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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Stop using your phone at concerts

(Courtesy of Wikicommons)
An audience member holding up a phone to record a concert. While it can be good to capture moments of a concert on a camera, it is also important to be in the moment with the artist. (Courtesy of Wikicommons)

The hall is crowded. The lights are dimmed. Each person’s shoulders are pushing up on at least two other sets of shoulders. It smells like stale beer with an undercurrent of sweat. The show was set to start at 7 p.m., but it’s now almost 8 p.m. Your favorite artist is due on stage at any time. 

The artist walks out, the audience starts to scream and jump, and you can’t see them. All you can see is cell phones, rows and rows of cell phones. 

While using your phone to record your favorite song or to make sure you have a ride to get home after the concert is over is fine, filming the entire concert, live streaming it on social media or FaceTiming friends to show them the show ruins the concert experience for you and for those around you.

A great example of this is with Sabrina Carpenter’s emails i can’t send tour. It makes total sense to record the custom ad-lib for “Nonsense” she does in every new city; it doesn’t make sense to record her entire set, focusing more on getting the perfect shot of her singing than actually enjoying them.

Since the face-value cost of tickets is up 14% since 2019, it is a totally fair reaction to record some of your favorite parts, according to Pitchfork

At the same time, you should be courteous of other concert-goers. If you are anywhere near the front of the crowd and your phone is in the air, you are impeding the view of others. Yes, you did pay to be there, but they did too and your experience and money does not trump theirs. 

That being said, devices that lock-up your phones may not be the right option. The industry standard device, Yondr, has you take your phone and put it in a locking pouch. After the event is over, you can unlock the pouch.

While it forces you to be more immersed in the concert or event you are at, your phone is unavailable for emergencies, taking pictures or anything else that may arise. 

For any solution there has to be a trade-off, but this feels like a step in the opposite direction. We should encourage people to choose to do the right thing and limit their phone usage.  

We should offer things like Yondr for those who feel that they need help making that good decision. 

Either way, the extreme use of phones at concerts needs to change or else the future of concerts may require step stools to see over the waves of phones.

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