1. People are at the show for different reasons and to have different experiences. Look around you: are people acting the way you want to act? If not, you’re probably in the wrong part of the room. If you want to flail wildly, please reposition yourself at the front of the stage, where others are likely to be flailing wildly. If you wish to stand still and listen intently, then take a position further back, rather than standing and tutting in the middle of the moshpit.
2. If you have come to the show to see your friends, and what is happening on the stage is of marginal interest to you, why not write off the cost of the ticket and go to the pub instead? You’ll be able to enjoy your conversation, and the people who’ve come to hear the music will be able to enjoy that, rather than your conversation.*
3. If you’re at a seated show, remember that no one around you can move. So if your behaviour is unpalatable, don’t be surprised if aggrieved patrons pick you up on it.
4. If you arrive at a gig early, you should of course feel perfectly entitled to stand anywhere you want. You’ve made the effort. If, however, you arrive two minutes before showtime, is it entirely reasonable to push your way to the front and centre, especially if you’re tall and thereby block the view of everyone behind you? It’s not, is it. Conversely, if you’re short and arrive early and stand at the back, there’s no point complaining when your sightline becomes obstructed as the evening wears on.
5. At outdoor shows, the nearer the front you are, the less reasonable it is to spread out with your friends, family and a picnic on a rug. There are tens of thousands of people present. They all want to get close to the stage, and it’s not fair to occupy half an acre with your sausage rolls when everyone around you is crammed in like sardines, especially if the first song is fast approaching. You’ve lost your right to complain when you get wellies wading through your sarnies if it’s five minutes to the show.
6. When at the bar, remember who was there before you. It’s just polite to let someone else get served if they’ve been there longer. Think how aggravated you get when others push in, before you do the same yourself.
7. Once you’ve been served, your drink is for drinking, not throwing. As ever, moshpit exceptions apply. If everyone is throwing their drinks in the air, what’s wrong with joining in? (As long as you don’t hit the band.) But if you’re at the back, watching your pint describe a perfect parabola as it soaks those underneath its flightpath, you are not just an arsehole, you’re a coward.
8. Still on the subject of drink: if you’re right in the middle of a packed crowd, in the middle of the show, think hard about whether you really need that extra drink. You’re going to have to barge past everyone to get to the bar, then barge past everyone to get back, then barge past everyone to go to the toilet 20 minutes later. Is it really worth that much inconvenience to you and them just to drink overpriced lager?
9. In general, singing along is fine. Not every time, of course – no one wants to hear Laura Marling drowned out by a lone, drunken, tuneless voice bellowing along. But a crowd joining in can be a magical moment. If someone is upset that you are ruining their recording of the show, tough luck for them.
10. And, yes, recording shows. Why not just watch the gig instead of holding aloft your phone to get a jerky picture, with terrible sound, that no one – including you – will ever want to see again? A show is a moment: live in the moment.