Every so often, a live concert provides a fan with an absolutely perfect moment. It’s a moment where the listener is completely enveloped by the sound and lyrics and taken away into a place of musical euphor—
It’s a moment where a longtime favorite song is finally heard in a new and refreshing ligh—
“BRO!” “Is that you, bro?”
A long-awaited connection fina—
And it’s a moment that can be completely ruined by chatting socialites, rebellious teenagers and, of course, a nation of inconsiderate bros. Such is the life of a music lover at the Twilight Concert Series. Clowns to the left of me, jokers on the right, and here I am, stuck in the middle with a bunch of yoo-hoos.
I firmly believe that the Twilight Concert Series is a land of opportunity. The Salt Lake City Arts Council has done a tremendous job of booking some of the best indie-rock and hip-hop acts for this $5 admission summer concert event. The opportunity to see bands like The National, Grizzly Bear, MGMT and Ludacris (all on this year’s schedule) for a nominal fee is enough to make any audiophile salivate. Many of these bands rarely choose Salt Lake City as a tour destination, or haven’t for years. It is also a great opportunity for any concert-goer to hear and experience new music for the first time.
But for many, these concerts are not a venue to see a band, but a place to hang out with their friends. If standard concert etiquette were followed (or any etiquette, really), this wouldn’t be an issue. But it isn’t, so the issue remains. In a nutshell, these concerts are a breeding ground for rabid inconsideration. Take a look around and you’ll find plenty examples of folks talking loudly without any regard for what is happening onstage, others barreling their way through the crowd only to barrel their way right back a few minutes later, and the inescapable smell of you-know-what.
As a guy who has been to nearly 100 concerts, I completely understand that outdoor concerts are not intended to be as comfortable and carefree as a magic carpet ride to Agrabah. Stuff happens. You might get bumped around a little bit or have your view blocked by someone taller than you. You might even have to deal with the smell of weed from time to time. But Twilight isn’t what she used to be, and if enough of us speak up, maybe some changes could be made.
I have no ill will toward the Arts Council or the staff and volunteers who work at these shows. They do a great job. I try to never leave a show without saying “thank you” to the people standing at the exit gate. They have a tough job, and they work hard. All I am trying to do is point out some flaws and help pave the way to a better experience for everyone. I hope this letter can serve as a jumping-off point for us to enact a few changes to improve the listening environment for those of us who don’t need to scream, smoke, mosh or crowdsurf to enjoy every concert. If not, at least I was able to get a few things off my chest.
To the Arts Council and Twilight Concert Series staff, I really appreciate you providing such an incredible event. If you are worried that making changes might alienate some of your paying customers, don’t be. Keep scheduling great bands, and people will come. Let’s just do our best to ensure that potentially great moments aren’t ruined by ignorant concert-goers.