Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Music Manners

Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest

Anyone who has attended a few festivals and/or concerts in their day by all means has an idea of the kind of shows that they find enjoyable, and those that they would have rather missed. As long as the music is exciting and fulfilling, than realistically you should be able to appreciate the live experience, but sometimes - just sometimes - the behaviour demonstrated by your fellow concert-goers is enough to send you over the edge.

So, in light of the magical beginning week of Ottawa Bluesfest, I'm going to outline a few crucial dos and donts of the concert nature. Here (should be) some common sense items to carry with you during your festival experience; here is a tiny bit of etiquette that might shape the way you, or the guy next to you, behaves:

                                                                SIPS AND SUDS

FESTIVAL DO: By all means have a few drinks, feel the music, and toast with your friends to the wonderful life of a young festival-goer. Beer or wine go hand-in-hand with live music usually, especially on a sweltering summer day when the crisp sip of a cold lager is all that makes the heat manageable. It really is a great time to test out the micro-brewed beers featured at the respective festival, and maybe (if you're lucky) make your way into the band area and share a brew with some of the musicians.

FESTIVAL (please) DON'T: Be swaying intoxicated in the middle of the crowd, staggering away from your friends and practically passing out mid-set (somehow while still standing, a true mystery to me whenever I've witnessed it). First of all - you're there to see a performance. You're most likely also there to appreciate music. So, if you can't even comprehend where you are or what you're hearing - what's the point of forking out the cash? Also, if you're standing behind us and we have to be concerned about what might come up (on your backs) considering how much you've chugged down - the experience becomes equally as less enjoyable for us.


FESTIVAL DO: Rock your trendiest duds, your most fashionable accessories and your coolest coif - because there's nothing like the festival time of year to really whip out the big clothing guns. Some of my favourite online photo galleries are those from large festivals like Coachella and Lollapalooza - where the world's neatest celebrities are wandering the concert grounds decked to the nines in the most relaxed of summery outfits. So, let your hair down and sport the outfit that you're always too afraid to - there's no time like the present.

FESTIVAL (please) DON'T: Stick yourself in the middle of a sweaty, thrashing crowd without your shirt on. By all means, press yourself up against the barrier at the front or linger peacefully in the back - but moshing about in the middle of the hoards with your sticky shirtless bod pressed up against me is fairly undesirable. I don't know you and you don't know me, so let's not stick to each other just yet. And, while we're on the topic of sticking - I have blonde hair. So, if I see that I suddenly have strands of your black hair cascading down my shoulder - that means a) we are far too close for comfort and b) girlfriend, get those locks in a ponytail, stat. Other things to steer clear of - wearing a stuffed and oversized backpack into the crowd that knocks others around like something out of American Gladiators, or a teeny-tiny bikini top that makes your chest turn into an eclipse; a sight I know I'm not supposed to look at, but it's hard not to when it's the most prominent and overwhelming spectacle in the crowd.


FESTIVAL DO: ROCK OUT. Dance, jump, have a blast and let the groove take your body places you've never expected (whatever that means). It's a concert, there's music, there's undoubtedly a beat - which gives you full-on permission to act and dance as happy as a clam. I can't help but bob and shake it when my favourite artist takes the stage, it's infectious and ignites a tiny fire beneath people's patoots.

FESTIVAL (please) DON'T: Forget to rock out with at least an ounce of spacial awareness and respect for those who are enjoying the tunes next to you. At some of the concerts I've been most excited for, a damper has been put on the night because of a few wicked elbows to the jaw and splashes of (my own) cold beer down the front of my shirt - all because someone was feeling the music a little too much, in an area of the crowd that didn't warrant such animalistic moves. If we're standing near the back, and have at least a foot between us, it's probably not the place to test out your new jumping-jack dance move. If you're in the first ten feet of the stage, amidst a mob of equally ecstatic jumpers - go for it. Just remember to play safe and be wary of your concert neighbours!

                                                 WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE

FESTIVAL DO: Enjoy the company of your friends and loved ones at concert. Nothing warms my heart more than a little beach blanket cuddle under the stars during a romantic set on stage. I always appreciate seeing couples experiencing music together, watching live songs that are meaningful to them, and taking advantage of basically the best date night known to mankind: the festival. Please, by all means - relish in your love for each other as the bassist picks away under the moonlight.

FESTIVAL (please) DON'T: Consummate your relationship in front of me. Another "eclipse" sort of moment occurs when you two are forgetting the thousands of other bystanders trying to focus on what is happening musically on stage. Similarly, not that I really consider this dancing - but please don't bump and grind on others as if the concert grounds are downtown's hottest club. If I bump you by accident, it really was an accident - not an excuse for your grabby paws to wander over to my torso. Let's all be new friends, enjoy the tunes together (from a few feet apart), and leave it at that!

Happy concert-going girls and boys! Keep yourself in line - and have the time of your life!

Pitchfork Music Festival

*Images courtesy of hitsinglesapparel.com and letsgoottawa.ca

1 comment:

  1. fantastic post. couldnt have said it better myself.