Staff essay: What on earth happened to concert etiquette?


Addison Locke

Singer-songwriter Lucy Dacus performing at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.

Over the past few years, I’ve seen videos on social media of people claiming they were urinating in the Harry Styles pit so they wouldn’t lose their spot, audience members at a Maroon 5 concert jumping on stage and people getting mad at Steve Lacy for smashing a camera thrown at him.

A couple months ago, I attended the Lucy Dacus concert at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. To my surprise, many people were acting like they had never stepped out in public before. For one there were people laying on the ground (mind you, this is a general admission event), fully licking each other, and aggressively shoving their way to the barricade. As I observed, I began to wonder, what happened to concert etiquette?

Erratic behavior at concerts has become normalized despite the fact that it can create a dangerous environment and harm the artist or the audience. However, these circumstances are not new. In 2021, Travis Scott’s Astroworld concert in Houston, Texas resulted in a crowd surge caused by adrenaline and panic. Videos circulated of ambulances pushing through the 50,000 person crowd and people screaming for help. According to the publication, Vulture, ten people died, the youngest being just 9 years old. Both Travis Scott and the crowd played a large role in this event and there should have been more measures taken to stop the events that happened.

Artists observing bizarre behavior shouldn’t have to step in. Although there are broad circumstances, artists should not have to call for security or medics because audience members are at risk. This should be up to thorough event planning and proper infrastructure. Venues need to be prepared for any circumstance and have the right people trained other than the traveling artist.

However, when it comes to audience members there are completely different expectations. You should be respectful to others around you and be aware of your actions. Now, it is easy to understand why people get extremely excited during concerts and can be unaware of their behavior. Your adrenaline is flowing and it should be. One of your favorite artists is going to be performing right in front of you! You have to remember your responsibility to respect the artist and the people around you. Concert culture can only change for the better if venues, artists and audience members work together to ensure a safe and secure environment.