Summer concert do's and don'ts

Summer concerts give us the chance to sit back, relax, and leave our worries at home – unless you aren’t familiar with the proper etiquette. Different genres of music call for different concert norms, but we’ve consulted our experts (including the Gorge Groupie) to gather the basics and help make your summer concert experience the best it can be. 

  • Check out the venue regulations. Every venue has a different list of allowable items that you should check out, i.e. the Gorge allows empty plastic water bottles, a one-gallon zip lock bag with food, etc. If you know what you can and can’t bring before you get there, you won’t have to hold up the line, throw your things away at the door, or trek back to your car to put them away. (Scroll down for a list of links to some of the most popular NW venues)
  • Pack adequately, but lightly. It’s important to have everything that you’ll need to enjoy the concert, but over packing can cause a whole different set of problems. Bring only the essentials; your tickets, weather-appropriate jacket, and your ears, and barring a catastrophe you’ll have everything you need to enjoy the show.
  • Turn off your video camera…and your phone volume. Most performers don’t allow the audience to record their show at all, and some tickets state that video equipment can be confiscated and become the property of the artist.
  • Keep your height in mind. Sometimes we don’t notice that there’s a shorter person standing behind us and if so, we’re probably blocking their view. This also applies to hats and sunglasses at a seated venue. Stay aware of those around you and allow your shorter comrades to step in front of you, or take your hat off while seated.
  • Do NOT sing along to every song at the top of your tone-deaf voice. People pay good money to hear the artist, not you. One of our colleagues once had an entire Eagles concert at The Gorge ruined by a guy next them, who was clearly under the influence of something and was singing the entire time.
  • Ignore trouble makers. Some concerts have a tendency to get a little rowdy. If this is the case, don’t get upset if someone bumps into you, just chalk it up to the nature of events with a large audience. (And be realistic – don’t expect to stand still in the mosh pit!) There’s no point in confronting someone who clearly shares the same taste in music as you, and it was more than likely an accident anyway.
  • When in doubt, take your cues from the people around you. If you’re not sure of the “social norms” at a particular concert or venue, they’ll be pretty easy to figure out by looking at everyone else. If others are singing along, sing along. It’s a guarantee that they’ll be having fun, so have fun and enjoy the music and good vibes!

Some links to popular Washington and Oregon venue policies:

White River Amphitheatre

Marymoor Park Concerts 

Oregon Zoo Summer Concerts 

McMenamins Edgefield 

by  Sadie Phipps

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