This is The Best Audience Etiquette (Or Lack Thereof)


Can audiences enjoy live performances without being disruptive to the performer?

Most can agree that going to a concert is an exciting experience. You get to watch a live performance of your favorite artist, hear your favorite songs, and be in the midst of others that (for the most part) share your same appreciation for the show.

But what if while you were watching, people were instead: filming the show, screaming, getting up to go to the bathroom, and texting?

Yeah, It’s Happened To Me Too

I attended a John Legend concert back in my hometown that was held in one of the most beautiful and historic theatres in the city. I walked in, sat down, and expected to watch a beautiful performance from one of my favorite artists.

Now, while that did happen, it wasn’t the ONLY thing that I had the privelege to enjoy. As the lights dimmed the stage lights came on, as well as about 50% of the audiences’ camera flashes. Throughout the night, people were getting up from their seat, filming the show, and having full blown conversations while this incredible singer was performing for them.

I can’t even begin to describe how infuriated I was to see this happen in the middle of a concert. Half of the audience wasn’t even watching the show. They were too busy texting, buying more drinks, or indirectly watching the performance through their phone screen.

Really People? Really?

And no, this isn’t the only time I’ve seen this happen. I’ve seen it at dance performances, ceremonies, and just about any performance that doesn’t invite this type of behavior. MIGHT I ADD that flash photography is very dangerous for the performer.

I fail to understand why people feel that it’s okay to completely disrupt the rest of the audience members around them. To constantly get up and walk in front of others right in the middle of the show*, and snap a flash picture of the stage.

*note that this is in reference to concerts/performances with a formal setting, not concerts that invite a more lively crowd (rock concerts, EDM, outside festivals, etc.). I will, without a doubt, be one of the dancing fiends at those events*

Think about when you go to the movies, which I believe that it’s safe to assume most people have been to. There are several reminders to not text during the movie, most people don’t talk, and I’ve NEVER seen a flash go off.

Isn’t that ridiculous? Yes, it most certainly is. People seem to have better behavior in a movie theatre than in a theatre with a LIVE show. There is more respect given to an actor on screen than an artist performing for you, in the same room, at the same time.


Oh, and let’s not graze past the infuriating fad that is filming concerts on your phone. I mean, I get it. It’s cool and all to show your friends a snippet of the show you were so fortunate to be in attendance for. Yeah, rub it in their faces.

Where I draw the line is when it looks like your watching the LIVE performance from behind your phone screen instead of on the stage right in front of you. If you’re going to do that, I advise you to save your money and stream it online or at home- for free.

Perhaps I’m Biased

I was lucky to grow up in the performance world. I went to art school for 7 years, where we learned a great deal about how to act in an audience, and I’ve had experience on stage as a dancer for 14 years. I was exposed to and involved in performing arts early, and I know that many people haven’t been.

But let’s get real here. We’re expected not to talk during a class lecture, to not text during a movie, to “hold it” until after a TV show goes to commercial, yet we can’t apply those expectations to a performance we paid to see?



Rachel Jimenez

An Exercise Science major at USF with a love for dance, food, and sarcastic banter. Oh, and she was gluten free before it was cool. instagram: @sassycalves twitter: @itsraayy

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