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Concert etiquette for live-music noobs

By Roog Kubur, July 4 2022

The post-lockdown world has not only brought us a plethora of artists itching to take the stage but also a collection of first-time concert goers. Unfortunately, a lot of us aren’t exactly in tune with the unspoken rules that come alongside going to shows, especially general admission ones. Luckily, you’re not alone in this battle and I’m here to help make sure you don’t become the public’s number one enemy at these shows. 

Tip #1: For the love of all that is good, please dress comfortably 

Remember, you’ll be standing in a crowded place for several hours, possibly jumping and definitely sweating. Obviously, still choose clothing that will make you feel and look good, but you don’t have to pull out those brand-new shoes that you haven’t gotten a chance to break in yet. Finding the balance between looking good and feeling comfortable is the hardest part of picking out an outfit, but I can assure you that you’ll enjoy the show way more if you’re not worried about how much your feet hurt. 

Tip #2: Pack light and be aware of where your things are 

Similar to the last tip, you don’t need a backpack for a concert. You’ll be packed like sardines, don’t add a turtle shell to the mix. Bring the necessities such as your cell phone, I.D., extra cash, among other things — but don’t overdo it. You’ll enjoy the show a lot more if you’re not worried about whether or not someone stuck their hands into your bag. Personally, I always wear something that has pockets so that everything is on my person and I always keep the important stuff in my front pocket. 

Tip #3: Stay hydrated and don’t go on an empty stomach

It may be too crowded in the venue to actually drink anything — if they even let you bring something in — but that only highlights why it’s so important to stay hydrated. Again, it will be hot and crowded. Skipping lunch or forgetting to drink some water can lead to serious problems. If you’re planning on getting there early to secure a good spot, bring a bottle of water to drink while you’re in line. The last thing anyone wants is for someone to be in the concert starting to feel faint or lightheaded. 

Tip #4: Earplugs are a gift from heaven

I used to think earplugs were for people that couldn’t handle the intensity of live music. However, if you’re going to a show with booming instruments and a crowd big enough to put Coachella to shame, earplugs will become your best friend. They muffle just enough sound that you can enjoy the show without being worried about long-term irreversible ear damage. This is especially applicable to all the rock fans out there — those drums aren’t going to be the only thing pounding. Get a pair of earplugs. 

Tip #5: General admission shows are not a free for all

General admission shows carry unbridled amounts of adrenaline simply because part of the show is finding a good spot. However, it does not mean you can act like the most important person in the room. Be conscious of the people around you so that everyone has a good time. Avoid mosh pits as a live-music noob as shoving people ruins the fun for everybody. If you find yourself in a mosh pit, help someone who fell over. 

Tip #6: The beauty of concerts is the live element

I know, we live in an age where capturing memories has never been easier. That being said, there’s nothing more disappointing than going to a show where everyone has their arms up filming the entire thing. Not only does it take away from the magic, but everyone behind you will have to either crane their necks to see the show or watch it through dozens of tiny screens. Of course it’s okay to grab some photos or videos to commemorate the event, but the fun part of concerts is the fact that it’s live. You’ll remember it without all the videos, so put the phone away and enjoy the scene. 

Obviously the last tip is to have fun, but you already knew that. Take advantage of all the awesome acts coming to Calgary this year and make some memories. Calgary has a reputation for being skipped over when international artists announce their tours, but that just means you have more opportunities to explore who is coming or who’s already here. Now go out there and make some memories!

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