Concert survival and etiquette guide

I’ve been to enough live music in my time to know my way around. Concerts can be just as stressful as they are enjoyable, especially for the inexperienced. The planning, the crowds and the logistics can all get under your skin and sometimes damper the thrill of seeing your musical heroes in the flesh. Thankfully with a few tips you can keep a cool head and ensure a truly incredible and stress-free concert for you and everyone around you.

To Buy or Not To Buy?

Naturally the first step is choosing the right concert, but that can sometimes be the hardest part. Usually the bands you like are playing on the far side of Narnia, with the all the dates clashing with important events and needing to sell your soul to afford tickets. It’s Murphy’s Law: Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Therefore if good tickets come up then it’s usually best to go for it. Things still might not work out, something might come up or the gig may be cancelled, but it’s better to take a chance rather than miss out.

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Trepidation-free Travel

Travel is the part which requires the most planning, unless you’re lucky enough to live close to the venue. You need to travel to the city in question and then on to the venue. Give yourself plenty of time! There may be traffic, trains may be delayed, you might wanna give yourself chance to stop for something to eat. If it’s a venue that you’re unfamiliar with it might take you a while to find it. It’s always better to be early than late.

If you’re travelling by train rather than driving, getting home afterwards poses a problem. Concerts usually end around 11pm, by which time public transportation is rather sparse. If you can it’s best to call in a favour and get a late night lift from a friend or ask to stop for the night. Taxi’s and hotel rooms can cost far more than the tickets themselves and there won’t be any more trains until the morning. Take it from someone who once spent 9 hours pacing round St Pancras station, getting home is important.

Get Yourself Sorted!*

When you first enter the venue you should get all other distractions out of the way as soon as you can before taking your place in the audience; a quick trip to the loo, grab a drink from the bar etc. The cloakroom is your friend, no one wants to be drenched in sweat, roasting to death all night, nor do you want to be stood next to someone who is. If you plan on buying something from the merch stand it’s best to do so first and then keep the purchase safe with your coat/bag in the cloakroom. If you move about later on in the night you risk losing your place in the audience and at the end of the night everyone is in a rush to leave and most stands are closed by that point anyway.

The Main Event*

Obviously you’ll want to be at the front, but so will everyone else. To avoid the mad rush, and the rowdy audience members, your best bet is to be at the side of the stage rather than dead centre. You avoid overcrowding without hindering your view too much. Rowdy concert goers can occur at any concert (I was once stood next to a one man mosh pit at the Boomtown Rats of all places) but they always gravitate towards the front and centre stage. If you yourself are of a wild disposition please bear in mind that not everyone wants to flail about and bash into each other like rutting stags, most people are there to enjoy the music. Make sure that the people that want to get out of the way have space to do so.

As you’ll be stood around for several hours, comfortable shoes are a must. A fair amount of that time will simply be waiting. Even though the stage is set hours before the audience arrive, the roadies still check every instrument and microphone at least 3 times between acts. Patience is therefore a virtue so you’ll probably want to pass the time talking to the people you’re with and the people around you. Either that or make sure that your phone has plenty of charge left, otherwise it’s gonna be a long night. The main thing to bear in mind during a concert though is that everyone is there to enjoy themselves, have fun but be mindful of the people around you.

* If you’re in a seated area of a larger venue rather than amongst the standing crowd you avoid a lot of the hassle but may have to compromise for a worse view.

So there you go, with a little planning and some common sense you can have years of wonderful concert memories.