Should Phones be Allowed at Concerts?

By Peter Zemeske

Tickets? Check. Trendy duds? Check. Phone? Check. Holy smokes, the day is finally here: you’re standing in line to enter the venue with your friends and everyone is super anxious to get inside. A man at the front scans your tickets as you shuffle your way towards the stage. Your heart is pounding with anticipation as you wait for the band to begin playing.

You chat with your friends about your opinions on the band’s latest album but mid-sentence, the lights go down, the crowd begins to cheer a deafening roar, the band walks out, picks up their instruments and everyone immediately whips out their cell phones. Ugh. I do my best to look past everyone’s constant need to update their social media, but it gets on my nerves when I see a sea of four-inch screens staring back at me.

Before I go any further, I’ll confess. I’m guilty of taking pictures and the occasional video at shows to prove to my Snapchat friends how cool I am. More and more, I see crowds filming a large majority of concerts and taking grainy, blurry phone pictures they won’t ever go back to reminisce with. I’m a strong believer in taking in each moment to its fullest, which is something that can’t be done when you’re more focused on the pictures you’re taking than the concert itself.

Blues rocker Jack White hit headlines when he announced all phones are banned from his shows, promising his fans a “100% human experience.” I commend his initiative, which is certainly a bold move on his part. Instead of fans taking their own pictures, he suggests they repost or save the shots taken by professionals, which he’ll be posting on his Twitter page. After all, the photos taken by professionals are going to be infinitely better than anything you can take on your personal phone.

Keep your phone in your pocket during the next show you attend. It might be tempting to record Radiohead playing “Creep,” but everyone knows they play this song at every show. If you want your friends on social media to know you’re seeing Green Day this Friday night, post it on Facebook afterwards. Give a brief review of the set list, the stage setup, etc., and I promise you’ll enjoy yourself more if you just kick back and enjoy the show.