Of Cross-Generational Concert Etiquette; or Kids Today and Their Loud Music

You see, Snarklings, the Lady of the Manners recently attended an … arena rock show. Yes, it’s true. The Lady of the Manners has a not-so-secret fondness for bands that indulge in power chords, theatrics, and eyeliner; which means that every now and again, the Lady of the Manners finds herself at Big! Rock! Shows. And this most recent time, the Lady of the Manners realized that perhaps she should talk about cross-generational concert etiquette.

“Cross-generational?” you may be asking. Well, yes. At this last concert, the Lady of the Manners was bemused (and perhaps just a touch horrified) at some of the behavior she saw on both ends of the age spectrum at the concert. No, it wasn’t just the antics of the younger attendees that caused the Lady of the Manners to raise her eyebrows, but also the behavior of the “grown-ups” at the concert.

For the parents who are escorting younger fans to concerts, the Lady of the Manners asks that you try to remember what it was like to be a giddy teen getting to see a favorite band, and not wear your tolerant and world-weary amusement quite so openly. No matter how silly you think the kids are being. Admittedly, if you’re attending the show in the role of chaperone, the kids you’re with are going to probably to view you with a small amount of embarrassment anyway, but try not to add to it by obviously indulging in an “Oh goodness, aren’t they cute and silly” attitude.

With that said, the Lady of the Manners feels she has to warn the “grown-up” fans that they may find themselves saying and thinking things that they don’t expect. At the most recent concert, the Lady of the Manners was appalled to hear the words “Do your parents know you’re dressed like that?!” coming out of her mouth. In the Lady of the Manners’ defense, she didn’t actually say them to the young fan in question, but to one of the Lady of the Manners’ companions. But the instant after the Lady of the Manners uttered that phrase, she turned to her friend and said ‘I didn’t really just say that, did I?” (Of course, in retrospect, the Lady of the Manners is still a little shocked at the sight of what had to be a young lady under the age of 13 wearing little more than a micro-mini and a bra, but still. The Lady of the Manners never expected to blurt out one of the most clichéd adult phrases.)

To the younger fans, however, the Lady of the Manners would like to point out that adults staring at you might not always be in shocked disapproval, but because they’re trying not to burst out laughing at the sight of a scrawny and shirtless pre-teen boy swaggering around with “Free Sex!” scrawled on his chest. The Lady of the Manners is sure that this young man thought he was being terribly daring and shocking, but … well, not so much.

If you are attending a show as part of a mixed-age group, be sure to negotiate boundaries before the evening of the concert. Impassioned arguments about whether or not someone is allowed to go up front to the pit or to walk around with friends and no adults, while great comedy for innocent bystanders, will probably put a damper on the evening for you. Also, be aware of what sort of concert you’re going to, and for heaven’s sake, don’t complain about the volume level. Bring ear plugs like the rest of us do.

If you decide to brave the pit at a General Admission show, be smart about it. Yes, everyone wants to get to the front of the barricades. Your (or your child’s) wanting to be there does not give you more of a right to it than anyone else, which means you should treat everyone the way you would want to be treated. (The Lady of the Manners does seem to come back to that point a lot, doesn’t she?) This means you shouldn’t shove or trample anyone. The “front rows” at General Admission shows are crowded and chaotic enough without anyone trying to claw and shove their way to the front.

With that, the Lady of the Manners is going to take a look at the announced dates for a couple of different summer rock festivals and try to decide if she’s willing to endure an all-day outdoor show. (The Lady of the Manners knows that not only would she probably not be allowed to bring a parasol with her to a festival, but that blocking the other attendees’ views would be terribly rude.) As always, feel free to write to the Lady of the Manners!

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