Schools instruct everyone on the dos and don’ts of adult life; do use a condom, don’t use that dirty syringe to inject krokodil, do vote, don’t drive pissed with six mates in your car and two in the boot. But who is instructing us, the public, on the correct way to behave in large crowds drenched in loud music? Self-regulation doesn’t work, especially when most participants are higher than Ben Cousins or inebriated beyond the point of erection (in any form).
After much (read: some) crowd polling and extensive (read: some) surveying, we have compiled a basic outline to benefit to all gig-goers, covering some of the most widely held live entertainment gripes. So, in the interest of all festival and music event patrons we submit this to the Department of [adult] Education: The Field Guide to Partying Like An Awesome Person: Gig Etiquette. To being a douche at a gig or festival, Everguide says no. Now listen to teacher.
LESSON #1: PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE
Toilet and bar queues are a matter of grave importance.
Cutting into queues at the bar and/or toilets.
Smaller females, groupies and venue frequenters with a sense of entitlement.
Mild to extreme.
Nobody enjoys going to the toilet at a dedicated music venue, much less at a festival. At best they’re sanitary, at worst it’s difficult to tell if you’re at relatively civilised venue or if you’re time-travelled back to the Victorian goldfields during The Rush. Making this necessary evil more unpleasant are the little darlings claiming to ‘just need the mirror’ only to duck into a cubicle for the next thirty minutes. What they’re doing isn’t important, what is crucial is trying really hard to remember if you said, “Oh, no. I don’t need to pee, it’s just that leaning on this beer and tear sodden wall has been the highlight of my night. Please just jump right in-front of me, please.”
LESSON #2: R.E.S.P.E.C.T
The performer deserves your attention and respect, even if they’re shit.
Talking during the performance, heckling, not clapping, texting, facebooking, twittering and general phone use during the show.
Couples, small groups of friends, drunk class-clown types and anyone who automatically defaults to mobile phone use when solo.
It can be confusing at a gig; there’s music playing from the stereo, and then there are people on stage - how in all of God’s green glory are you supposed to know when to stop tweeting? Well, usually a good hint is that the people around you are all facing the same way. If you’re still not sure then it’s probably a good idea to check the stage and see if there are people fiddling with the instruments or standing in front of the microphones. And if anyone says something along the line of “I’m sorry, but didn’t you choose to be here? If this is interrupting your conversation/status update/instagramming, then please fuck off LIKERIGHTNOW.” That’s probably a good indication that you should shut your Goddamn pie hole.
Lesson #3: COMMON COURTESY
Being at the front for the show is a privilege, not a right.
Pushing to the front once the band has started instead of staking you claim beforehand like everyone else.
Girls with a strong sense of privilege (probably the same ones that will expect free drinks always), and guy who lacks all capacity for forward planning.
The lull between the support and the main act can be pretty tense and full of anticipation. It’s understandable that you’ll need to duck off to the loo, and naturally to the bar after that. And then maybe out for a quick smoke. And while you’re out there, maybe duck off for a cheeky kebab. However, you should know that the people who’ve put in the time at the front of the crowd can get a bit sour when you excuse yourself all the way from the bar to the front. Once the music starts and you aren’t where you wanted to be, sorry but it’s like your mum says: you’ve made your bed, now lay in it.
Lesson #4: MANNERS (REMEMBER THEM?)
The crowd is not a space-deficient maze set up for your enjoyment.
Weaving back and forth through the crowd at gigs or festivals. This offence seems to be particularly prevalent at festivals as people locate friends and ‘their spot’ – like there’s such a thing.
Gacked people, people who have lost their friend/phone/wallet/bag/wrist band/camera/interest in the show.
It’s a common problem; you’ve had a few drinks and it’s suddenly essential for you to find that one girl from your work amongst a crowd ranging form 1,000 to 50,000 people. You know exactly who you’re looking for, so it should be fairly easy, right? She said she was to the left of the stage. Oh damn, maybe she meant the left facing away from the stage. Or maybe she meant on the upper left level. Did someone say that a band’s playing? Sorry, there are far more pressing things afoot. Saying 'sorry' and 'excuse me' still don't make gravy either.
LESSON #5: DECENCY (SPOILER ALERT - SCHLONGS AREN'T DECENT)
Toilets are portaloos, troughs, drop-dunnies and occasionally trees.
Peeing, farting, pooping or vomiting in the midst of a crowd. This can be into a bottle or can, or just onto the ground. This occurs most frequently at outdoor festivals.
This is almost exclusively the domain of males. But let us not forget one lady who couldn’t wait to poop at Future this year and dropped a log behind the fence next to the stage (it may have been during Skrillex though, so she mightn’t have had any control over her bowels).
Look, as you can see from this guide so far, dealing with evacuating bowels and bladders can be quite an issue at gigs and festivals. There are scungy toilets, long queues, the sacrificing of prime real estate and sneaky queue-sneakers to deal with. However, none of these issues make it permissible to let loose in the crowd. Ever. If you’re gripped by the urgent need to vacate your digestive tract, do not convince yourself that it’s okay to do it in front of the stage because you have a half empty Mt. Franklin bottle to put it in. And, for the sake of yourself, and everyone in a ten-meter radius, do not vomit right in the crowd. That is going to seriously pong once the sun gets to it and they don’t have dry shampoo at the first aid tent.
LESSON #6: CHASTITY BELTS
PDA and beyond.
Hugging motionless within a rowdy crowd, sloppy kissing, grinding, gyrating, dry humping, over or under-the-pants handies and any other activity that should only be committed in private.
Couples (duh), although more than two people can partake in this wrongdoing.
Mild to extreme.
Oh love. Isn’t it just grand? Summer is the season of love, as well as festivals and their associated sideshows. People are hooking up left and right at these things, which is lovely and all, until you find yourself plonked next to Casanova and his latest squeeze testing out the ignition point between their crotches. Nice. This is in no way going to distract you from watching Angus and Julia do their thang.
By following these simple teachings you could easily end up as this guy:
Rather than this young lady... If only she'd read lesson no.6:
More Field Guide to Partying Like An Awesome Person?
- How to Take the 'U' Out of 'Douche'
- How to Be a Babe on a Budget
- What to Do When Bad Things Happen
- Saving Festival Coinage
- House Parties 101