The 5 golden rules of concert etiquette

Study up on these do’s and don’ts so everyone can have a great time this concert season.


Jae Jin

Welcome to Concert Etiquette 101. (Illustration by Jae Jin)

Katherine Manatos, Contributing Writer

“My friends are right up there.”

If I had a nickel for everytime I heard that line at a concert, I’d be rich. 

This common refrain is used to prey on people’s kindness so you can make your way toward a better spot at a concert. I’ve experienced this phenomenon of entitlement, wherein people put themselves first at the expense of others, more and more over the years. Everyone at concerts acts as if their own personal experience is of the utmost importance. Shows should be a safe and enjoyable environment for everyone, and concertgoers must recognize that their actions affect those around them. In order to review the do’s and don’ts of crowd etiquette, we must return to elementary principles.

No pushing 

While it is a rule commonly taught to preschoolers, many concertgoers seem to leave their manners at the door when it comes to pushing. I often find myself being shoved at concerts, whether the shover is trying to get a better view, use the bathroom or leave the venue. The solution to this is easy: Keep your hands to yourself. A simple “sorry” or “excuse me” goes a long way.

Be quiet and respectful

At an Arlie concert on Feb. 9 at the Bowery Ballroom, lead singer Nathaniel Banks excitedly announced that he wanted to perform a new stripped acoustic song he had been working on. He politely asked if everyone could quiet down and listen so that he could perform it without his mic or amp, wanting to create a genuine sense of intimacy. The two men behind me, who had already been talking loudly throughout the show, neglected to listen to Banks’ request and continued talking, not stopping until they were explicitly told to be quiet by the person next to them. 

Talking through a performer’s song immediately reveals disrespect not just for the crowd, but also for the performers. If you would like to hold a conversation, move toward the back or to the bar — politely, without pushing.

In the age of social media, many fans would rather experience the show through the lens of their camera app. But in addition to maintaining an inside voice during a performance, concertgoers must also consider taking a much-needed screen break. A concert is about the experience. It’s a time to live in the moment. It’s not a time to look at your phone.


I have attended so many shows at which someone in my vicinity has fainted due to dehydration. Just last summer, Billie Eilish had to stop mid-show due to fans falling unconscious. At a Phoebe Bridgers concert this summer, countless fans also dropped to the ground due to heat exhaustion. 

A spot up at the barricade is not worth a trip to the emergency room. Take care of yourself.

Don’t get wasted

Yes, many venues feature bars, and, at the right age, they can make a show more enjoyable. However, there should be an emphasis on self-awareness.

While you may think alcohol will make the night more enjoyable, in reality, heavy drinking can create an aggravating environment for everyone. Besides the inevitable spilled drink, heightened alcohol consumption at concerts creates an uncomfortable atmosphere, as an uninhibited crowd descends into bad behavior, pushing and shoving concertgoers trying to enjoy the show. I’m not saying that no one should drink at shows — I’m just advocating to keep it classy.

It’s not all about you

In the age of TikTok, “main character syndrome,” when someone thinks they are the main character of the world, has become rampant. When you go to shows, though, leave this mindset at home. Everyone within a general admission crowd has paid the same amount, taken a trip to get there and waited whatever amount of time to get in. In other words, everyone is of the same importance. The only thing that prioritizing your experience does is lower the level of enjoyment for everyone else

Music relies on human connection. Concert etiquette is not just about being kind — it is essential to preserving the community as a whole. By remembering simple rules and common sense niceties, everyone can go home having had a great time, and the magic of live music can be kept alive.

Contact Katherine Manatos at [email protected].