Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

Fanimosity: How Concert Culture Has Changed Since The Pandemic

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at USFSP chapter.

I’ve been going to concerts for as long as I can remember. Throughout my teenage years I have gone to countless club shows and festivals and created my own pre-show routine – lots of snacks, playlists, and outfits ready to be posted on my social media.  

 With the coronavirus pandemic, the entire world shut down, which greatly impacted the live entertainment industry. Many younger fans of artists are now attending their first live shows, which has started a discourse online regarding fan behavior. Instead of having a shared experience with others and with the artist you love, for some, it has turned into fans vying for the attention of the artist.   

For example, pop singer Harry Styles has had skittles thrown at him while performing his song “Kiwi,” a tradition started by fans. During a performance at the Kia Forum last year, Styles had them thrown directly at his face, leaving fans under the impression that he had suffered an eye injury. It was revealed he suffered no injury, although it begs the question of what fan behavior is acceptable when trying to get noticed at a show. 

Artists have also received criticism for how they have responded to the antics of fans. Rapper Cardi B had a drink thrown onto her while performing and responded by throwing a microphone at the fan. Steve Lacy broke a fan’s film camera on stage and ended his performance early because of it, after he had asked fans not to throw things on stage. This has raised concerns amongst fans about the personal safety of their favorite artists, as this issue has become more common. 

Fan etiquette, specifically with phone usage, has also changed the way concerts are viewed. With the rise of social media and smartphones, people don’t really judge if you record or take pictures anymore. There are even platforms, such as Relisten, that upload live concert footage from different performances. With the Eras Tour for pop singer Taylor Swift, there are many fan-created chants that are for specific songs, with many clips going viral. The ability to spread these moments online has only increased the overall concert experience.  

However, a discussion has been started on when it is appropriate to record, how frequently, or even at all during a show. Singer Mitski had tweeted earlier this year about phone usage at her shows and how it takes away from the experience. Miranda Lambert completely stopped a performance to call fans out at her residency in Las Vegas for taking selfies while she was on stage. Everyone has the right to record at a show, although you should also be respectful towards the artist.  

 Now, artists anticipate fans will use their phones and will use that to their advantage. I attended a Panic! At The Disco concert and fans were given different colored hearts based off the section you sat in. During their song “Girls/Girls/Boys” – a song about being comfortable with your sexuality – fans could use their phone flashlight to light up the heart. There can be many unifying moments at a live show, whether it be holding up a piece of paper or laughing at something the lead singer says on stage. 

With the slow return of live music post-pandemic, fans have been reunited with the music they love in an intimate way. Attending a concert can be an unforgettable experience. Shows shouldn’t be fans harassing artists on stage for a clip to post online, they should be about the music, the memories, and dancing the night away.  

Cailinn is a writer at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg chapter, and likes to write articles about music and pop culture. She is currently studying political science. In her free time, she enjoys reading, journaling, and live music.