How To Not Be An Asshole At Post-COVID Shows

As we come out of hiding and go full throttle into concert season, there are a few reminders we all need to hear before releasing ourselves back into the wild. Some might seem obvious, but with tensions high and excitement even higher, it’s best to take a quick refresher course before accidentally over-sending it. Others aren’t so obvious, and are good tips for entering the world with a fresh perspective and could make all the difference for at least the near future. It’s all happening, and we need to work as a team to help it continue.

Respect Boundaries

Mission Ballroom

Mission Ballroom crowd. Photo by Brandon Johnson.

Some of us are ready to make out with strangers on the street, but it’s still important to respect everyone’s personal space. For some, attending any show — let alone a sold-out, full capacity show — is really pushing the boundaries. Some love the music that much that they’re taking what they consider a big risk to enjoy it for one night. Don’t run up on anyone, friends or strangers, hugging and kissing without COVID consent. If someone’s not ready to get that up close and personal, then be the friendly neighbor who bumps elbows and feels out the interaction before jumping into a full-blown relationship.

Don’t Ask for a Guest List Spot

Of all the industries that got hit the hardest this past year, the live music industry is high up on that list. Every single person that’s worked hard to make live music happen saw their career essentially flat-line, and now they finally have their jobs back. Each spoke on that wheel has had a tough go of it, and now that we’re all stoked to have live music back it’s time to help that wheel turn. Don’t be the person who’s asking for favors or handouts from musicians or their crew. If you love the music that much, then prove it by buying your own ticket, regardless of how “tight” you are with the band.

Don’t Share Drinks

Security guards provide water for concert attendees during Trippie Redd’s sold-out performance at the Fillmore Auditorium. Photo by Brandon Johnson.

Don’t share drinks, or e-cigarettes, or normal cigarettes, or whatever else you might typically have shared with a homie pre-COVID. Yes, a lot of us are vaccinated, but science hasn’t yet given us the all-clear. Let’s tread lightly,  simply appreciate how far we’ve come, and ensure that we don’t have to take two steps back for every step forward. We’re smart enough and have enough information about the general idea of transmission to know that all of us drinking out of the same cup or sucking from the same vape pen will most likely not end well. Honestly, swapping spit over and over again is risky enough without this big, bad thing still going around, and we’ll all be none the wiser if we keep our drinks, etcetera, to ourselves.

Buy Merch

Just how much do you really love your band? For over a year, merch sales were one of the few things that were paying the bills for musicians. In that year, bands came out with a ton of sweet merch that’s just begging to be worn. There’s no downside to buying a t-shirt to help support the music and looking cool while you’re at it. Wear yourself some street cred and show a little extra gratitude for the musicians and their teams. On that note — don’t forget to keep an eye out for vendor booths from Conscious Alliance or Rock the Earth, where proceeds from your purchase get donated directly to causes like hunger relief and environmental sustainability.

Bring Tip Money

It’s not just musicians, technicians and crew members that were down and out the past year. The service industry took a massive hit, which includes our friendly venue bartenders who so kindly put up with all of our minor delinquencies and overall ridiculousness. One measly dollar from each of us can make the bartenders’ nights, so whether it’s in cash or an extra percentage on the credit card terminal, always remember to tip, tip and tip.

Be Kind

Photo by Meg O’neill.

We’re all figuring out how to place ourselves back in society, and a lot of us lost touch with our social cues during the pandemic. We’re all feeling a little weird and kind of funky, so the biggest thing we can all continue to remind ourselves of is to be kind. Be patient with your fellow concert-goers and the venue staff. Don’t push in lines or in the audience. If someone does something to irritate you, remember that we’re all still figuring it out and getting acquainted with being fully sociable Homo sapiens again. Know that you want to see this concert as badly as the next person and that we’re all in this together. The show will go on, and you can make it a more positive and easy experience for yourself and others by being cool, calm and collected.