A Handy Guide to Concert Etiquette
Concerts have always been a performance platform to showcase the hard-work and preparations of bands or orchestras. It is also an opportunity for musicians to sell tickets to their family and friends who would go and watch them perform.
We have been present at many concerts over the past years and have since observed varied audience behaviour. Some had really great crowds; others, not so much.
We hope this handy guide provides you a basic understanding of what to do and not to do at concerts.
Always check the time of your concert beforehand, and arrive at least 15 minutes before the concert begins, to ensure you have ample time to find your seat. We recommend you arrive at least 30 minutes before the concert begins if you are collecting tickets from the venue.
Latecomers will not be admitted until a suitable break in the programme. Audience members who leave the hall before or during a performance will not be allowed entry into the hall until the performance of that particular piece of music is over.
WHAT TO WEAR
As dress codes are not often enforced at concerts, wear what you are most comfortable in. Smart casual attire is usually most adequate and appropriate, but to show respect to the performers, you should avoid wearing shorts, singlets or slippers.
MINIMUM AGE FOR AUDIENCES
The general rule of the thumb is that most venues admit audience members aged six and above (unless it is a concert targeted for children where rules might be more relaxed). Do note that tickets are required for all audience members including infants-in-arms.
Some venues may request parents to take disruptive children out for the consideration of other audiences. To avoid such inconveniences, it is recommended to get the seats near the aisles or the back of the halls.
SILENCE PHONES AND BEEPING DEVICES
Mobile phones and beeping devices (eg. smart watches) must be silenced throughout the concert to prevent distractions to both performers and other audience members.
WHEN TO TAKE PHOTOS OR VIDEOS
In most venues, any photography or video recording of any kind are not permitted during performances (unless otherwise stated so). However, non-flash photography is usually permitted before or after each performance.
WHEN TO APPLAUD
Enthusiasm shown by the audience is always welcome at concerts; who wouldn’t love a great crowd? However, a duly reminder is that the applause should not happen in between movements which are separated by brief, silent pauses. Your program booklet should indicate the number of movements for the piece of music, if any.
A good way to decide when to applaud is to wait till the conductor puts down his or her baton, or turns around to face the audience for a bow. That will be your cue for your appreciation.
MINIMIZE MOVEMENT OR NOISE
Coughing, sneezing, talking and other noises can cause disturbance to the performers on stage and interfere with audience enjoyment. Whistling, yelling, or screaming are also not appropriate at any time before, during, or after a concert.
If you need to cough or sneeze in the middle of the performance, do muffle the sound (tip: wait for a loud passage in the piece to do so). Also, try to avoid embarrassing moments of your phone or program booklet falling off, by keeping them on your lap or in your bag.
At the end of the concert, leave the venues in an orderly and calm manner (usually guided by the ushers). If you would like to offer your personal compliments to some of the performers, you may proceed to the stage doors.
On some occasions, post concert autograph sessions may be arranged for the audience to meet guest artistes. Do queue up patiently in line, and be considerate to the others by keeping your conversations with the artistes brief. Photographs and videos may also be taken in this setting, under the discretion of the organizers or the venues.
We hope that all concert-goers could do their part by observing concert etiquette, so that the concerts will be more enjoyable and a better experiences for the others.
Enjoy the music!