As I was writing my monthly article on all of the upcoming shows coming in the next month, I soon realized that I never actually created an article that discusses concerts in a way that's more than just, "Hey check out these cool bands coming to the city of Cleveland."
I'd like to think those articles are cool, but concert safety may be a little cooler. I did a story similar in an old issue of the Cauldron, and I soon realized that safety tips are pretty much universal. Things like, "Don't leave drinks unattended," or "Wear earplugs," are pretty much found in every article on concert safety ever, but I realized in that article that my time from going to shows taught me a few other tips that some people might not think about if it's their first show.
Concerts are a way for me to unwind and be near other people who also need an escape, and while it's a unifying and wonderful experience, that doesn't mean you can just go to a show in today's society and not be prepared of something happening.
The sad reality is, the world isn't so safe and being ready for anything could potentially save your life. So, while you're enjoying seeing your favorite band live, it might not hurt to think about some of these tips!
1. Be aware of your surroundings
This is a universal rule to anything that you do, be aware of the things that are happening around you! It's the easiest and most important rule to follow when ensuring your safety (and this goes for literally anything!)
When you're at the show, it's important to keep in the back of your mind everything that's going on around you, from the people to the bands playing, having a tab on everything that's going on is one of the most important things to do when you're trying to be safe at a show.
2. If you go with other people, have a meet up spot
Once the show gets going, it's easy to be separated from the people you came with — especially if you're at a venue where it's standing room only. Phone reception can be iffy in venues, so having a meet-up spot prior to the show actually starting isn't a terrible idea! Whether it's the bathroom, entrance to the venue, the stairs or even the merch table, having that pre-planned spot can be a major help.
3. Leave valuables in your car, at home, or in a place nobody can see
This is a pretty difficult one to actually follow, I get it. Chances are, you'll be bringing your phone and wallet to the show with you (don't we all) but it might be a good idea to make sure you have pockets or a bag that you can easily stick those things in.
While concerts bring about this notion of, "It's safe here, we're all family," that's not always the case. Keeping your valuable possessions in a safe place can ensure that you won't be a target of someone trying to get your valuable possessions.
4. Make a note of security and the venue exits/layout
When you're going to a show, knowing where the security stands and the venue's layout/exits could be a major help in the event of an emergency. Knowing who the security is at a show is easy to spot out for a good reason. If there's something going on that requires trained professionals (like a medical emergency, fight, etc.) then knowing where to find someone to assist with the situation can quickly diffuse what's going on immediately.
Additionally, knowing a venue's layout or where every exit is, can be good when it comes to an emergency situation. While getting as close to the stage is usually the go-to move for anyone attending a show, standing further away from the crowd and near one of those exits (trust me, a good venue will have many) will ensure a quick escape to safety.
5. Know the venue dos and don'ts
Most of the time, concert safety can be universal, but that doesn't always mean that each venue has the same precautions and safety measures. That DIY venue definitely doesn't have the safety measures as that big stadium down the street, so you should have an idea of what the venue "dos and don'ts" are when going to said venue.
Do a quick Google search to see if the venue has any of their rules listed before going. Not only can you see the types of things you can and can't bring into the venue, you can also see if they have any rules and regulations listed in terms of security.
6. Have a plan if there is an emergency
If something were to happen while you're at a concert or other type of live event (like sports), having a plan could potentially save your life. Those safety plans could include something simple, like following these tips, to more advanced things, like listening to any announcements from the venue, staying away from any glass structures, and moving away from the crowd to avoid a stampede.
7. Try to get there on time (even better, early!)
Not only do you want to get to the venue early to secure a good spot for the show, it will also allow you to look around the venue to get a feel of what it's like. I hate saying "scope out the audience and place," but it's true, you want to gauge the environment you're at and getting there early may help doing that.
Plus, running late is the worst! So just don't do it!
8. Make sure your phone is charged
I know you'll want to take a bunch of pictures once you get there, and that's totally OK. But, you may want to make sure your phone has a decent charge for the duration of the night. Not only will you want to take pictures, you want to let people know where you are and you'll want to be easily contactable if someone needs to reach you.
Limiting the amount of time on your phone or bringing a portable charger is a good solution to fixing that issue, because you never want to be at a show with a dead phone!
9. Know what type of event you're going to
Most of the time, safety precautions and tips are universal to every show, but that doesn't mean certain gigs you're attending will require some added measures. Different bands bring with them a different group of people, certain venues will have different safety events (you won't be getting security at a house show, whereas you'll get loads at an arena) and the type of genre of music you're going to see can be huge factors in determining the setting of a show.
Whether you're in the mosh pit at a metal show or drinking it up in your cowboy boots at a country concert, knowing what you're getting into beforehand can allow you to be prepared for anything. Nothing is worse than standing near the front of the stage and not expecting a crowd surfer to fall on your head!
10. Not emergency stuff, but: drink lots of water, dress for the show, and wear ear plugs!!!
While most of these tips are meant for a dire emergency, regular concert safety is still important too! That means, you should eat before going and when you get there, make sure you stay hydrated! Chances are, you'll be in a large crowd with sweaty people pushing against you for hours and having some water throughout the night will not only help battle how hot and gross you feel, but it will also ensure you're not dehydrated (hydrate, not die-drate you guys!!)
And, trust me, I get wanting to look cute for a concert (what if you meet the band or the love of your life?!), but dressing for the show you're going to is a much better idea than looking cute for those “what if” moments.
Lastly, ear plugs! Hearing is your friend. Don't ruin it because you want to look like some cool kid that thinks they're too good to wear them.
I hope these tips find you well!