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It’s been a funny few years for live music. The COVID-19 pandemic stopped real world gigs and saw music fans huddled around laptops in a bid to capture just a fraction of the community they offer. When lockdown ended, a tentative return quickly snowballed into something explosive and euphoric but many grassroots venues are still struggling to survive while the price of tickets for arenas and above has skyrocketed.
The rise of Twitter-dominating live shows and the ease in which clips of gigs can go viral on TikTok has also created a shift in fan behaviour at concerts. Some of it’s brilliant, some of it’s not so good. Below we’ve created a list of the things we believe fans should champion this year, and the behaviours that are best left in 2023.
Listening to the deep cuts
Time means nothing to Gen Z with classic songs suddenly going viral on TikTok and introducing new artists to a whole new audience. This means that some fans will go to a gig only knowing the hits but at the same time, artists like Taylor Swift, The National and Fall Out Boy have been out celebrating their entire back catalogue by playing deep cuts, b-sides and fan-favourites. We’re not saying you need to do homework ahead of the gig, but maybe explore beyond those Essential playlists.
Including spoiler alerts before posting tour content
More than ever before, artists are treating gigs like a proper show with many creating moments of real-world magic or doing everything they can to transport their audiences away from the drudgery of everyday life. Some fans don’t want these surprises ruined, nor do they want to know exactly what an artist is going to play so if you’re eager to post your gig content online, maybe include spoiler warnings to keep the magic alive for others.
Taking a mate instead of a date
According to YouGov data commissioned by viagogo, 58 per cent of UK female fans would largely prefer to attend dream gigs with friends as opposed to partners (53 per cent) or siblings/ family (20 per cent). There are millions of date-friendly activities but nothing bonds friends better than sharing the perfect live moment.
Posi vibes and getting lost in the moment
It’s 2024. We can stop debating just how many of the lyrics an artist is actually singing live onstage and who really cares that your favourite rock band is using both pre-recorded and live instrumentals. They’re just trying to give the audience the best show possible, so put down that magnifying glass, get lost in the moment and sing your heart out.
Throwing stuff onstage
Despite the rising trend in Mexico with Dr Simi dolls being chucked at Lady Gaga, Dua Lipa, Harry Styles and others, throwing stuff at performers in general is an awfully dangerous idea. Taylor Swift has begged fans not to throw gifts on stage as it “freaks her out” and could injure her dancers, while Adele has echoed the sentiment. In recent months, Lil Nas X has had to stop a gig due to sex toys being thrown onstage and last summer, P!NK was handed both a wheel of cheese and the ashes of a fan’s mother while performing. If you really want to get the attention of an artist, make a sign.
Filming the entire concert
We’re not going to complain about gigs at phones because there’s absolutely nothing wrong with capturing a moment to relive at a later date. However, there’s really no need to film the entire gig. For starters, your arm will get tired and you’ll realise just how out of tune you’re singing but you’ll also irritate everyone around you. In fact, in a recent YouGov survey commissioned by viagogo, 84 per cent of Brits said that when their favourite song plays at a gig, they are more likely to put their phone down and enjoy it, rather than record the moment.
Booze only bars
Recent YouGov data from viagogo also shows that 43 per cent of Gen Z fans would give up booze for six months for front row tickets to their favourite act. Many are veering towards low and no alcohol options at gigs and festivals and are put off by health and safety concerns, growing inflation and alcohol duty price hikes. If venues offered more fun, sober-friendly options they could potentially see a better bar spend from younger fans.
Queueing for hours to get to the front
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to get to the front of the gig, but there’s no need to spend days queueing outside a venue. Not only will you end up too exhausted to really enjoy the show, there’s also the danger that you’ll get dehydrated in the process, meaning there’s a chance you’ll have to leave early anyway. One London venue even sent fans camping overnight for a Louis Tomlinson gig to the back of the queue after warning them about freezing conditions. As Bring Me The Horizon’s Oli Sykes said at a recent London show, “We’re good but we’re not worth dying for”.