The Ultimate Guide to Concert Etiquette

:: 02.28.18
Concert Etiquette Banner by Bailey Dutton

- Written by Cassie Cloutier -

Ah concerts, some of us have have been to more than we can count. Others may not have been to any. But regardless of how many or what kind of shows you’ve been to, one thing that’s constant across the board is concert etiquette. Now, you may be thinking concerts and etiquette shouldn’t even be in the same sentence together, but there are a few things everyone should keep in mind when attending a concert.

Know what ‘vibe’ you’re getting yourself into!

Now, this may seem like common sense, but it is truly the foundation of concert etiquette. Nobody wants to be that person who shows up in a neon tank top at a Bob Dylan concert when they’re dressed like they should be at Woodstock, or too drunk to even pay attention to the artist.

There is a big difference between an assigned seat show, and GA (General Admission). If you’re attending a show with assigned seating, be aware of those around you, and realize that nobody can move. It’s totally acceptable (and encouraged) to be excited, clap, maybe give a little shout when an artist performs a song you love but be aware of how those around you are reacting. Are other people standing up for the entire show? Is the setting more calm and formal? These questions are so important because more often than not, assigned seating shows generally are more expensive than GA tickets. Nothing is more frustrating than being stuck behind that one person standing for the entire show.

If you’re attending a GA show.

The guidelines for concert etiquette become incredibly more crucial. The most important thing to remember at a GA concert is personal space simply isn’t going to exist. Things like not wearing a backpack into the pit, putting your hair up BEFORE everyone is packed in when the show is about to start, and taking jackets off before everyone is packed like sardines is so crucial to making the GA experience go as smoothly as possible

Now that all that important prep work is out of the way, onto the show itself.

As important as it is to be excited to see the artist you’re there for, it’s also important to keep in mind there are opening bands who deserve your love and attention too. Think about it from their perspective. Statistically speaking, a majority of the crowd is not there to see them/doesn’t know who they are. They are still people with music to play and a message to say. They deserve the audience’s respect and attention. Nothing is worse than seeing a show where the opening act is performing and the whole crowd is just talking, disinterested, or on their phones. You paid to see the entire lineup. Even if you don’t actively listen to the opening band it’s worth giving them a chance. Who knows, you may just find a new favorite band!


Now we’ve reached the most exciting point of the night, the headliner!

The lights are out, people are chanting, and the joy is felt throughout the air. The lights go up, the artist comes out, and the next thing that always happens is here… the wave. For those who haven’t experienced the sheer power of hundreds or thousands of people all pushing forward to get as close as possible to the stage, the wave is when concert etiquette gets put to the ultimate test. As someone who has been at the barricade for most of the shows I’ve attended, holding your ground as firm as possible during the surges of movement is crucial. This lowers the potential for physically hurting the people who are front row. A metal barricade is very unforgiving to say the least.

The last tip, and in my opinion the most important...

If you’re going to show up a half hour before doors open,

Accept that you’re not going to be in the front row. Don’t try to push your way there. As someone who has waited outside in the middle of Boston’s winters for over eight hours to be at barricade for shows, nothing is more disheartening and frustrating than seeing someone shove through people who have waited for their spot be pushed out of the way for someone who showed up right as doors were opening. If you’re a big fan of the artist, show up early! In my experience, the venue staff are used to people being early to shows. Ultimately. it’s just in much better concert etiquette taste to let the front row have the front row. They truly earned that spot.

And with these six tips in mind, you’re guaranteed to not only set yourself up for a positive concert experience, but making sure those around you have a positive experience as well!