Concert Etiquette 101: Respect, Rules, and Guidelines at a Show


Briston Maroney Photo Credit: Megan Wales-Harding

For many, a concert for your favorite artist is the one place where you can find healing, express yourself and let loose, taking a break from the craziness of real life. While watching your heroes on stage, you have an unforgettable experience that you’ll carry with you for the rest of your life. However, there are many unwritten rules as to what you should (and shouldn’t) do at a concert. Can you hold your friend’s spot in line? Is it cool to start a mosh pit? How do I avoid being that person? A lot depends on the music, the venue, and what the artist wants.

There’s a lot to consider – but don’t worry. Melodic Magazine is here to take you to Concert Bootcamp.

Before the Show

  • Hold spots for a friend – not ten!
    Being front of the line ultimately means being front row to the show and of course, having your friends there with you can only heighten the experience, but don’t hold spots for a whole posse to join you. Think of the people who got there after you and how you would feel if 10 people cut in front of you.
  • Get your ticket ready before you get to security
    Other than the courtesy of not holding up the line, sometimes venue Wi-Fi can be spotty when people start piling in. Make sure you have your ticket(s) pulled up and ready to go!
  • Study up on a venue’s policies
    There are some rules that are pretty standard across the board, such as no outside food and beverages, no self-defense items, etc., but some venues are a little more strict. Some venue’s bag policies are more strict than others; some venues require your bag to be clear, while some just require it to be a certain size. Double check COVID-19 regulations at every venue. Also, larger venues like stadiums or arenas may have rules about sharp jewelry (like studded leather jackets or chokers) and will make you throw your accessories in the trash before entering.

Bring Me The Horizon PC: Ann Storlie

The Artist

  • Musicians are people too
    Treat them with kindness and be mindful of their boundaries.
  • Don’t throw stuff, even if it’s something nice like flowers
    Instead, maybe ask security if they can place it on the stage. The artist is there to do a job and their job is not to dodge things being thrown at them.
  • Respect an artist’s policies for their show
    If they require masks, wear a mask. If there’s a strict no phone policy (some shows even have Yondr pouches), put your phone away and enjoy the show. Some times a policy doesn’t make sense, still follow it. It’s there for a reason.
  • It’s totally fine to try and meet an artist after the show
    But, again, you should respect the venue and the artist – who are all people too.
Photo by Shauna Hilferty

The Fans

  • Respect FANS!
    It’s okay to record a concert, but don’t block somebody’s view with your phone for the whole show.
  • If you’re tall, be aware of where you’re standing
    If there’s a spot that appears “open” be sure to check where you’re going so you don’t block someone’s view. We get it, you can’t help being tall, just be aware of your surroundings. If you carry somebody on your shoulders so they can see, that’s great – but not great for the ten to fifty people who may be behind you.
  • Don’t exclude people
    Female fans and disabled fans have reported that they will be excluded from things like mosh pits. Don’t force people into extreme concert activities, but don’t exclude them either if they want to participate.
  • Take note of those physically around you
    A lot of concerts can get packed and are often very intense (like headline shows at a festival). Make sure to pay attention to those around you. If somebody wants out of the pit, help them over the barricade. If somebody doesn’t look so good, get the attention of security or an EMT right away.
  • Move your feet, lose your seat
    If you’re at the barricade but want to leave to get merch, as sad as it is, don’t think that you can elbow your way back to the front. Especially in a packed crowd. Instead, get merch before or after the show.
boygenius PC: Erin Crowley


  • Understand concert safety
    Doing so is another way you can do your part and be respectful. At a festival, you can alert security and medical staff of a medical emergency by raising your arms and putting them in an “X” formation. Those around you will do the same and the person who is sick or injured will be taken care of quickly.
  • Immediately alert security if you witness harassment
    It is their job that if they are being informed there’s a certain concert goer who is causing harm, they won’t hesitate to escort the person out of the venue.
  • Educate yourself
    There are online courses, organizations, and certifications on how to educate yourself on concert sexual harassment and concert safety.
  • Mosh pits are for everyone
    Treat women in the pit with respect.
  • If someone falls, pick them up!
    The Golden Rule of moshing.
  • Don’t drag somebody into a mosh pit if they don’t want to mosh
    Things like mosh pits and crowd surfing are more than acceptable (if the venue allows), especially and really only if it’s for a metal/hard rock/punk show. However, some concert organizers don’t allow intense concert participation. For instance, festivals like Warped Tour prohibited crowd surfing in the past due to safety reasons.
  • Read the vibe of the show
    Don’t try engaging in intense behavior if the show doesn’t call for it.
  • Venue security is there to help you
    Be kind to staff and leave when you’re supposed to leave. We all know meeting the band is a highlight to any night, but a lot of venues have a curfew – don’t linger.

At the end of the day, the best way to remain respectful at a concert is by doing your research on a venue, remembering that the artist is a person too, and by remaining mindful of those around you. A lot of unspoken concert expectations depend on the artist themselves as well as the venue, so be sure to keep these things in mind. It’s possible to have fun and go to a life-changing show without putting others’ enjoyment and safety at risk.

What do you think is the most important piece of concert etiquette is? 


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