I’ve been going to concerts now for five years, but just as I started out I had a few misconceptions/little knowledge about what to do. Over time these things have changed, and I’ve learnt some lessons from my experiences. These are just some silly things that I’ve picked up over time, and to keep in mind when going to see your favourite bands.
1. You do not have to be at the front
One of the main things I thought when going to concerts was that I had to get to the front. I thought that if I didn’t then I wouldn’t enjoy it, and spent a few concerts trying to get as close as I could. The majority of the time, this was actually the opposite, and I would end up not having as much of a good time. I couldn’t move, got stupidly hot and would end up getting elbowed and pushed by people around me. I once got to the second row at Bring Me The Horizon but I came close to passing out and had to go to the very back of the venue where I couldn’t see the band anymore. I would have been better off just hanging around in the middle. A lot of the time it also meant that I’d get pushed off to the side near the speakers too, which isn’t a prime location.
However, I have had some great times at the front getting the odd guitar pick/drumstick and getting very close to some of my favourite singers. If you’re dying to get close to the members or possibly get the chance to touch the singer then by all means, but it’s very unlikely that’ll it’ll happen and even if it does, I personally don’t think it’s that worth it.
2. Or start lining up super early
Because I always thought it was essential to be at the front, I also thought that it was best to line up early to do so. The maximum I’ve ever queued has been three hours. It was in the pouring rain and was pretty awful, but I wanted to be at the front. But I’ve also been in massive lines and still managed to get to the front. I really don’t think lining up any more than an hour is needed, especially sitting outside with blankets in the morning. I believe people like to do it in case band members walk past, and it has happened once or twice while I’ve been there, but they have stuff to do. They’re setting up, sound checking, getting food before the show. I don’t really see the point in bothering them for a selfie or waiting that long just to say hello.
3. Mosh pits aren’t as scary as they seem
I used to believe that mosh pits were big scary things, that only strong dudes get into and if I went near one I’d get seriously hurt. The first pit I got into was at Enter Shikari, I got carried away and before I knew it, I was having the best experience I had yet. There’s something about falling over in a pit and being picked up instantly that gives you a sense of community and respect for the fellow moshers around you. Even if you don’t want to mosh, a lot of the time they’re just great to use to get closer to the front. I did this at You Me At Six once and ended up right in front of Josh. Sadly I gave my friend my phone before diving in the pit so I couldn’t get a photo.
4. Always eat before going
Pretty basic but once again, I was seeing Bring Me The Horizon in Bristol and all I had eaten that day was a small bag of malteasers. During Neck Deep I started feeling faint and during the band change for Bring Me I was ready to pass out. I had to stumble to the bar to get some water and a chocolate bar, and I had little energy during Bring Me’s set. All because I hadn’t eaten.
5. Always tie up your shoes
I have been to many shows where lost shoes are held up in the air looking for the owner to claim them, or ending the night walking past shoes left behind. This hasn’t actually happened to me (luckily), but my friends have had it happen to them. I personally find it funny, but the idea of having to get home without your shoe sucks. I tend to wear converse now or tie up my shoes rather than just slipping on a pair of vans like I usually do.
6. Keep your concert tickets
Obviously this isn’t required, but it is something that I love to do. I use to keep them on my bedroom wall, but after moving house I couldn’t be bothered to stick them all back up and started keeping them in photo albums. I like flicking through and looking back at the shows I’ve been to. Some have gotten wet/ripped from different things at the shows and I like looking back and remembering. They also make a great thing to get signed if you meet a band member. One of my friends has three massive photo frames filled with tickets and festival wristbands, it looks incredible with the amount of shows he’s been to.
7. Buying merch isn’t necessary
I used to think that I had to leave the gig with some kind of merchandise. I felt disappointed if I didn’t, like I hadn’t taken anything away to remember the gig by, and that I needed something. Although this did amount to enlarging my band t shirt collection by quite a substantial size, I learnt to only buy t shirts if I will actually wear them. I have a few t shirts in my collection now that I’ve never worn and it just seems like a waste of money. I still have my tickets, wristbands, bits of confetti/streamers and photos to remember them by. Merch is more expensive at shows due to the venue fee, so a lot of the time you can still buy the merch from their site for cheaper. I also once bought a navy A Day To Remember t shirt at a concert, and it was later online in black £5 cheaper. I never wear navy so I wish I had waited. Sometimes it is nice to treat yourself especially if its a special concert, and getting something with the tour dates, but you don’t have to at every show you go to.
8. Don’t spend the whole time taking photos/videos
As I aspired to be a concert photographer, I decided that it would be a good idea to take the best photos I could at shows and dedicated too much of the time I had to it. I soon realized that it wasn’t the way to go about becoming successful in the field and that I was just wasting time that I could be moshing/dancing. Don’t get me wrong, I still like to snapchat and take photos at shows. I’ll also record perhaps my favourite song to look back on, as I recently went through my files and enjoyed watching shows back. Just do NOT spend the whole time looking at the show through your phone screen. People behind you won’t appreciate it and wasting the show isn’t worth the likes on Instagram.
9. Don’t take a bag
Another simple one, but taking a bag isn’t worth it. I’ve done it before and being crowded by people pushing down on it left me with an aching arm. They get in the way and all you really need is your ticket, money, ID, phone and perhaps house key. Bags also annoy the people around you. Sadly it is a struggle to find women’s jeans that fit it all in, especially your phone. I don’t like to feel like my phone is going to come out so I like to wear mom jeans, or any with bigger pockets that let me lie my phone sideways. It’s definitely worth spending the extra time finding something to wear to keep your stuff safe and leave you hands free.
10. Show some Common Courtesy
Not just at A Day To Remember shows, but just always be courteous to the people there too. Let people pass you, pick them up if they fall over, hold up lost items for them to claim, share the water and even get chatting to them during band changes if you feel like it. I still am pretty shy at shows and stick with my friends, but the times I have spoken to strangers at shows have been pleasant. Sharing in a joke or exchanging compliments, it’s nice to meet people with similar interests to you, and you might even make great friends or see them at another gig later on.