cake was the man that stood/crouched/sat on the ground of the aisle next to the second row for at least three-quarters of the concert. Of course he was tall, meaning that when he was standing, he was particularly effective at blocking views. We have no idea where his seat actually was. And he had a friend bringing him beers (at least the friend didn’t try to stay there too). I think he got karma’d though. A band member threw out a guitar pick, and as always multiple people dove for it. One of the people was the tall guy. And when the dive was over, the guy had his beer dripping off his face. He had to go get his own beer that time, though he did come right back when he had it.

My final question is where was the concert venue staff when this was all happening? The “crashers” were only cleared out when people on the front row got irritated and complained about the people standing in front of them at the rail in front of the stage. Otherwise, the crowd was left to stand wherever it pleased. If they were going to set up the venue in a format with no standing area at the front, then it should have been enforced by the staff. All of the people that paid the premium for seats up front expect to be able to see the show and not have to settle for watching the show as it is being recorded through someone else’s IPhone, especially when the person blocking the view most likely did not pay for seats in the front.

I am also sending a version of this email to Biltmore; if they do not know that the problem exists they cannot fix it for future concerts.    0906-11

I really wish I had the time to create photoshopped images of what my mind conjures up while reading these stories.  For this one, I envisioned pigs who had a somewhat middled aged or older look (think grey haired pony tails) standing at the base of the concert stage waving their arms in unison while the seated guests behind them wore squinched, scowly faces.

{ 70 comments… read them below or add one }

beckstar September 7, 2011 at 5:18 am

The OP is right to be annoyed. People standing at concerts when they should be seated is a real bugbear of mine, both for the reasons the OP states and also for safety reasons. I know concerts can be exciting and I have no problem with people standing up to applaud / cheer etc at the end of a song, but to push forward and stand throughout blocking the view of others who have paid to sit close to the front for whatever reason is rude and entitled, and could also cause a hazard in the event of an emergency evacuation. Sadly this behaviour is all too common, but I don’t understand why. You wouldn’t push forward and stand in a theatre or in a movie cinema, so why push forward at a seated concert?

Reply

lkb September 7, 2011 at 6:09 am

I can relate: Back in my younger days, I went to see a concert by one of my all-time favorite bands in a major arena. I had main floor tickets not too far back.

The “gentlemen” ahead of me and my friend were taller and boorish. Not only did they stand on the folding chairs right when the band played my all-time favorite song, they even tried to stand on the back of said folding chairs. I think they really expected me and my friend to hold them up by their, um, backsides! Yeah, that’s gonna happen.

Ruined what should have been a great night. Dang! It was the band’s last appearance in our city, too. The classic line-up for that band broke up when the tour ended roughly a month later. Sigh.

Reply

josie September 7, 2011 at 6:32 am

I’d like to add an “Amen” to this post. Hubby and I attended a concert awhile back featuring 2 of our favorite 70’s groups. We had excellent seats and paid an “excellent” price for those seats. II wanted to sit but all I could see was rear ends of the other concert goers in front of me. I was not in the mood to stand for 3 hours…..I just wanted to enjoy the music and watch the band. And I won’t even comment about the people in and out of the row, endlessly, getting their beers. The same people, over and over again.

Reply

QueenofAllThings September 7, 2011 at 6:57 am

In my (slightly) younger days, I went to a few concerts, mostly at Madison Square garden. And this is EXACTLY why I stopped going. This is SOP for concerts and it makes me crazy!

Reply

TychaBrahe September 7, 2011 at 7:12 am

I am really surprised that was permitted. Blocking aisles like that is a huge fire hazard.

Reply

David September 7, 2011 at 7:45 am

My wife and I are going to three concerts this month and this is the only thing I am worried about. We are both in our mid-50’s and unfortunately I am unable to stand for the lengths of time I used to be able, much less walk huge distances.

Reply

MellowedOne September 7, 2011 at 7:57 am

1. Is there such a thing as a high energy concert
A. where no one is allowed in the area in front of the stage?
B. Where most people are standing (regardless of location) throughout the concert?

Doesn’t make it “right”, but if it’s the usual rather than the exception, seems like you need to have a grin and bear it attitude when attending.

Reply

Angeldrac September 7, 2011 at 8:24 am

I don’t know anything about the estate that OP was at, but I really think that what the audience does re: standing/sitting depends on the tone of the event. My family went to a Rolling Stones concert a couple of years (really, a highlight of my LIFE) in a stadium. Now, yes there was goodness knows what going on down at the ground level, but for us up in the tiered seating area, by the second set everyone was dancing in the aisles, casually, no one getting hurt, everyone enjoying the music. Everyone except for one older couple who sat and yelled and swore at everyone and eventually ATTACKED my 55 year old Dad. My Dad is simply a regular guy, dancing with his wife and 4 daughters in a aisle at a rock concert, not drinking, not being violent, just enjoying the music of his youth. Thankfully it was broken up quickly and my Dad escaped unharmed.
Now, I think at some stage you have to say “this is a ROCK CONCERT”, not a symphony orchestra, and you have to expect certain behaviours with it.

Reply

Stephenie September 7, 2011 at 8:32 am

My last straw was at a concert venue where I was in the second row of the side balcony with a perfect view of the stage while seated. There was only one row of people in front of me, then a walk-way aisle with a railing along the front row. The only person in our section that decided to stand was the person who had the seat in front of me. I have no idea why it was necessary for him to stand. He was over 6 foot tall, so he blocked everyone behind him. He had a perfect view of the stage while sitting. There was no way I could see around him even when standing. He was the only person standing in our section and he knew it. To add insult to injury, any time someone stopped at the railing in front of him, he walked up to them, yelled at them and pointed to his pregnant gf/wife and ordered them to move along out of her way. Then he would return to his seat and stand and block the view of everyone behind him again. I was furious but didn’t dare say anything because he seemed extremely aggressive.

Reply

Amber September 7, 2011 at 8:43 am

I’m kinda wiffling about this one, because of the type of event featured. It’s a rock concert, and rock concerts have their own particular brand of cultural etiquette, especially when the band playing has a history of being subversive. Rock concerts always have people who rush to the front, no matter the ticket price, end of story. Always and forever has this been the case, from Elvis on down to Owl City and everyone in between. If you go to a concert not expecting this kind of behavior, then I think you’re fooling yourself. Particularly in an outdoor venue! It’s sort of rock concert etiquette to expect this and guard against this, I think. I have friends who never, never buy front row seats at a concert hall because of this.

Of course, it isn’t like concerts are full of boors, it’s just that the enthusiasm for the band takes over and a sort of mob mentality reigns. Example of good concert attendees: I went to one show where my husband accidentally got sucked into the mosh pit and fell. The moshers immediately stopped, lifted him in the air and set him on his feet. Someone even found his glasses frames, though the lenses were crushed.

Reply

alex September 7, 2011 at 8:47 am

this is one reason I cannot stand concerts. I remember a few years ago I went to a venue with pews and ended up having people SIT in my seat and basically push me to the side…. I was not happy.

Reply

A.J. September 7, 2011 at 9:01 am

I’ve only ever been to two concerts, but at both, the minute the band started playing, everyone immediately stood up. And we all stood for the whole concert.

However, no one was allowed to stand in front of the stage and if you didn’t have a floor seat ticket, you weren’t getting up there, I saw security send a lot of people back to their seats.

Reply

Hemi Halliwell September 7, 2011 at 9:08 am

Like the previous commenters, I too, had a concert by my all-time favorite band ruined by those who insisted on standing during the concert.
It was on my 10th anniversary, it was their second and final night in my nearest large city, so I paid a hefty sum to get great seats (4th row). The man and woman in front of me sat during the warm-up act, but as soon as the main attraction hit the stage, they stood and stayed that way for the ENTIRE 3 hours. The man was quite tall so when I sat, I could not see anything and when I stood, it looked like the lead singer was standing/dancing/performing on the man’s head.
When I think about that night, all I remember is JBJ doing a booty-shake on that man’s head!

Reply

Susan September 7, 2011 at 9:16 am

I can relate! We took our daughters to a Selena Gomez concert at the state fair a couple of weeks ago. It was an outside concert, no seats but people set out blankets. Everything was good for the opening acts, but as soon as Selena Gomez came out, the rushing, pushing to get closer and the parents who hoisted their kids on their shoulders made it impossible to see anything! It was frustrating and disappointing to the kids.

Reply

AS September 7, 2011 at 9:18 am

OP, I am glad you are writing to the concert organizers. If there is any place where you can rate the venue (like lot of public places have these days), maybe you can give your rating as a warning to other people like you who are willing to pay through their nose for a special occasion. If there is no “dance floor”, it means people are not allowed to go to the front, and the organizers should impose the rule – with cops is need be.

I don’t even understand how they got away with it, because crowing or blocking the aisles is a fire hazard and any place in USA is supposed to implement the rule very stringently.

I echo you OP – where were the concert organizers?

Reply

The Other Amber September 7, 2011 at 9:20 am

As QueenofAllThings mentioned, this is SOP at concerts. Aside from classical music, every single concert that I’ve been to with floor seating has ended up like this. In most cases the venue doesn’t really expect that people are going to sit in the chairs, they’re mostly there to look official for the inspectors. The venue expects that people are going to rush to the stage. If you have close “seats” what it really means is you get to stand closer to the stage. It’s been this way ever since rock’n’roll began. Which is exactly why if I get concert tickets I make sure I don’t have floor seating, and if it’s a single-level venue then I want to be sitting as close to the back as possible.

The OP can send her letter to the venue but believe me they’re not only aware of the situation, they expected it. What puzzles me is why the OP didn’t – I’m guessing it’s because it was an “older” rock band and she felt the “older” crowd would be content to just sit back and listen. Trust me, the “older” crowd can party.

Reply

The Elf September 7, 2011 at 9:20 am

Well, it’s a rock concert. I expect a certain amount of that, right or wrong, even if it is an older rock group. The crowd for Dio was as rowdy as the crowd for Godsmack! To be honest, at the concerts I attend I avoid the front unless I’m going whole hog mosh pit tickets. No seats in there, and enter at your own risk. Of course OPs venue had no pit if there were seats right up the stage, so it must be a little more sedate than what I’m used to.

I swore off mosh pits a few years ago after I saw Rob Zombie (the day after was a reminder that I’m getting too old for that), so these days I aim for about halfway back on the venue, which usually gives me a better view of the stage than what you get from right up to it. And, yes, it’s standing most of the time.

Each genre has its own subset of behaviors. What was really fun was going to see Trans-Siberian Orchestra at DAR Constitution Hall. It was half jeans and t-shirt headbangers and half business casual seat-sitters. The headbangers weren’t quite as wild as they would be for another metal group, and the classical music fans were rowdier than usual, so there was some degree of meeting in the middle, but it took a couple of songs to get there.

Reply

LovleAnjel September 7, 2011 at 9:22 am

The security guards were probably just happy no one was moshing or crowd-surfing. These concert-goers failed to understand that just because there was a patch of grass did not mean it was there for them to camp out on. If there are seats set up all the way to the front of the audience, that means there is no GA first-come-first-serve standing area. Being a short person myself, I totally feel for the OP. I spend a lot of concerts “accidentally” elbowing or bumping into people who are crowding the aisle (I don’t jam my elbow into them, but I do not make any effort to keep my elbows at my sides).

Reply

Angela September 7, 2011 at 9:44 am

On top of the etiquette issue, this seems a huge safety issue. There is a fire hazard, and what if someone had a heart attack or other medical emergency?

Reply

Phoebe161 September 7, 2011 at 9:48 am

TychaBrahe is correct; sitting/standing aisles is a fire/safety hazard and should not have been allowed. The venue staff were not doing their job by allowing this life safety code violation. I’m guessing this goes back to the ole “entitlement” mentality that’s so prevalent anymore.

Reply

a September 7, 2011 at 10:02 am

The same thing happens at football and baseball games. People think it is fine to stand the entire game, even though you’ve paid $100+ dollars to sit down. Sure, it’s fine to jump up for a great play and cheer, but then think about the people behind you. I frequently get the usher or text the number on the back of the ticket. That’s what security/ushers are paid for.

Reply

Annie September 7, 2011 at 10:07 am

Oh dear. As a punk/metal head (who loves etiquette!) I’ve never been to a show with…chairs. I’m a little baffled by the concept. I would have to imagine it would be like a concert hall or opera house with assigned seating. I wonder why this is considered par for the course in rock shows. Which musical genres demand decorum and which allow folks to view the show wherever they please?

This reminds me of a story my mom told me, though, where she went to a Journey concert when she was a couple of months pregnant and had a miserable time due to everyone else standing when she wanted to sit. So perhaps it has been a problem for as long as there have been arena rock concerts.

Reply

Daisy September 7, 2011 at 10:20 am

This is such a common problem that my husband and I no longer attend rock concerts. Venues need to treat it as the safety problem that it is. In an emergency such as a fire, a sudden weather emergency, or a stage collapsing, the people jamming the front and the aisles are going to make it impossible for anyone to evacate the area. EMTs won’t be able to fight their way forward if they’re needed. Aside from safety considerations, you end up with the same dilemma every time: either stand up yourself in order to see the concert, which makes you part of the problem, or spend a few glorious hours watching nothing but a bunch of backsides.

Reply

Tiffany September 7, 2011 at 10:43 am

Oh concerts. I remember the first big concert I went to on my own was a Savage Garden concert. During Truly Madly Deeply, a couple a few rows ahead of us stood up and snuggled during the whole song. Twenty or so people shouted at them to sit down, including myself and my friend. If I recall correctly, someone actually threw a cup at them, and I think it’s at that point they got the message and sat the &$#@ down. An extreme reaction to be sure, and not one I would indulge in, but it did get the job done (no one was hurt or soaked in someone else’s drink).

Reply

Margaret September 7, 2011 at 11:02 am

I didn’t have a problem with people standing in front during a Moody Blues concert a few years ago. I had problems with the jerks sitting right behind us. I know more about their retirement plans (IRAs, etc.) than their immediate families probably know. It’s very hard to hold a conversation when a band is playing – you have to shout above them, you know?

I and the person next to me who was a true groupie and knew everything about the band turned around and glared at them every single time they got talky. It finally worked.

I don’t know why the jerks were there. They could have had a better conversation in their own living room.

Reply

Another Laura September 7, 2011 at 11:11 am

@lkb I know it would have been unkind, but I would have been just a teensy bit tempted to push them over when they were standing on their folding chairs (usually not the sturdiest anyway).

I attended a small Christian liberal arts college that would about once a year have a concert featuring some well-known contemporary Christian group or other. (I only mention the Christian part because one would like to presume that people who attend Christian concerts would abide by the Golden Rule). One year it was two particularly popular groups performing and my friends and I had waited outside the doors for about an hour so we could get good seats when about 15 minutes before the doors opened a group of people came and tried to elbow their way in front of us. We all devoloped spines enough to prevent this.
Another year, my friends and I managed to get front row seats to a concert and were pretty happy about this until as soon as the music started and a whole group of people flooded the aisle and then came and stood in the two feet between our seats and the stage (basically right on top of us). When we sat down while the group spoke, one of them almost crushed my friend by nearly sitting on her!

Reply

Shannon September 7, 2011 at 12:02 pm

I think, ultimately, it’s a ROCK CONCERT and people are going to push their way to the front. And if everyone is sitting, it’s probably not a very good show. I’m used to standing, dancing, and a bit of nudging. It’s a rock concert, not a retirement home.

On the other hand, my concert peeve is people who sing along so loudly that they drown out the band. I had one very drunk woman in front of me for Radiohead who screeched every lyric. Top of her lungs, wasted howling along for every tune. She sounded like a basset hound soaked in whiskey. I finally broke down and calmly asked her to pipe down a little. She spent the rest of the concert berating me and shooting me dirty looks. Ugh.

Of course, then we got stuck in two hour-plus traffic jam getting out of the venue, in flood conditions. That was pretty much it for me and concerts.

Reply

Abby September 7, 2011 at 12:07 pm

Sounds like typical rock concert behavior to me. A few years ago, I went to a 38 Special/Peter Frampton concert at our state fair, and it was set up the same way, with rows of seats on the ground level and grandstand seating behind. My husband got us front row seats from someone he worked with who couldn’t go at the last minute. As soon as 38 Special came out, plenty of people came trickling down from the farther back seats to fill in the space in the aisles and between the front row and the stage.

While the music was great, my favorite memory of that show was the woman who stood right between me and the stage for Peter Frampton’s entire set, in Keds sneakers and mom jeans, and eventually hiked her sensible T-shirt up over her full coverage bra for Peter’s sake, I assume, and danced, clearly reliving her pre-kids days. I’m laughing right now just remembering that again! Sometimes you just have to go with the flow.

Reply

Michelle M September 7, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Then there is the occasional gentleman at a concert…. :)

Many years back, a girlfriend of mine and I went to see Chicago when they performed in our city. We were absolutely THRILLED to have main floor, center stage, row 2 seats! Until we saw who had the row 1 seats. The fellas that came in were *at least* 6’6 each, one of them had to be close to 7′; my friend and I are both about 5’3. Sitting down, they were still tall enough to block our view, even while we were standing. Oh, Lord!

One of them happened to turn around as the show was starting, spot us, and nudged his friend. They very gallantly insisted that we take their seats, and did not mind at all when we stood up for a great deal of the show, as did most of the main floor seating–it was too good to sit still!
To this day, it remains one of the best concerts I have ever attended, music- and experience-wise.

Reply

Rug Pilot September 7, 2011 at 12:43 pm

I recently attended a jazz concert at the Hollywood Bowl. They have rules there that state that late comers will be seated at the next appropriate opportunity, read: break, in the performance. During this concert the entire opening act was interrupted by people coming in late and unable to find their seats. They spent the entire first performance bothering those of us who were already seated asking if they were in the right place and what seats we were in. I finally flagged down one of the hundreds of staff members to show an elderly lady to her seat. She had been bothering all of us and standing during the performance. This continued until the lead act came on stage. No dancing in the aisles but there was a whole lot of walking up and down the rows loudly asking each other and the rest of us where they belonged. I was seriously tempted to direct a flock of them to the picnic area outside the Bowl.

Reply

Millie September 7, 2011 at 12:52 pm

I am sorry, but this is SOP at concerts other than classical/symphonic concerts. Believe me, I am sorry becauseI wish this SOP were not SOP, but it is. My dh refuses to attend concerts because of this practice, but it is, as far as I can tell, universal.

A significant reason is that it would be nearly impossible to enforce a sit-down rule. I have only been to one concert where the security staff tried to make people sit down, but eventually gave up because it appeared that 95% of the 5000 attendees were standing. It was simply impossible (and I will note that security was only trying to get short, skinny teen girls to sit and allowing the big burly guys with beers to stand as much as they wanted).

Short of stopping the concert until people sat down, how would you enforce that rule? And how many time would you have to stop the concert? How unruly would people — many of whom have been drinking at the VENUE-provided bar — react to repeated stoppages of the concert?

I also think that many performers greatly prefer the energy coming at them from an audience which is on their feet, dancing, waving arms, and bouncing up and down. I’ve been to many concerts in fact where the performers actually exhort the audience to stand. (I’ve also seen performers encourage audience videography — because it gets posted on YouTube or fan sites and is free publicity. In fact, during one concert the security guards tried to prevent people from videotaping and the performers actually incorporated a “Stop harassing the audience” line into their lyrics.

So I think someone considering going to a concert needs to know that standing, rushing the stage and amateur videographers jockeying for position are the rule, rather than the exception. If you don’t want to deal with it, then I suggest you do as my dh does and stay home.

Reply

LovleAnjel September 7, 2011 at 1:05 pm

@Amber – you have seen mosh pit etiquette. If someone falls, pick them back up. If an item is lost, find it & give it back (and if you played keep-away with it first, a beer is order). If someone wants out, help them out. If some jerk is randomly punching people, take him down and get security.

What do emergency services do when someone gets hurt? They shove their way in, and the people who see them coming yell “Paramedics! Out of the way!” or some such and force open a path to the injured person (who has by then a small crowd yelling “Over here!” and waving their arms). The paramedics carry the injured party out to a clear area to attend them.

I have been to punk, metal, and rap shows and this is pretty standard. Most everyone is willing to help, and if not they get out of the way. Yes there are a few jerks, but they can’t compete against the 100 metalheads who won’t put up with that kind of BS.

Reply

Ashley September 7, 2011 at 1:07 pm

I am with Annie on this one. I am a metal head and I have been to probably at least 100 shows in my 25 years on this earth, and I can only think of one of them that had seats throughout the venue. So I am a bit confused as to why a rock show would be in a place without at least SOME designated standing room. The concert hall I go to most frequently has a VIP balcony for some shows. It has seats, and since it is a balcony, you can see the whole stage even if you are seated. I paid extra for balcony seats once because the show I was going to see was a band pretty well known for some large and scary mosh pits. And even then, the people who pay extra for the luxury of having a chair behind them end up standing for the duration of the show. Even at the classic rock shows I have attended, everyone stands. So aside from the safety hazard of blocked aisles, I am sorry, but I truly do not understand why OP is so seemingly annoyed by the fact that people were standing at a rock concert. If I want to sit to watch music, I’ll put on a concert DVD at home and sit on my couch. I go to rock concerts to get into the music and thrash around a little bit.

Reply

WhirlyBird September 7, 2011 at 1:18 pm

So, this isn’t the same issue, but how I solved a similar problem. A number of years ago I was at a concert where the two women behind us were talking at full volume. It was distracting and frankly, I could hear every word they were saying. I finally turned around and asked “Did you want to pay for my seat? Because all I can hear is you talking.” They shut up and I got ugly glares all night. I don’t care about the glaring. At least its quiet.

I’ve done the same in movie theaters as well. It works.

Reply

LaurenP September 7, 2011 at 1:22 pm

“I really wish I had the time to create photoshopped images of what my mind conjures up while reading these stories. For this one, I envisioned pigs who had a somewhat middled aged or older look (think grey haired pony tails) standing at the base of the concert stage waving their arms in unison while the seated guests behind them wore squinched, scowly faces.”

It’s times like this I wish my scanner worked… :(

I have been to a non-fancy concert where there was no dancing. It was Roger Hodgson, and Supertramp isn’t really the kind of “dancing in the aisles” music, so… people did stand up to cheer and clap though.
Good time was had by all.

Reply

--E September 7, 2011 at 1:30 pm

Standing is SOP at rock concerts–it’s that kind of music.

I’ve apparently been fortunate to be at venues where security enforces the clarity of the aisles. Sure, there are people coming and going, but when folks stop and stand, I’ve always seen them get quickly shooed away. Just lucky, I guess.

I would like to sit down occasionally, and I do, but I don’t expect everyone else to. The only time I’ve ever seen crowds sit down at rock concerts is if the band members do an acoustic solo or duet, where sitting and listening to their musicianship is the whole point.

Reply

Psyche September 7, 2011 at 1:44 pm

My very first rock show was Ozzfest 2001, and to be honest, it was a great learning experience on preparing for outdoor shows:

1. Carry lots of money on you if you want to buy from the merch booths. You *will* want a t-shirt, and it *will* be overpriced.

2. If you see a circle pit forming, move to one side. They don’t mean to hurt you, but those flying fists still hurt!

3. Check the weather reports and plan your wardrobe accordingly if it’s an outdoor event. There’s a *huge* difference between dressing for the club and dressing for an outdoor event.

4. Make sure when you’re crowd surfing the “sea” will catch you. I got dropped twice-once I landed face-first into the dirt, another I fell on my butt. The guy who dropped me the time I fell face first admitted he wasn’t paying attention at the time.

Still, I have nothing but fond memories.

There’s no Ozzfest this year. *sigh*

Reply

Calypso September 7, 2011 at 2:40 pm

For the people who are saying “that’s the way it always has been and the way it always will be, so expect it”–I have a question (non-snarkily meant, I really want to know what people think)—Rock concerts only go back about 50 years. Initially, in the general-“seating”, everyone stand up and dance areas, there were no chairs, or no “premium” seating, anyway. Also, the crowd was vastly much younger.

Does it make any when you know that the people who paid $25 are blocking the view of people who paid $150 or (much, much) more? Does that enter into your thoughts at all?
And, as some posters have said, more and more of the audience is getting of an age where standing up for the length of a concert is not an option. Should those who can have an awareness of this, as the audience demographic changes?

Reply

V September 7, 2011 at 2:52 pm

psyche- in regards to rule 1 & 4.
I have and always will make my fan t shirts unless the band is independent and selling shirts they made for gas money to the next gig. When I was coming up, goth ina box mall stores didn’t exist. You couldn’t buy even a Beatles t-shirt at the local big box mega store mart. If you wanted a shirt, you had to make it. Most bands love this. Sonic Youth even went on a nationwide search a few years ago to find a fan because they wanted to use a picture of a t-shirt the fan had made. Corporate band merch is waaaay over priced and very little of that $30 t shirt makes it to the band’s pockets. Sending a picture of your DIY shirt to the band a bit a head of when they are going to hit your city can score you free tickets and/or sound check attendence (which is like a private concert in some cases).

rule 4- don’t crowd surf if you don’t have insurance. I stopped crowd surfing around age 19. I didn’t like being dropped or groped. I unknowingly got surfed onto a stage once. I hate stage diving. scares the daylights outta me. Thankfully I’m a girl but not a groupie, so I wasn’t tackled by bouncers since it was obvious I was running from the singer, not toward. I do wish there was a word for female mega fans that wasn’t groupie since it implies also being a fan of getting to know the band much more intimately than I’m interested in doing. =( Kinda like seeing a chick in the pit that knows the proper rules. Nothing worse than a tiny chick that thinks the goal IS to punch someone on purpose.
another note on rule 2…Observe the pit before you get in. Not every city knows the proper etiquette for the pit (move in a circle. do not stop. do not intentionally punch or kick anyone. if someone falls, get them up. if you fall, cover your head, pull your body into a ball if possible. Check your pockets before you enter, give keys/purse/phone to non slam dancer friends. take off dangerous jewelry. do not attempt to smoke while slam dancing. do not engage/pull anyone who does not want to be in the pit into the pit, give back dropped items (memphis doesn’t play keep away/beer rule, but I’ve been to other cities that do). no groping. do not try to yank off the Str8edgrs face scarves.). I always watch a pit for a few songs to make sure that it is a real pit, not just a bunch of violent kids. I also look for anyone with spikey jewelry or anyone that is using the pit to pick pocket. Waiting a song or two has saved me from getting into pits I would have probably gotten seriously hurt in.

Reply

Jenn50 September 7, 2011 at 2:59 pm

Yes, it’s SOP. And yes, it’s annoying. And a fire hazard. And a trample hazard. I won’t go to a concert anymore unless I can get seats at the rail on one of the tiers, as this seems to be the only place I can be sure that the ushers will keep clear and nobody will stand in their seat in front of me. And as an EMT, I can tell you that we do NOT enter a mosh pit or anything like it. Security muscles their way through and hauls the injured person out to us, and if their injuries are worsened by that movement, that’s considered a risk they took when they entered the pit. Other services with a more lax view towards their crews’ personal safety might go in, but any service I’ve worked for says don’t, under ANY circumstances enter the pit.

Reply

Tara September 7, 2011 at 3:18 pm

It is common practice to stand at concerts, even ones with seating. I’m not saying it’s a GOOD practice… it means I have to stand up if I want to see, and all it takes is one person standing and everyone behind him has to stand to see, etc etc. People always stand in the aisles too. And I do mean EVERY concert I’ve gone to (except classical concerts). I’ve heard people complain (on facebook) about all the boring people who stayed seated and didn’t even dance to the music.

So the lesson here is: if you don’t want to stand, and STILL want to see, you need to scout the seating area ahead of time, and buy the seats that are at the edge of a drop-off (most concerts have these). Front row balcony is ideal. Barring that, there’s usually an area for lighting crew, and sitting behind that affords a good view. If it’s going to be a concert where I know there’s no seating like mentioned above, I either don’t bother going, or buy general admission so I can be as far back as I need to be in order to see.

Reply

bunnyface September 7, 2011 at 3:41 pm

I used to work in this business, and trust me, the band knows exactly what is happening and they do have the power to stop it. They can detail security specifications right in their contract, and if these are not being followed, they can tell the venue they refuse to play until the security issue is fixed. This band does not care about safety.

Reply

Alexis September 7, 2011 at 3:52 pm

I may be the only one, but I think the OP sounds kind of, well, snotty. Yes, it’s annoying when people stand up in front of you at a concert, but it is something that often happens at music shows. It was up to the management to get people sit down, but the OP could have at least complained to the mangement and given them a chance to rectify it. Also, if people who’ve paid for seats in the front are entitled to see the show from where they sit, what difference does it make whether those tickets were expensive or not? Why did OP even mention that they were probably ‘willing and able to drop money on good seats’? How is it her business what other people can afford? I guess what bothers me about this letter is that I could have sympathized with the OP if she hadn’t sounded so unpleasant herself.

Reply

The Elf September 7, 2011 at 4:00 pm

@ Shannon “On the other hand, my concert peeve is people who sing along so loudly that they drown out the band. ”

At a rock concert? I know metal really pushes the volume, but you’d be really hard pressed to drown out the band at a metal concert. It’s like talking over a 747 taking off. Just not physically possible. The bigger problem to me is when the pump the volume up so loud it reaches the point of pain, or just turns into “soup”. It happened to me once and only once, at a Metallica show (during the tour for the black album). It was at a huge venue and the crowd actually drowned out Hetfield during Master Of Puppets. Eventually, he just turned the microphone around and let us sing the song. Very cool. It’s one of my favorite metal memories.

Reply

Yuki September 7, 2011 at 4:31 pm

Standing up in one’s own seat when everyone else is standing at a rock concert- fair enough

Purchasing a ticket that is not in the front, and then running up to the stage, especially when not everyone is standing- Not cool.

Reply

LovleAnjel September 7, 2011 at 5:39 pm

@bunnyface

Even if they don’t have it in the contract/rider, a band can fix this. When Rage Against the Machine played Lolla a few years back, the crowd was full of jerks remembering their nu-metal days. People were being hurt. The lead singer stopped the band to tell the crowd to calm down. Two songs later he had to do it again – and said if they had to stop a third time, the show would end then & there. The crowd calmed down for the rest of the set.

Hubby had some bratty teenager tell him to “get out if you don’t like it, this is what the pit is like”. Kid, we were moshing before you were conceived. You and your friends being a*holes does not a pit make.

Reply

Shannon September 7, 2011 at 5:41 pm

“At a rock concert? I know metal really pushes the volume, but you’d be really hard pressed to drown out the band at a metal concert. It’s like talking over a 747 taking off. Just not physically possible.”

Elf – it was an outdoor venue and raining VERY heavily outside. (This was the famous Radiohead show in Virginia where there was significant flooding, many were unable to get inside the venue, and it was total chaos – http://www.billboard.com/news/radiohead-fans-up-in-arms-over-virginia-1003804125.story#/news/radiohead-fans-up-in-arms-over-virginia-1003804125.story) So the band’s speakers were harder to hear over the torrential downpour, whereas a shrieking woman immediately in front of me was far easier to catch.

Reply

Another Alice September 7, 2011 at 6:21 pm

Eh, I think it’s a lesson learned for the OP. This post seems sort of like a generational thing. As other commenters have noted, I also have been to at least a hundred concerts in my life – some at very small bar venues, with no seats at all, some very big but are “general admission,” and others in stadiums with seats. I have almost never been to a concert where people sat during the main show, no matter the venue, so I’m actually surprised this is a surprise to the OP. The only venue I go to where people sit has bench seating and has a sort of “cabaret” atmosphere, with quiet bluegrass bands playing, so nobody stands in the seating area. If all the seats are full, people stand at the back.

As I said, you live, you learn. I personally would never get floor seats because of the inability to see. Most stadiums with tier seating allow a person to sit and still see over the heads of those in front of them, and I’d rather have that option if I get tired of standing. As an aside, I also would never, ever go to a general admissions show – why should I pay the same as the people who shove their way to the front and have no room to breathe for three hours? Blech. But it took literally almost a hundred shows to get to know certain venues and expectations of different types of shows.

I will say, however, that standing in the aisles IS a bit of a surprise to me. Large venues in particular seem pretty strict about fire hazards, and especially for occupying a spot that you didn’t pay for. (For example, if you paid less for a seat way in the back, it IS obnoxious to then just amble up to the front for a better view.) I feel bad that the OP did not enjoy his/her experience, as I love going to shows, but hopefully next time they’ll understand their own preferences and have more realistic expectations.

Reply

V September 7, 2011 at 7:51 pm

I might be able to bring a different perspective to this; I’m a roadie and have traveled with a lot of bands and fan behavior is usually more dependent on what the band/artist will allow than what the venue will allow. If the band wants fans to rush to the stage or have a mosh pit security is told to allow it. But I’ve also been out with performers who will have people thrown out for texting during a show, let alone getting out of their seat to come stand at the front of the stage. So while the people blocking your view were inconsiderate some blame does lie with the band for informing the venue to allow this kind of behavior, and they have no doubt allowed this at other shows they’ve done.

Reply

chechina September 7, 2011 at 8:39 pm

The OP didn’t write that people were so moved by the music that they were getting up to dance (which to me would be excusable too). She repeatedly stated that people were just standing around blocking others.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: