Jacob Zinn :: journalist + photographer

Rocking Out with Manners

Posted in Observations by Jacob Zinn on May 16, 2009

Rock concerts are meant to be entertaining for all. You’ve spent all day looking forward to seeing a favourite band, but there’s always someone who ruins the experience and is too caught up in their own enjoyment to notice.

After searching on the internet, I was unable to find a unanimous list of rules for rock concert etiquette, so I wrote up one based on my own personal concert experiences, as well as some from the few lists I did find.

It’s meant to be humourous, but practical. If you follow these rules at your next rock show, chances are you’ll get along with the concert-goers around you.


Lower Level & Nosebleed Seating

Go to the bathroom before going to your seat.

Pay attention to the signs to find your row and seat, and if it’s too dark to see, bring a keychain flashlight.

Unless the rest of the section is standing, sit down. The people behind you didn’t pay to see you. (If you wanted to stand, you should’ve bought general admission.)

Before the show, if there are people sitting next to your seats, have some courtesy and sit one seat over until those people show up. There’s no reason to cram everyone together in an empty section.

Please stand up to let people get past you. If someone keeps leaving and coming back, you don’t have to stand up after the first two times.

If you’re going to try and jump past security to the floor, do it near the end of the show. If you try early on, they’ll drag you out of the venue and you’ll miss most of the show.


General Admission & Floor

General admission means the first there get the closest–don’t shove your way to the front, arrive early for this privilege.

For standing room only shows, tall people should stand still.

No chicks on their boyfriend’s shoulders. Only small children are allowed to sit up.

Don’t crowd-surf towards the moshpit.

When carrying a crowd-surfer, don’t drop them.

Makeout sessions must be moved to the back of the venue.

If you get on the stage, don’t expect security to let you go.

Always stage-dive towards the fans who are most into the show–they’ll catch you.

In the moshpit, keep your elbows at your sides.

The pit is for slam-dancing, not for starting fights. Don’t take hits personal.

If the drunk chick keeps bumping into you, give her a push and she’ll move to the next guy.



The headlining band was once an opening act. See the warm-up group and get your moneys worth.

The band will announce if they are taking requests. Until then, quiet down and enjoy the set list.

If you have a beverage, don’t spill it on the people in front of you. You paid eight dollars for that beer and they don’t want it soaking their clothes.

Shouting, screaming and whistling must be done in 30 second intervals with a five second cut-off.

It’s taboo to wear the band’s t-shirt to their concert.

After taking a few photos, put the camera down. It’s distracting.

Ballads are meant to have lighters raised–keep the cancerous glow of your cell phone’s LCD screen to yourself.

Don’t call anyone during the show. We have texting now.

Be aware of your surroundings during songs with actions (example: “YMCA”).

Don’t dance unless everyone else is dancing, and only if you have rhythm.

Leave the people with earplugs alone–they want to have their hearing tomorrow.

When leaving the venue, there’s no women and children first rule, but respect your elders.



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