6 Things You Should Definitely Not Do At Concerts This Summer

The post-pandemic return to live music looks a little ... different. Fans around the world have flocked to see their favorite artists, and Taylor Swift's record-breaking Eras Tour has shown that the appeal of concerts has not gone anywhere. But while venues can still draw the masses, they seem to be having trouble getting the manners to show up, too.

A recent surge of poor concert etiquette has prompted many concert-goers — from across diverse fandoms — to call for change. In response to shocking fan behavior involving thrown items at a P!nk concert, one Twitter user wrote, "Did everyone forget concert etiquette during covid? Wtf is wrong with people." Rolling Stone, meanwhile, published a "plea for concert etiquette sanity," declaring that live music is "in crisis."

Of course, a few bad actors shouldn't stop you from enjoying your favorite songs and artists live. Incidents like the crowd crush at the 2021 Astroworld Festival have renewed conversations around concert safety and helped create conditions and cultures to make attendees feel safer. There are also many things you can avoid doing to ensure that you're part of the solution — not part of the problem.

Don't throw things at the artists

Harry Styles' "Love on Tour" set has been a hit with fans due to its high levels of interactivity. The singer is known for reading off attendees' signs and joking with them — and as a result of some mega-fans vying for his attention, Styles has also become a prolific catcher of projectiles. TikTok hosts compilations of the "Watermelon Sugar" singer snagging hats, flags, and water bottles out of the air as they come flying from the audience.

While Styles' reflexes seem to always be at the ready, the throwing trend has extended to artists who have been caught disastrously off-guard. After a cell phone was thrown during her performance, Bebe Rexha took to Instagram to show off her battered eye. Kelsea Ballerini, meanwhile, had a bracelet strike her in the face. 

The string of incidents has led some artists to be proactive in warning fans against the practice. During a recent appearance at her Las Vegas residency, Adele brandished a T-shirt cannon and aired her grievances to the crowd. "Have you noticed how people are like, forgetting f***ing show etiquette at the moment?" she asked, as quoted by the Guardian. "I f***ing dare you. Dare you to throw something at me and I'll f***ing kill you." We may not use as harsh of words, but we'll also advise against using any upcoming tours as an opportunity for target practice.

Concerts aren't the time to shoot your shot

There's no shame in falling in love with an artist's face before you fall in love with their music. Perhaps attraction is your motivating factor when splurging for front-row tickets. We're not here to police your concert crushes — as long as you don't overstep. 

Listen, we've all read fanfiction. It's hard not to attend the performance of your favorite artist and feel like there's a chance that you'll catch their eye in the crowd. You can fantasize, but don't make a fool of yourself. Waving a declaration of love on a piece of poster board likely won't get their attention — it'll just block the view of the people behind you. And for goodness' sake, if you're close enough to the stage to make contact with the artist ... don't.

In an Instagram story (via Billboard), Kehlani shared the real trauma that can result from inappropriate fan interactions: "I don't care how sexual you deem my music, my performances, my fun with my friends dancing at clubs, or ME ... That does not give any of you the right to cross a boundary like sticking your hands up my skirt ... as I am being escorted through a crowd after performing." Give them a high-five or a hand squeeze if they reach toward the crowd, but ripping clothing or making sexual advances is completely crossing the line. The only moves you should be making at a concert are dance moves.

Going over the top with accessories is a no-no

Fans of Taylor Swift and Harry Styles have revolutionized what a concert outfit can look like. Whether you're donning a feather boa or recreating one of your favorite artists' "eras," you may be tempted to invest in some eye-catching accessories. While we're all about going all-out and getting that perfect Instagram picture, you should also be mindful of how your costume might impact those seated around you.

Big hats, reflective materials, and jangly accessories may all serve as an irritating distraction to those around you. You might be better served by taking your photos outside of the venue or in a cute spot downtown and leaving your more obnoxious apparel in the car. To protect yourself and your neighbors' toes, you also shouldn't overestimate your ability to rock uncomfortable shoes like heels. Removing your shoes at the venue to avoid blisters could result in other foot injuries — and an unpleasant aroma for those around you.

No throwing some 'bows

We've already established that you shouldn't be throwing objects at your favorite artists — but you also shouldn't be throwing elbows at your neighbors. Honestly, you probably shouldn't be throwing anything (besides, perhaps, occasionally throwing "it" back).

For general admission tours, you might camp out for hours in hopes of getting standing space right near the barricade. It's understandable that you may feel a little territorial, but pushing and shoving those around you will only create more problems. After all, concerts typically last for hours. You don't want to create enemies and be the subject of side-eyes.

The post-Astroworld concert scene has also featured many artists pausing their shows to call out dangerous audience behavior. Causing excessive jostling or uncomfortable movement for those around you could lead to security intervention or a pause in the music. Trust us — that's not the way you want to get noticed at the barricade. 

Don't go with no knowledge of the venue

Typical concert prep might involve memorizing lyrics, looking up openers, and shopping for the perfect 'fit. One new step you should incorporate into your routine, however, is familiarizing yourself with the rules and requirements of the venue. Every concert is different, and the last thing you want to do is be caught unawares. By looking up the expectations of an unfamiliar venue, you can have a better idea of what to anticipate come showtime. 

Not only do venue rules help to keep you safe, but they can also help you have a more enjoyable and streamlined concert experience. No one wants to wait in the security line only to find out that their purse, wallet, or snazzy clutch needs to be left in their car. Avoid a concert-day crisis by doing some research — you might even find an excuse to invest in some see-through accessories prior to the big day.

The venue's website can also help you to discern policies about bringing in water, helping you to stay hydrated and save money. Although many will try to sell you overpriced drinks, some concert spaces allow audience members to bring empty water bottles to fill at drinking stations on site. No matter the rules, water is essential for summer concerts — just make sure you know ahead of time how you'll be able to access it.

Gatekeeping the best seats ruins the experience

Gatekeeping is increasingly happening before, during, and after concerts. The great Taylor Swift Ticketmaster debacle proved just how difficult it can be to obtain seats for your favorite artist, and fans have become understandably competitive. You might be tempted to discourage recent fans from buying up limited tickets, feeling as though OGs are more deserving of the shows. You might even physically gatekeep — jockeying for position in lines outside the venue or in the pit. In the end, though, these actions only hurt the artist you love and diminish the fun concert atmosphere.

If you're put off by your neighbor in the pit who doesn't seem to know all the words to your favorite songs, try shifting your perspective. This new fan is being introduced to your fave in the most authentic, fun environment, and your enthusiasm and welcoming attitude can be a part of their experience and budding love for the music. With the right mindset and respect for safety, concerts can be restored to the exciting, welcoming atmospheres that they are meant to be.