Seeing live music might be one of the most euphoric experiences out there. Nothing can beat seeing your favourite band playing all your favourite songs live: the energy, the heat, the community. It’s easy to get carried away in the excitement. However, in that excitement, it is of the utmost importance to remember to respect other people’s boundaries and safety. It’s utterly heartbreaking to hear of the several instances of harassment and assault that happen at gigs, especially because for that hour and a half that you are with the band, you are meant to feel safe. You are supposedly with like-minded people, all there for the same reason. So why ruin it for yourself and everyone else? Sophia Simon-Bashall wrote a guide to gig etiquette, alternatively titled How Not To Be A Dick.
- Don’t support bands who are known abusers and rape apologists. There have been far too many allegations of sexual assault and abuse against members of various well known bands in recent years. Some of these have been addressed by having said members kicked out of the band, but not all of them. Some bands have chosen not to address the allegations, or in some cases have addressed one allegation but not another. These incidents have been excused by bands, swept under the carpet by festivals and organisers of other events. That’s not good enough. As music fans, we must do better than that. We must refuse to give our time, our money, and our energy to people who condone that. They aren’t deserving of it.
- Don’t think you’re more entitled to barrier space than anyone else. You’re not. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been a fan, how long you’ve queued outside. Everyone is equal, and that’s that.
- If you’re in a pit and somebody falls, don’t ignore that. Stop what you’re doing, and help them up. Make sure they’re okay – chances are, they’re fine and ready to get stuck back in. If they’re not, help them to get out of the crowd, or to get security’s attention. These are the only rules of moshing – if you’re not willing to follow them, then don’t get in the pit.
- Don’t touch anyone without their consent. In crowds, yes, you get up and close. No, that does not give you an excuse to feel someone up. There is never an excuse for that.
- If you see someone being harassed, don’t let it pass. Help directly, if you are able and feel safe to do so. If you can’t confront the person acting inappropriately, get the attention of the band or security. It’s generally a lot easier for you to do so than the person being harassed – don’t leave it to them.
- If you’re a dude, do me a favour and don’t question the girls around you whether they’re ‘a real fan’ or not. Don’t make them name three songs, or tell you who else they’re into just to check their taste. It’s just pathetic and irritating.
Art by Marie Köhl. Follow her on Instagram: @marieonetten_tanz