A UC Berkeley student’s guide to surviving concerts

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Xinyu Li/Senior Staff

While summer may be over, concert season is very much still alive and kicking. After all, college is a prime time to go see the artists you love, be it with your friends or with random fans you just happened to stumble into a conversation with. While some may be seasoned pros, there are sure to be plenty newcomers to the concertgoing game, and there are some ground rules every concertgoer should know. Whether you’re going to see LCD Soundsystem at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium or Solange at the Greek Theatre, these essential tips will help you at any show you go to.

1. Gauge the environment

Every show has a different vibe, so it’s best to roll with the flow. If you’re at a Fleet Foxes concert, it’s probably not a good idea to try to start a mosh pit. Contrarily, don’t be the one person who is sitting down when Kendrick Lamar plays “HUMBLE.” (We realize he literally tells you to sit down in the song, but still). Usually, the audience surrounding you is enthusiastic in some form, whether it’s simply swaying and mouthing the words or dancing up a sweat and screaming the lyrics. If you go with the flow, it’ll be a good time.

2. Don’t be that person

Don’t be the person loudly having a side conversation in the middle of the show. So what if Father John Misty is playing one of his quieter songs — that doesn’t mean you should start talking to your buddy about your dad’s new boathouse. Also, don’t be the person who rudely shoves their way through the crowd, and definitely don’t be the person who moves with a chain of 12 people towards the front. If you’re tall and the person behind you is a foot shorter than you are, be courteous. That being said, don’t prop that person up on your shoulders unless you want everyone around you to resent you both.

3. Save your money

Concertgoing can be an expensive hobby as it is, especially when you get charged $15 in “fees” per show. Cut costs by grabbing food and drinks outside the venue so you don’t have to pay 12 bucks for a lukewarm pizza inside. Buying merchandise is awesome, but be careful — it’s easy to spend far too much over the course of several shows, so take a good minute to think before spending $90 on Saint Pablo Tour sweatpants. And for the procrastinators or those who are on the fence, sometimes you might be lucky enough to score a ticket below face value on Stubhub just days before the show.

4. Wear earplugs

We know it sounds lame, but you’ll probably thank yourself for it later. We don’t always wear them, but if you’re a regular concert attendee a set of earplugs is worth investing in. This rule especially applies at a festival, where your attitude goes from “Earplugs? Who needs those?” to “I’m going to be deaf by the end of the weekend if I don’t put these in” real quick.

5. Talk to strangers

Aside from experiencing your favorite artists in person and making your friends jealous, part of what makes concertgoing such a cool hobby is that you’ll meet some of the most interesting people ever through music. Whether it’s high-fiving a row of strangers during Disclosure’s set at Coachella or having someone quite obviously drunk fangirl about how good-looking Ezra Koenig from Vampire Weekend is, these are memories that’ll bring a smile to your face long after the music stops.

Keep these tips in mind next time you’re getting ready to see your favorite band!

Contact Doug Smith at [email protected].