Stop the solo concert shame

Jubelnde Konzertbesucher auf Rock-Konzert

I will admit, I was a bit of a late bloomer when it came to live music. I didn’t attend my first proper gig until I was in university and it wasn’t until many many more down the line that I discovered that there is a stigma attached to going to concerts on your own. A great many more concerts later, both solo and with friends, and I still must profess that I don’t understand what the problem is. I think it’s high time people grow up and embrace the idea of going solo to live music events.

The majority of my concerts have been solo, and there are plenty of good reasons why that is nothing out of the ordinary. Firstly, while we try to surround ourselves with people that we have something in common with, it’s quite often difficult to find someone with similar tastes who would fancy tagging along. Perhaps you’re ahead of the game and follow a new up-and-coming artist that your friends aren’t aware of? Perhaps you may share similar tastes in other things, but are as different as chalk and cheese when it comes to music tastes. One of my dearest friends goes to as many, if not more, concerts than I do, but that doesn’t suddenly make her love of country and my love of progressive rock any more compatible. Why is it somehow more acceptable to drag someone along to a gig that they won’t enjoy, rather than face going alone?

Even if you do find someone to go with you, that can then provide some new logistical challenges. If you can manage to get your hands on enough tickets, you will likely have to arrange each person’s travel arrangements separately and agree on a meeting point. And then what about accommodation? What if some people want to stay over in a hotel and others need to be back home as soon as possible for an early start? What if someone has a tight budget; while we all love to hang out with our friends, what starts as just seeing a band can suddenly turn into a big and expensive social event. There’s always someone with the organisational skills of a small child on a sugar rush just waiting to complicate all your plans.

We all have our little routines and rituals when it comes to concerts. Personally I visit the merch stand first off, store my purchases away safely in the cloakroom, and then try to find a good spot front and centre. But what if your routines don’t line up with your friends? Some people (monsters, the lot of them) skip the opening act, waltz in late and try to worm their way to the front. Some folks aren’t fans of the front, whether due to the noise or the crowds, and prefer a spot further back. I wouldn’t dream of risking a good spot, but I know plenty of people who spend half of the night at the bar and, subsequently, end up going to the loo a half-dozen times. Either someone takes charge and drags the others out of their comfort zone, or everyone goes their separate ways and takes their usual positions, completely ruining the point of going together.

We all love to hang out with our friends, but to say that you can only have good time with them around is simply daft. We have set up this social convention that specific things aren’t meant to be done alone, we need to learn to be comfortable in our own company. If you want to see that new movie at the cinema, and no one else does, just go and see it. If you fancy a meal at a restaurant you love, you don’t have to wait for a special occasion, just go and stuff your face! If the choice is hanging out with your friends, in the same old place, talking about the same old gossip, or going to a concert and having a damn good time then it’s a no-brainer in my books. Besides which, you’re never truly alone at a gig. You’re surrounded by fellow music fans, the band you love is right there in front of you. It doesn’t matter who you’re with, the experience is worth it.