The conduct of live music fans is just as bad as cinema-goers
25 September 2023
The recent, post pandemic lockdown, sometimes poor behaviour of film-goers has been the subject of some discussion recently. Many of the problems frustrated cinema patrons have reported stem largely from the gratuitous use of smartphones during screenings. It’s enough to make you want to stay at home and stream movies instead.
But bad, inconsiderate, audience conduct is not restricted to cinemas. The attitudes of live music fans likewise leaves much to be desired. Not only are gig-goers refusing to keep their smartphones in their pockets, they’ve also taken to throwing objects at the performers on stage. Both Taylor Swift and Harry Styles have been the target of audience-hurled projectiles, at recent shows.
I’ve been a music journalist since the mid-1980s, and one thing I can say with confidence is that people’s behaviour at gigs has become objectively and observably worse over time. These things used to be self-policing and there was an unwritten code. So, for example, if there’s a moshpit and someone falls, you stop and help them back up. If someone’s shorter than you and you’re blocking their view, you get out of their way. If you absolutely must get nearer to the stage, go round the side instead of barging through the middle. Most of these conventions simply fall under the catch-all rubric of Don’t Be a Selfish Idiot.