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What Is Proper Concert Etiquette?


I was at a concert a few days ago and was shocked when the gentleman in front of me asked me to pipe down after the opening band finished performing. At that instant several thoughts ran through my head. First of all, Who the hell are you? Second, there is nothing going on right now, what are you missing, house music? And third, YOU’RE AT A CONCERT!

The experience got me thinking, am I out of line for being enraged? Is there a proper etiquette to attending a concert? Apparently the people over at Spinner magazine had the same thoughts.

To see how my evening concluded, and Spinner’s list of concert etiquette, click more.

As the night continued, the couple in front of me got progressively worse. They sat during the entire concert, gave the people around them dirty looks for singing and enjoying themselves, and at one point the chick even put make-up on. It took everything I had not to slap her. I eventually moved seats and the couple left in the middle of the concert.  I had an amazing night, and loved every minute of the evening, which is more than I can say for tweedledee and tweedledum.

Spinner’s concert etiquette list is pretty complete, but I have a few concert rules of my own.

5. Don’t wear the band’s tee-shirt at their concert. We get you are a fan, you are at the concert!

4. Don’t blast the band’s music in the parking lot outside the venue. You are about to hear the real thing, live, in person!

3. Don’t hate others for enjoying themselves. It’s a concert, the whole idea behind seeing a band live is to take a few hours out of your busy, crazy lives and get a form of release. If you are not enjoying yourself, leave.

dave texts at concert What Is Proper Concert Etiquette?

2. Don’t watch the show through your phone or camera. It’s OK to take a few pictures here and there, and maybe even record your favorite song, but you miss the experience of the performance if you are watching it through a small screen. Save your money and watch the performance on YouTube if you’re not going to enjoy it. Plus, it’s really annoying for the people behind you.

and finally…


#1. Stand Up!! You are at a concert, enjoy it! (I can’t stand when people sit through a live performance)

  • Conor

    Here’s the thing. Talking between acts, totally fine. Trying to carry a conversation DURING an act…not cool. I’ve been to so many shows where people next to me are talking about the most meaningless things while an act I paid to see was on stage and it just absolutely ruins the show. It’s not a private show for people just be respectful and understand that other people also paid to be there and enjoy themselves.

    • Jennifer

      You are so right. I had a couple of girls yelling to each other right in front of me during the White Stripes and it was very annoying. We told them off and they stopped.

    • Cheryl

      Conor – I concur 100%. During the concert, it’s ok to say “what an amazing guitar solo/vocal performance”, etc. It is not ok to talk about your cousin’s bomb party last week, what car you want to buy, etc. Basically any conversation not about the concert, take it outside, so you don’t bother the rest of us who are enjoying the concert! ..

  • Jon

    It seems to me like there are only two rules of etiquette at a concert: 1. Be completely selfish and enjoy yourself no matter how bad you make the experience for everyone around you; and 2. Never ever complain about how selfish everyone else is being when they make it impossible for you to enjoy the concert.

    • mccullough88

      hmm an egoist eh?

    • TOM

      You are the dickhead we laugh at as your being escorted out.

  • Carole

    Texting through the entire show is annoying as well. What was the point of coming?


      What if you are tweeting photos of the show as it happens to folks around the world who can’t make it?


    You know, if it was not for folks like myself watching thru the camera (I try to tape 4-5 songs a show, as yes I do want to enjoy the gig as well), you wouldn’t be able to watch on youtube. So instead of pointing folks like me out as a bad thing at a concert, perhaps you should be thanking me.

    I’d much rather you focus on folks who show up at the last minute and barge to the front of the GA floor, folks who can’t handle their booze/drugs and most important, folks who go to be scene/seen, but not there to see who others would have paid good money to hear/see.

    • famous_burro

      well put

    • beanie

      thats nice for all the people who didn’t pay to see the show and have to watch on youtube but they are right it sucks for the people behind you who have a bunch of cameras and cell phones in their face blocking the stage…just sayin’


        I understand that. I try to position myself in places where I have no one in front of me, so I can keep the camera eye level. I am rather tall (sixfootone) as it is, so chances are I will be in your way anyways.

  • famous_burro

    sometimes you gotta record the show yourself because you can’t trust other people posting crappy vids

  • Paul

    I agree with the fact that those people had no right to get upset at people having a good time their way at a show. But in the same way that they get upset at others I don’t think anyone has any right to tell others how to enjoy themselves. So the only rule there should be when going to a concert is have a good time and don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. Why the hell would you go to a show and start getting upset about someone else is doing, it’s a stupid waste of your time there.

  • Linda

    I went to a Muse concert and the people sitting next to me did not stand up AT ALL ! It got me so mad I wanted to ask em what they came for! Nobody understood me and jus sed well maybe they’re jus like that..and I’m like no its MUSE for petes sake! How can you jus sit there!!! It was a unbelievable night (: too bad for them.

    • Linda

      Oops reposted ..but yea concertconfessions you’re right cause how would we watch it on youtube if nobody RECORDED!

  • Scotty

    Sorry Cleo, but Spinner does not have it complete… They actually contradict themselves by stating that people should enjoy themselves yet! Not to wear their favorite band shirts( Which is to represent that they’re Hardcore) and that they shouldn’t film the performance( Which some might consider it to be a once in a life time show). Spinner says not to hate on others as a rule but they’re clearly hating on all types that innocently like to memorize the words before the concert when listening to the music of the band outside! Seriously! I too fully dislike anybody that has anything against anybody because after all, this is the flippin’ country of freedom to do what we want when we want( Under court official law :P) But nevertheless, everyone should realize that just because you paid for a ticket, doesn’t me you’re gonna get exactly what you want! Ofcourse there are gonna be posers who aren’t there for the band but for the status update on their social network, ofcourse there are gonna be jerks who push you out of the way to get to the front, and yeah! Ofcourse there are always people who sing or talk randomly throughout the concert without consideration for others around them…I quote OKGO…”Hey! Get, get, get, get, get over it!” I’ve had all your complaints and more over my past five years of heavy concert going but now realize that it ain’t ever gonna change and why stress over lames when you can just laugh it off and find an even better spot to rock out in! I’m usually in the front row center for my gigs so I’m never complaining cause I’m too busy enjoying and I suggest everyone should try and do the same! Although I advise to be alert when crowd surfers come over head! Seen too many people get kicked in the head…It looks like it would hurt! :D Oh! And thanks for the acknowledgement Cleo when you recommended my comment to Kat that one day, you’re the best!!!

    • punisher jose

      …………………….wat¿ lol

    • krysmar

      …put it in the file

    • Rick

      Right on Scotty. You hit it squarely on the head. Anyways, to further point out Spinner’s mixed messages, check out the kids in the pic of Rule #1 blatantly violating Rule #2. Like you said, just accept and get over it!

  • Enrique


  • maxwell

    #6 Don’t sleep through the effing concert @DaveKOM.

  • serg

    I have had people throw me looks for lighting up a joint….. WTF ???? when did this happen… I figured the onesafe place to light up and enjoy would be at the weenie roast …. freaking uptight people in Irvine ,…..

  • Nina

    this is so true i was at a Metallica concert and this fuckin chick was covering her ears,sitting down and complaining

  • james

    My pet peeve at concerts are overprotective boyfriends. I understand that you dont want your girlfriend to get pushed, but more times than not its gonna be an accident, because your at a concert! Specifically, I hate that stupid butt push too. Where the guy is hugging the girl and pushing everyone away with his butt. Morons!!!

  • Not you

    it’s a concert….how can anybody even hear what other people are saying even if they’re right next to you??? the music is loud and when you talk to other people at the concert you have to get right up next to their ear. this is a b.s. topic.

  • Jeff

    All praise the number one rule of STAND UP! I was at a concert at the Bowl years ago and had pennies thrown at me for standing up to enjoy the show by a couple of rude fans ten rows back. At a later date, I went to a show at the Grand Olympic and had to move when some idiot frat boys behind us continued to yell,”DOWN IN FRONT! DOWN IN FRONT!” during three straight songs. I moved to a new section and had a great time. I even remember a KROQ Acoustic Christmas at The Shrine where I was in the front row when DM came out and some crazed lady told me,”CALM DOWN…IT’S JUST MUSIC.” I was shocked. The bottom line is indeed….STAND UP! It’s music…dance…have fun, sing along! Just don’t yell the wrong lyrics! And yeah, don’t wear the shirt of the band you are going to see!

    • John

      Everybody’s got their own idea of who’s being rude. I think it’s polite to assess the crowd, if you feel like being polite. If you’re the only one standing up, maybe wait until the main act (since everybody stands up by then.) I doesn’t seem logical that you have to stand up no matter what, and the 20,000 people sitting down are the ones being rude. I have to admit, if the entire audience is sitting down except for the one tool who happens to be right in front of me, I find that annoying.

      • Lee-Jen-Mel-Kat

        It’s okay to wear a bands shirt at their show…it flags that you are possibly a fangirl/fanboy idiot and to steer clear of you…crowd surfers are posers who just want to disrupt everyone else…if its a rock show, stand up and sing, go to the wheelchair section or the bathroom if you wanna sit…its crap like that that seats can suck…its GA all the way! If you’re at the rail for the main act, don’t text during the openers, its rude, lets see you get up there and perform…

        As far as people pushing their way up to the barricade, everyone wants to be up front. Its a mosh pit, if you can’t handle it, buy a seat ticket next time.

        Bottomline, don’t be an intentional douche bag. If someone falls in the pit, help them up.

        Miss Cleo, love ya! We should go to a show together and I’ll show you just how awesome a show can be!

  • Steve A

    WELL SAID EVERYONE, the simple point of everything, if you dont wanna be there & enjoy yourself DONT FUCKIN GO

    Hey Cleo who’d you go see?

  • Donna

    I couldn’t agree more. The last 2 years I was forturnate enough to be able to go to KROQ’s Almost Acoustic Christmas. Both years there were people behind me talking through the ENTIRE show! A few small conversations here and there are cool, or between bands is fine, but talking about what you ate for dinner the other night and who said what to who at school/work, etc. does not make a concert enjoyable for those around you – especially when you’re yelling at the top of your lungs because a band is playing and your friend can’t hear you. I know at Acoustic Christmas you might not be a fan of all the bands that play, but please be courteous to those around you who are there to have a good time. Please!!! Also, making fun of bands while they’re playing is not cool. If you don’t like them, go walk around or something. Thanks!

  • Robert

    The way I see it is if you go to a Bon Jovi concert you shouldn’t even be allowed to make any rules. Come on !!!!!

  • Dank_Kitty

    HA @ 4 & 5! that has been a standing rule with myself and friends foreverrrrr! “Dont be THAT girl” lol

    Look for the tall girl standing up bummin everyone out behind her.. that would be me!!!

    I heart you Miss Cleo!!!

  • joice

    miss CLEO has too many rules. if she’s not happy, she should just stop going to concerts

  • Marysol

    You know what I have to say about your “concert etiquette” rules. I say SCREW THE RULES. It’s ROCK AND ROLL. I’m not there to please anyone but myself. Its all about the band on stage and ME. I’m going to wear the bands shirt to the show, I’m going to listen to the band in the car before the show while I drink beers and tailgate party, and I’m going to sing along loudly with the band and if I want to take pictures or video I’m going to. I paid for my ticket and I’ll be damned if someone tells me there RULES to going to a show. And if other people at a show bother you… GET OVER IT. If you’re letting whatever they’re doing affect your show experience thats YOUR problem. Not theirs. *throws horns in the air*

  • Morgan

    #5 is just crazy, Cleo. It’s better than spending 2 hours trying to figure out why the couple in front of you is sporting a Limp Bizkit shirt at a Muse show.

  • machine1164

    I was at a Slayer concert last year and some chick behind me tapped my shoulder and asked me to sit down so she could sit down and see. I told her to blow me!

  • Neili Sutker

    I’d like to take Miss Cleo to an opera and see if she survives with their rules, lol.

  • James

    Die in a fire

  • Gabby

    On the STANDING UP RULE. WHY IN THE WORLD DO THEY HAVE CONCERTS IN SIT DOWN STADIUMS? IT DEFIES THE WHOLE THRILL OF GOING TO A CONCERT AND ENJOYING IT. WHO REALLY WANTS TO SIT DOWN WHILE YOUR FAVORITE BAND PLAYS? I hate going to concerts where we have to sit. And when you do stand up, you end blocking everyone behind you and you end being the rude one. Sucks.

  • punisher jose

    if some buttpipe was to tell me to shut up or be quiet i will tell them f u lol and thats it =p cause thats how nice i am

  • CheezyNoodles

    Don’t wear the band’s tee-shirt at their concert? I don’t see what’s wrong with that xD

    • doorofhorn

      Yeah me either…that seems like the perfect time to actually wear a band t-shirt when you’re attending their concert. Never got that “rule.”

  • Ahi

    2 things 1 F U cleo and your rules and 2 my only rule is be aware of the music. If your metal show mosh it up. if your at a electronic show then save the mosh pitt for another day. If your at a reggae show and smell some one blazing accept it. If your watching emo show remember to cut down the street not across and try not to use your mom’s bic razor she is going to be pissed

  • Jen

    Having attended over 150 concerts, including several of KROQ’s weenie roast and almost accoustic shows, I COMPLETELY agree with Miss Cleo’s list. Concerts are about the experience–they’re better when you participate without unneccesary distractions like cameras or talkative neighbors. As for the t-shirt rule, I’ve always enjoyed seeing the range of musical tastes by surveying the variety of concert t-shirts other than the obvious (whoever is playing at the show), but I do understand that it’s easier to wear your newly purchaced t-shirt than carry it when you’re busy groovin’ to the music.

  • Dissapointed by her thighs...

    Just an fyi, I don’t really care what people do at concerts, and don’t ask me to change my behavior. If you want to control the people around you while you watch a show, have a concert at your house… Live and let live.

  • Hugo

    Now is it me or is it weird that when I go to a concert I see little kids there! I mean little kids, not teenagers, not pre adolescents, but elementary aged kids, even babies in their strollers! I’ve been to show where I’m able to sneak in some party favors and light them up and then I get these dirty looks from moms, grandma’s and/or guardians for smoking! Hell one time at the Wiltern, I had these ladies behind me spray me w/ their cheap and nasty perfume as I was rocking out to the Vines and Jet!
    Was I in the wrong???
    I get it if the kid loves the band! Hey kuddos to you kid for not listening to whatever Radio Disney is trying to ram down your throat, but shouldn’t the parents’ know, uh, its a rock concert, there is gonna be that funny smell in the air.
    So I’m sitting here conflicted: am I the prick for sneaking in my stash and lighting up OR should there be an age limit at these shows???

  • Hugo

    Ok so am I in the wrong if I bring a certain party favor that is smoked and reaks? I ask cause more and more as I go to concerts I want to enjoy the show my way, which requires a smoke. But as I look around I’m seeing kids, not pre teens or teenagers, but kids, elementary school aged kids, hell even babies in their strollers!!! So as I’m lighting up, I’m getting the stink eye or worse getting bombarded and sprayed with cheap perfume. Its a concert and once the lights go off you can smell it in the air and yet I’m the bad guy cause you chose to bring your kid???? So am I in the wrong?

  • G-Unit

    As far as sitting / standing goes at concerts – I think it all depends on the type of show you’re going to. If you’re going to say watch a heavy metal band perform an intimate acoustic set (which I have seen – Opeth in 2004) then it’s a whole different atmosphere than say if you’re going to see a huge multimedia show like the type that Nine Inch Nails, Tool, or Muse puts on. If you’re at the acoustic show then it’s OK to sit because the majority of the people are there to hear the band perform their music. It’s like being at a classical music performance – you’re there to listen to the music.

  • leo

    screw rules at concerts no such things exist!!! everything is possible!!!

  • mccullough88

    you’re right about #1. people who sit at concerts are effing lame. as far as wearing the band’s tshirt is concerned it depends on the band. my rule is if the band could pull off wearing their own tshirts, you can wear their tshirt to their concert (i.e the ramones used to wear their own shirts)
    if you’re at a miley cyrus concert, leave the shirt at home, no matter how good a song “party in the usa” is.

  • felix

    Having these kind of rules published, just proves that Spinner has no idea what music is. People should just be themselves when they go see an artist.

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  • TOM

    Wearing a bands shirt can go either way.Everything else is common courtesy.If your a dick at a concert your probably a dick everywhere else and we will watch and laugh when you get tossed.Paying for a ticket dosen’t make it a private show.We all paid and have a right to enjoy the show.I go to a lot of concerts and have a great time without being a douchbag.

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