Over the weekend I went to my first gig in a long time. I work a lot of hours and have been busy. Gigs weren't exactly a priority. Also I'm getting on a bit. I have a dodgy knee which makes standing though an entire gig impossible. At the gig in question, the band were fantastic. Some of the fans, however, were not. I go to a lot of alternative music events and have had quite the range of experiences. Some alt music fans are really nice and respectful where others are really not. I therefore thought I'd write up a few quick ground rules for gig-goers.
- You want to be at the front of the gig? Good. Get to the venue early and queue up like everyone else. Don't wait until the gig has started and then push your way through the crowd to the front - especially if you end up hurting people, knocking them over and splitting up people who want to be able to enjoy the gig together. Some of us made plans to queue up to earn a place at the front and so we bloody well deserve it.
- I came here to see a band play. I didn't come to hear you and your buddy have a loud conversation throughout the entire event. If you came to see your friend rather than the band then hang out at the bar and don't bother people.
- You want to mosh? That's fine, but mosh if other people want to get involved. Create a safe space to do so and if people fall down, pick them up. I almost got trampled at a Sisters of Mercy gig because a bunch of dudes thought it was OK to start pushing and moshing in a really tight crowd of people. I was winded and knocked to the floor. A friend of mine had to fight people back to pull me up so my head didn't get stamped on.
- Got a drink? Bored of it? How about you don't drop it on the floor in the middle of a crowd? It's an instant health and safety hazard, someone could slip and hurt themselves. Either drink it, hold it or see if your friend wants it. Don't create a slipping hazard for other people. Oh, and if the band is doing that slow ballad and you want to get out your lighter make sure to raise it high and take a look at your surroundings first. You don't want to be the idiot who sets someone's hair on fire.
- It's pretty common to want to sing along with the songs. You should be able to enjoy the music. That said, if I can hear your out of tune singing over the actual music, that's not going to be fun. If more than one person turns around to stare at you to find the source of the warbling, take it as a hint and take it down a few notches.
- Don't pickpocket. Just don't. Ever.
- Don't throw yourself at the stage at the singer in an effort to show your love for them, especially if you knock over several other fans in the process. I've seen plenty of guys literally throwing themselves at the feet of female singers at gigs. It's just a bit awkward for everyone involved.
- Being in a crowd does not give you any excuse for a casual grope. Ever.
- Respect queues be they outside the venue, at the merch table or at the bar. It's basic respect.
- Be generally supportive. Is someone getting squished? Give them space. Standing in front of people? Just turn around and check if the people behind you can see what's going on. Did someone faint? Seek help. Does someone want out of the crowd? Move for them. If it were you in danger, you'd want others to be helpful.
The bottom line is that you're all there for one sole purpose: to see the band and have a good time. Just make sure you're allowing the people around you to have a good time too.