The Ignoramuses’ Code of Concert Conduct

Ok then, I know today’s post has nothing to do with my regular favorite subjects…but I wrote a shorter version of this piece a couple of years ago after being absolutely horrified at the behaviour from the audience at my kids’ school Christmas concert and have posted it around this time of year regularly since.

If you’ve been around my various blogs and social media pages for any length of time you know that I am a musician (albeit sort of part-time), I am married to an actual full-time musician, and together we made two musician kids, so I have the pleasure of going to a lot of concerts. Which is great…

BUT. The conduct of the audiences seems to be deteriorating, and it’s not just an etiquette problem (those exist too but I think they’re forgivable – we want more people to come to more concerts and I don’t want to scare people away over minor etiquette transgressions). No, what I’m railing against here is a basic lack of respect and courtesy. So without further ado or bitching, here is my annual…

The Ignoramuses’ Code of Concert Conduct

  1. Get there on time. Plan ahead and do what you need to do. This should go without saying. But, life gets in the way for everybody sometimes so if, despite your best efforts, you get there late, WAIT FOR A BREAK IN THE PROGRAM to enter.  Don’t drag your sorry butt in there and climb over people, shuffle around, get undressed, obscure other people’s views, and generally make a horse’s ass out of yourself.
  2. If you are late and you do have the decency to wait for a break in the program to enter and disturb everybody (or maybe the usher won’t let you in), while you are waiting outside the doors you still need to be quiet! This is not the time to tromp around and negotiate your divorce over the phone. Those doors are not soundproof. While the concert is going on, have some respect and…
  3. Shut up. Whether or not the person performing is related to you, they worked hard to prepare what they’re performing. The least you can do is stop your conversation.
  4. Keep your butt in your seat. It’s ridiculous that saying this is even necessary and I’m embarrassed for you. But hey, turn around – is there someone behind you? Chances are they’d like to see what’s going on instead of stare at your ass.
  5. Why are you recording? I’m serious – put your iPads and phones and toys away and enjoy your kid’s fucking concert. You’re not going to watch it again and I guarantee that anyone who isn’t there doesn’t really want to watch it on FB. I can also promise you that your kids want to make eye contact with you and they can’t do that if your mug is obscured by your iPhone.
  6. Speaking of eye contact, here’s a crazy idea: don’t wave and shout at your kids while they’re on stage. They’ve been told not to wave at you by their music teacher – it’s not that they don’t see you. Put your fool arms down and sit on your hands if you have to.
  7. The aisles are emphatically not space that’s been put aside for you to set up your camera equipment – they are there for fire safety and for people to use to go in and out. Oh wait, the emcee of the event mentioned that, didn’t they?
  8. They also mentioned that it would be a good idea to turn off anything that beeps, pings, or rings. Is there some reason that this rule doesn’t apply to you? Did I miss the memo that you are more important than the rest of us who actually do understand that phone noises are distracting to the performers? Also, here’s a physics lesson: light travels. The people around you will notice that you’re taking out your phone to discreetly return that text. You’re not being discreet. Get off your high horse and leave your phone in your pocket.
  9. Leave your food, toys, books, and anything else that can be dropped on the floor at home, or -hey!- on the floor. If it’s on the floor it can’t clatter to the floor mid-concert.
  10. Can you not go two hours without a snack? Really? This is the first world, last I checked; chances are you could go a couple of months without eating and nothing bad would happen to you. And the people around you didn’t pay for those seats for the privilege of smelling your food and listening to you chew. Be a grown up and wait until mealtime.
  11. Bring some halls if you have a cold. Sit near the exits if you have a baby or small child that can’t sit through a concert. And finally, know your limits – if you can’t sit still for 45 goddamn minutes then you probably shouldn’t leave your house.


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