Concert Etiquette: A Refresher on What to Do and How To Act During Live Music Shows

Do yourself and your fellow concert attendees a favor.

Going to concerts is one of the most defining moments in a music lover’s life. You can play a record to death and keep a favorite song on loop for hours, but you get a completely different sensory experience when you hear the artist actually perform it live in front of you. 

Lucky for us, there’s never a shortage of live music shows, at least in Manila. Local gig hotspots almost always have something going on and the Philippines has been on the radar of international music artists in recent years. Local promoters have done their part bringing in well-known artists, but I’ve noticed that audiences could use a refresher on concert etiquette to maximize the concert-going experience.

Do dress appropriately

The key word is comfort, but you’d be surprised how sloppy some concertgoers can get. High heels, dress shirts, long skirts and jewelry may be a tad too much for a rock concert, but tattered T-shirts, flip-flops, and micro-minis also doesn’t exactly scream out “appropriate.” When in doubt, let your sensibilities be your guide.

Of course, people will insist on being themselves, especially to go see a show, so hey, if you want people to think of you as a slob, then be my guest.

Don’t be late

Some people ignore the time posted on the ticket and prefer to arrive “fashionably late.” But I’ve noticed that, barring some unforeseen incident, artists these days like to start at exactly the time they say they would. I’ve always liked to be on time, or maybe a even a bit early, not just because I want to get the best, most strategic spot in the venue, but it gives me a chance to check out the opening act. You never know if it’s a new artist you could end up liking. Speaking of which... 


Do be polite to front acts

Naturally, everyone’s excited for the marquee act, but that’s not an excuse to diss the artist brave enough to “warm up the crowd.” Think about it this way: they’re likely fans themselves of the main artist, so they know the feeling of having to sit through somebody else. So give them a break. Clap politely and be audibly supportive. Who knows, you just might discover a great new act.

Don’t push and shove

Concerts can get pretty intense, especially if it’s a rock show, but there’s no need to be violent. If you ABSOLUTELY have to get closer to the stage so you can get drenched in the sweat of your favorite rock star, try to be decent and civil about it. Remember: you're surrounded by fans who love the artist as much as or even more than you do, so be considerate. 

Of course, it’s different if it’s one of those ultra-hardcore rock or metal shows, where there are mosh pits and people are expected to slam their bodies into other people. That’s personally not my scene, but if it is for you, then, by all means, slam away.

Do watch the show with your own eyes

And not from the screen of your phone. Concerts are like sports events—they’re great to catch on TV, but isn’t it so much better if you’re actually, physically there? If you’re going to spend the whole show with your phone attached to your wrist and held up high filming the whole thing, then you’ve basically wasted money buying the ticket in the first place. You might as well have stayed home and watched it on YouTube.

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Admittedly, I can’t help myself sometimes and absolutely have to take photos and film snippets of a song or two. But I try to keep it to a minimum and spend a majority of the time just basking in the moment and experiencing the artist live and in person.

Don’t go on a bathroom break in the middle of the show

Self-explanatory, but adjustable, in case your bladder can’t hold all of that soda you downed while waiting for the show to start. Sad, though, if you miss any part of the concert.

If you’re at one of those standing room only shows and you managed to snag a pretty good spot front and center, you’re likely not going to want to give that up, so my advice is, either hold off on the water and soda, or those two magic words: adult diapers.

Do voice out your enthusiasm as loudly as you can

If there’s one thing artists don’t like, it’s an anemic, catatonic audience. Fortunately, us Filipinos have no trouble in this department. We’re almost always enthusiastic and loud at concerts, which is probably why artists generally love us and always tell us how they love playing here. (Then again, they probably say that to everybody). 

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About The Author
Paul John Caña
Associate Editor, Esquire Philippines
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