When you are getting ready to head out to a show, there are many different things to consider. You have to think about how to get there, what shoes and clothes will be most comfortable, and how much money to bring. However, there is one more very important thing to consider: safety.

Often times during shows, fans will get excited and in turn, a bit rowdy. They will mosh, crowd surf, and push one another. This is an extremely common occurrence and avid concert-goers understand that there is always a risk of getting hurt when attending a show. But should people really have to worry about their safety during a concert? Given that it’s not a simple question, the answer can be both yes and no. At a show, audience members should be free to let out some energy and have fun during the performance, whether it be by dancing, singing, or whatever else they choose to do. They should be allowed to embrace the music by stage diving and crowd surfing, but they need to be mindful when doing it. Audience members need to understand that being respectful to one another is a crucial element to enjoying a show. Being able to recognize when someone seems uncomfortable or hurt is common show courtesy. It is usually pretty easy to tell which audience members are into the rowdiness and which ones would prefer to just sit back and watch the show without engaging. If audience members can acknowledge this, I think it would make everybody’s experiences much better. After all, everybody is there for the same reason- to enjoy the music.  

Many bands have discussed this issue during their own performances, sometimes even stopping the music to address it. One instance was back in 2014 when frontman Barry Johnson of the band Joyce Manor stopped performing in the middle of a song to calm down the extreme rowdiness of the audience. A large male audience member hopped up on the stage and was about to stage dive onto considerably smaller female audience members. Johnson stopped the man, saying it is “completely unacceptable” for him to jump on the young girls. He continued by making a point for audience members to be mindful of those around them.

Other bands have addressed the issue as well, even calling out security guards for hurting fans and making them feel unsafe. During a show at the House of Blues in San Diego a few years back, Mat Kerekes of Citizen stopped mid-song to talk with a security guard who had been mishandling some people in the crowd. Kerekes pulled the security guard off to the side to talk and the discussion ended in a full on fist fight between the band, security, and some crowd members. In the end, the band was just trying to defend and protect their fans, but things got out of hand.

Whether you go to a show to listen to the music or let out a little extra energy, you need to be mindful of those around you and understand people’s limits. Before hopping on the stage to go crowd surf or opening up the pit, remember to scan the audience and make sure you won’t be harming anybody around you.