10 concert safety tips

10 Concert Safety Tips From An Avid Show-Goer

Concerts may be fun, but there's some things you should know before going to one!

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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!

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25 Helpful Tips To Survive Any General Admission Concert

The smaller the show, the better. Trust me.
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Live music is something we should all experience in our lifetimes, however, general admission shows can admittedly be a bit daunting. Whether you're a seasoned concert goer or a first timer, I'm sure some of these tips could help make your experience more enjoyable, or frankly, survivable. Let's face it, it gets a little scary in the pit sometimes....


Before the show (day of):


1. If you plan on being front row for your favorite band at a GA show, show up a few hours early to sit outside the venue.

This tactic is so much easier than having to wiggle your way to the front in a very territorial crowd. If you want front row, you're going to have to earn it, and that means sitting down on a cold patch of concrete for hours at a time. You will even meet some cool fans who are just as dedicated as you, and who knows, you may make a friend or two.


2. Always bring a printed copy of your ticket, just in case.

Most venues will accept electronic tickets from your phone, but some venues do not. It's always good to print out a copy of your ticket or check with the venue beforehand to ensure your e-ticket will suffice. Many venues have Twitter pages and will answer quickly if you wish to ask.


3. Never assume you can buy tickets at the door.

You may be able to get away with last minute ticket shopping for smaller shows, but for the most part, it's best to buy ahead as to minimize your panic on the day of the show.


4. Buy your tickets as far in advance as possible.

Most general admission shows are super cheap if you buy tickets as soon as they are released. However, if you put it off, a $20 show can easily become a $100 show. Keep up with your favorite band's tour dates and set reminders to buy tickets as soon as they go on sale to save some money. Beware of ticket resellers, as they will rip you off with zero shame and mercy.


5. Do not be afraid to attend a show by yourself if you are unable to find someone to come with you.

It's happened to all of us. Our concert buddy has to work on the day of a highly anticipated show and despite asking everyone we know, no one can tag along, so we stay home and drown our sorrows in cookie dough ice cream instead. But that is no longer okay. Attending a show by ourselves may seem daunting, unexciting, and let's face it, we don't want to be dubbed a loser. But I'm here to tell you, none of that will happen. Odds are, you're not going to be the only one riding solo at the show and no one will know if you're alone or with a pack of friends anyway. This may even be an opportunity to make new friends and branch out.


6. Make sure to pack a few water bottles for after the show, and if it's a summer show, bring a cooler.

Trust me, as soon as you leave the show, you're going to be dying for a bottle of ice cold water so make sure you have a bottle or two in the car. It will be your savior.


7. Eat a complete meal before the show.

Shows can be expend a lot of energy, so it's always a good idea to come to a show on a relatively full stomach. The last thing you want to happen is pass out a show because you didn't eat or drink beforehand.


8. Dress comfortably and forget about being cute.

Indoor general admissions shows can get a little sweaty, especially if you find yourself squished between a bunch of people. You're going to regret wearing your heeled booties after two hours of standing (trust me, i've been there, done that). You may leave the house looking cute, but odds are, you're going to look every bit of a sweaty disaster post-show.


9. If you're going to wear make-up, make sure it's waterproof.

During the show, you will have water poured on your face by security guards, you will sweat more than you ever have in your whole life, and there may even be a tear or two. Unless you want to have crazy mascara streaks and eyeliner on your nose, you should probably wear waterproof make-up. Then again, no one is going to judge you for your post-show appearance, because odds are, they're not going to be looking too hot themselves. Embrace your ugly and rock out.


10. Wear your hair up.

During the show your hair will likely be pulled, grabbed, and touched by the people in front of you. It's also super annoying to get a face-full of hair at a show, so to make everyone happy, it's a good idea to throw your hair into a high pony and call it a day.


11. Don't, I repeat, DON'T wear a a hoodie or jacket to a show.

Most venues are poorly air-conditioned, and when you throw a million lights and a room full of people into the mix, shows can get pretty hot. The hoodie may have seemed like a good idea going into the show, but five minutes in, you're going to be resenting that hoodie and every life decision you've ever made up to that point. Some venues will have coat-check, but they can get pretty expensive and why risk precious time checking in your coat when you can be rushing to the stage instead? I always try to dress as cooly as I can, despite the weather outside. You can always bring a flannel or light sweater to wrap around your waist when you get warm.


12. Bring in as little as you can to a show and leave the valuables in the car, if at possible.

If you absolutely need to bring things into the venue (phone, medication, merch/beer money, keys, etc.), it's a good idea to bring a small purse or fanny-pack (which are so in style right now) to the show. Don't haul your entire purse to the show because I guarantee you're going to regret lugging it around real quick. And to minimize lost or damaged items, it's best to keep your most beloved items locked safely in the car. Crowds can get pretty rowdy and it's not uncommon to have something broken.


13. To my fellow glasses-wearers: if at all possible, either ditch the glasses for the night or wear contacts.

It's going to rough, but if you can do it, you will not regret it. As mentioned above, crowds get super rowdy, and when you throw in all the crowd surfers who will inevitably kick you or fall on you, there are plenty of chances for your glasses to fall off or be broken. Trust me, I've had two separate pairs of prescription glasses broken beyond repair at shows, and i've seen it happen plenty of other times as well. One semi-blurry night is far better than having to pay for glasses repairs or replacements in the future. Trust me on this one, guys.


During the show:


14. Stay hydrated. Stay hydrated. Stay hydrated.

This is an important one. Whether it's an outdoor concert in the middle of summer or an indoor general admission show, it's going to get hot, you're going to sweat, and you will become dehydrated pretty quickly if you don't make an effort to stay hydrated. If you're close to the stage/barricade, you may get likely and have guards pouring water into your mouth between songs. If not, you may have to cough up five bucks for a bottle. You don't want to pass out or be the one puking into a bucket by the entrance, so drink plenty of water during any show-- especially if you plan on consuming alcohol.


15. Don't over do it and know your limit.

Being front row for a show is an incredible experience. Not only can you hear the music better, but you'll be able to see every sweat droplet on your favorite band member's forehead. However, it can take a lot out of a person. If you feel like things are getting too out of control and you need out, don't be afraid to retreat to side stage or further back where its safer. Enjoying the show is ultimately far better than being front row in the grand scheme of things.


16. If you enjoy mosh-pits, crowd-surfing and the constant push and pull of the crowd, front center stage is your friend.

This part of the show can be really exciting, but it definitely is not for everyone. Between people charging at you, arms and fists flailing, and crowd surfers slammed onto your head as they make their way to the stage, front center stage can get pretty scary and it isn't recommended for first time concert-goers. Of course, this differs from show-to-show and genre-to-genre, but generally speaking, only stand center stage if you're prepared for mass chaos. Also, the middle of the crowd can be pretty dangerous too, as you will find yourself both pushed forward by the people in front of you, and simultaneously pushed backward by the people in front of you.


17. But if you prefer simply enjoying the show in a calm and peaceful manner, side stage or farther back is for you.

Side stage is always a good bet, since you will still have a pretty good view, will be close to the stage, and will almost certainly avoid the chaos and crowd-surfers.


18. Look out for crowd-surfers and protect your head from stray kicks or drops.

While crowd surfers certainly make things a bit more energetic, they come at a price. Always pay attention to what is going on around you, or simply look at the guard's reactions to avoid a kick to the head or neck. Pass along the surfer when you can, or if it's too late, protect your head by ducking and covering it. Concussions are common at music festivals and general admission shows so try to prevent one at all costs. Again, majority of your crowd-surfer interactions will be center stage, so if the prospect of holding up a sweaty human does not sound very appealing to you, side stage is for you. Side note: if you're wearing heeled shows, please do your fellow concert-goers a favor and don't crowd surf. There is nothing worse than being stabbed in the head by someone's heel.


19. Talk to the people around you. Don't be shy.

Get to know the people around you before the show or between bands. You meet some pretty cool people this way and it's definitely worth engaging in small talk with them, even if it's to help make the time go by faster.


20. Always show up and listen to the opening bands.

I get it, you're here for the headliner, but don't dismiss the opening bands too soon. They're probably pretty similar in musical style to the band or artist you're there for, so the chances that you'll enjoy them are pretty high. I've been introduced to some of my favorite bands through opening acts, and there's even been shows where the opening band was better than the actual headliner. Opening bands deserve your time and attention just as much as the headliner, and just because they don't have an entire tour named after them, doesn't mean their music isn't good.


21. Take as many videos and pictures as you want, who cares what anyone has to say.

If you want to take a few videos or pictures to commemorate the night, by all means, go crazy(ish). Don't apologize for your absurdly long Snapchat story or the million pictures of your favorite band member either. Maybe not record the entire concert, but a few vids here and there are perfectly OK.


22. When a band tells you to jump, move, clap, or sing-along, YOU DO IT.

Shout out your favorite lyrics. Make the floor move beneath your feet. Dance like no is watching. Just go crazy.


23. Do not be embarrassed to let loose.

No one, absolutely no one, is judging your terrible singing or wacky dance moves so don't be afraid to go a little crazy. You're going to have a much better time this way than if you stand there, stiff as a bored, conscious of scrutiny and judgment. Trust me, everyone's focus is on the band so know is going to notice if you break out into the running man mid-song.



After the show:

24. Go crazy at the merch table.

Hopefully you brought the rest of your life savings with you, because you're going to need it. Whether you want to represent your favorite band or show them a little love, the merch table is something you should not avoid, unless you know, you're totally broke.


25. Go home, rehydrate, reminisce over the wonderful night you had and get ready for your next show.

If you're like me, you never give post-concert-depression the time to fester and develop because just as one show has ended, you're preparing for a next.

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Why Don't We Gave St. Paul A Special Night

Not only was it the night that 5,000 Why Don't We fans have been eagerly waiting for since buying tickets months ago, but it was Why Don't We member Jonah Marais' hometown show.

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It was a special night in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota on Sunday, April 14, 2019. Not only was it the night that 5,000 Why Don't We Fans were eagerly waiting to see the band perform after securing tickets months ago, but it was Why Don't We member Jonah Marais' hometown show.

From the moment I walked into the venue and saw the line of fans wrapping around the building twice, I knew it was going to be a crazy night and I wasn't wrong. It isn't every show that fans are just as excited to see the opening acts perform as they are the main act.

When the first opener, Brynn Elliott took the stage, the screams began. Elliott's performance was amazing. The lyrics to her songs are so inspiring and her vocals are so raw and beautiful that they gave me chills. The two songs that really got the crowd going were "Internet You" and "Might Not Like Me." Overall, it was beyond clear she was excited to be up on stage performing as her infectious smile radiated into the crowd throughout her entire set.

Corbyn Jenkins Corbyn Jenkins

Following Brynn Elliott was EBEN. Screams erupted once again as he took the stage and there were even some tears of happiness rolling down a few faces in the crowd. Prior to attending the show, I wasn't aware that EBEN has been a good friend of the band for years and a part of the Why Don't We fam, which makes sense why so many were just as excited to see him perform.

EBEN took the stage with so much energy and continued to have a strong stage presence throughout his whole set. A I would say the standout moment of his set was when he performed, "LAMBO." It was during that song that I felt he really brought it all and the crowd was beyond into it as they danced around and screamed back the lyrics.

Corbyn Jenkins

Not too long after EBEN left the stage the moment all 5,000 fans had been waiting for finally came as Why Don't We appeared on stage to their sold-out crowd after a fun "storybook-like" intro. The five Why Don't We boys: Jonah Marais, Zach Herron, Corbyn Besson, Jack Avery and Daniel Seavey took their places on stands in the back of the stage. I didn't believe that it could get any louder in the venue than it was for the two opening acts, but I sure was wrong. As the band began singing their 2018 single, "Trust Fund" screams of excitement erupted. "M.I.A" followed which is a bop from the band's 2017 EP, "Invitation."

Corbyn Jenkins

During the third song of the night, "Choose" the boys made their way towards the front of the stage, causing the crowd to go even crazier. It was during this song that I discovered just how great of a stage presence these five boys have. It's one thing to get up on stage and sing your songs incredibly well, but it's another to get your fans engaged and these boys do it both.

Corbyn Jenkins

About halfway through their set, WDW member, Jonah Marais reflected on his musical journey with his hometown crowd.

"This is just crazy. Our first show here was at The Garage in Burnsville which fit about 150 people. Tonight is kind of surreal for me because I'm from Stillwater and I have a lot of friends and family here tonight. It's a special night. Thank you so much for being here and look at what we've done together. It's pretty cool."

Corbyn Jenkins

The band then took a photo with the crowd and played "Taking You" for their fans from day one. "These Girls" followed which was a total crowd pleaser and next came "Hooked" and "Talk" which were both full of smooth dance moves that had the fans going crazy.

After a quick break, the band reappeared on stage in their fourth outfit of the night and dove right into their hit song, "8 Letters" which had the crowd singing along from the first note. When the song came to a close, member Corbyn Besson gave the crowd a motivational speech on chasing your dreams and ended it by saying,

"We had this motto for 2019 and we started it with the first song we dropped this year. The motto is to make big plans."

Corbyn Jenkins

If you couldn't guess, the band then played their 2019 single, "Big Plans." Everyone loves a clever segue. The band then closed the night with their other 2019 releases, "Cold In LA" and "I Don't Belong In This Club" which are both bops that had the crowd on their feet, hands in the air, screaming along to the lyrics and having the time of their life.

Corbyn Jenkins

Overall, Why Don't We puts on an incredible show. Not only do they have catchy and fun songs, but they have such a strong stage presence that you physically cannot look away. It is obvious that all five boys love being up on stage performing and the relationship that they have with their fans is something special. It is like one big family.

Corbyn Jenkins

Setlist:

1. "Trust Fund

2. "M.I.A.

3. "Choose

4. "Hard

5. "Friends

6. "In Too Deep

7. "Nobody Gotta Know

8. "I Depend On You

9. "Runner

10. "Why Don't We Just

11. "Something Different

12. Mashup: "Taste" / "Finess" / "Lucid Dreams" / "MIDDLE CHILD" // "Better Now"

13. "Taking You"

14. "These Girls"

15. "Hooked"

16. "Talk"

17. "8 Letters"

18. "Big Plans"

19. "Cold In LA"

20. "I Don't Belong In This Club"

Corbyn Jenkins

Corbyn Jenkins

Corbyn Jenkins

Corbyn Jenkins

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