There’s one thing missing in the concert scene

Ashley Winward

When it happens, I cringe. Every single time it happens. An opening act finishes their song and a swarm of sound comes back into focus; half the crowd had been talking through the whole song. A girl, clearly only there for the headlining act, looks up from her phone and sighs wishing that the band would just finish their set already. There’s a small pocket of kids actually excited about the band performing and yet they are being pushed aside. I see it every show I go to and it infuriates me to no end. Respect at shows have been a topic of interest within the past few years with more and more incidents and videos showing up in online media.

One of the most recent stories of musical disrespect in the news took place this week in Vancouver British Columbia where a drunken fan continuously harassed Andy Biersack and the boys of Black Veil Brides to the point that Biersack came down into the crowd to handle the situation.

The fan had come only to see the band who had performed before them, Memphis May Fire, and continued to heckle the band even after Biersack threatened, “If you think you’re so good come up here right now.” Security had to remove Biersack from the crowd and the audience member was removed from the venue before a physical altercation took place.

In Australia, during the famous Soundwave festival, Jena MacDougal of Tonight Alive had to pull security off a fan that they had in a chokehold pinned to the ground, later tweeting, “Security are hired to protect. Not to tackle, chokehold, push or physically assault our fans. I’m extremely disappointed.”

This past summer in Montreal, lead singer of The Story So Far Parker Cannon got into a fight with a security guard after the guard shoved a fan to the ground. This caused a scene involving security as well as members of both The Story So Far and Four Years Strong.

In a personal experience of mine, I went to a show once and saw a band, Acidic, jump down to the barricade of a show and tell an uninterested fan to “Wake up sweetheart” reminding her that she was at a show and should be having fun instead of sitting on her phone.

It’s really frustrating for me, as an active concert goer to see these blatant acts of disrespect and, as the years pass, I don’t see it getting any better. It deters from the experience, offends people and, in the end, can be the thing that can make or break a fan’s decision of coming back to a show. It doesn’t really take a lot to make a show more enjoyable for fans, artists and security alike.

If you’re in the crowd, respect all artists. There is plenty of time to talk in between sets so you don’t really need to be having full blown conversations during a performance. You’re missing out on truly appreciating and taking in the music. If you just simply aren’t into the band anymore? Go to the bathroom, go get a drink, check out the merch tables; just don’t be ruining the experience for those who may love the band.

Security, especially at rock shows, need to understand the crowd and be there for support accordingly. Catch people before they fall, remove people that are a danger to others, and, above all, don’t be rude to the fans because the artists will stand by their fans every time. Artists need to be vocal about respect in the industry through interviews and social media because fans will listen.

Finally, by being a good example and showing that respect to other artists, fans and security, we can set a precedent of respect in the scene that will make the concert going experience better for everyone. We should be celebrating the music, not shaming the scene. It just takes remembering the golden rule; treat others as you want to be treated. Let’s start a new trend, it just takes one person to get a movement going.