The show must go on: Concerts shape live entertainment culture
January 27, 2023
Concerts can create a sense of community and enjoyment within individuals and as a group. Whether it be a small venue or a sold-out stadium, many find themselves eager to join the crowd and immerse themselves in the energy of the atmosphere. However, many negative aspects of concerts have arouse over the past few years and consumers are finding themselves frustrated with the current state of live entertainment.
Ticketmaster sparks fan outrage and legal debate
Fans, having waited days, weeks or even months for this moment, eagerly log onto Ticketmaster to join millions in their battle for Taylor Swift tickets. Butterflies in their stomach and heart racing, they enter the queue line to wait their turn to snag the most coveted concert tickets of the year. But through website crashes, fluctuating prices and online traffic, many fans were unable to purchase tickets.
Senior Julia Frauendorff was one of the millions who were unsuccessful in obtaining tickets and holds the company responsible for her experience.
“The whole experience was super frustrating because when the presale started, we were very early in the presale queue, but when the website crashed we lost our spot in line. The whole day was stressful only because the company didn’t foresee so many people wanting tickets,” Frauendorff said.
This negative experience on Ticketmaster was due to the company being poorly prepared for the demand of these tickets. Fans who attempted to buy tickets using a presale code logged into a website that quickly crashed under what Ticketmaster called “unprecedented traffic.” Due to this unanticipated high demand, Ticketmaster canceled sales to the general public a day before they were supposed to open.
While Junior Taylor Mitchell was able to buy tickets, she still feels the company should be held accountable for their ill preparation.
“[Ticketmaster] knew how many people they gave presale access to and should have been aware that they sent presale codes to more people then they had tickets for,” Mitchell said.
Frauendorff feels similarly to Mitchell regarding how Ticketmaster ran the releasing of the concert tickets.
“I think Ticketmaster had a lot of time to prepare for this mass demand. They were the ones that released presale codes and should’ve at least foreseen something like that happening,” Frauendorff said.
This event led to the Tennessee and North Carolina attorney generals investigating Ticketmaster for allegedly violating consumers’ rights and antitrust laws. Members of Congress have expressed similar concerns about the company’s immense power in the live music industry, leading to their ability to destroy venues and artists who refuse to work with them. If Ticketmaster is found to have violated consumer protection laws, financial penalties could be taken against the company.
Concert culture changes after Covid-19
From dressing up in cute outfits, blasting the music to the artist you’re about to hear live in the car ride up, to screaming the lyrics at the packed concert to your favorite song with your best friend: these are some common memories of people that have attended any concert.
Concerts are a popular experience many teenagers share. People love concerts as it is a way to socialize with your friends and listen to your favorite music. Not only is going to a concert fun, but there are also many benefits to attending one, such as stress reduction, a sense of connection and community and an overall feeling of well being.
It seems as though people post COVID-19 are viewing the whole experience of a concert, regardless of whoever the artist or band might be performing. People miss the gatherings and outings that they have missed.
Junior Ellery Johnson explains how she feels the concert culture has been impacted in a positive way in a post- pandemic world.
“I think people are just excited to go out and have fun again so you enjoy [the concert] so much more. It feels like the audience is closer now being through the pandemic together, even though we don’t all know each other we are all there for the same purpose and [there is] a sense of bonding in a way,” Johnson said.
Because of the growing number of people attending concerts, tickets have also been harder to purchase since COVID-19. Senior Madeline Kelly speaks on how her experience with buying Taylor Swift tickets changed from 2018 to 2022.
“I think that buying tickets is harder. For me personally, it was so much harder to buy Taylor Swift tickets now than it was in 2018. All of the concerts I’ve been to this year have been sold out, and it was incredibly hard to buy tickets, or we had to buy tickets from a scalper for a ridiculous price,” Kelly said.
While concerts have been viewed as an overall positive experience, recently concertgoers have found an interesting shift in the concert culture in a post COVID-19 world. Because of concerts being postponed for a few months because of the pandemic, some concert goers feel as though some attendees have lost what is known as “concert etiquette”.
“ Since we haven’t been together for so long because of COVID some people have lost that etiquette and the social norms [of a concert] so sometimes it is annoying when people are not polite anymore… or when they are socially unaware,” Johnson said.
Senior Georgia Genin believes that some people are not really there to have the concert experience itself, but rather just take pictures and tell people that they were at the concert.
“There’ve been cases where the people sitting around don’t really care for the artist or only go to see one or two songs. This happened a lot more with the bigger artist [The Weeknd],” Genin said.
Because some people who attend concerts are not super fans of the artist or band, they may not know all the songs. However, some concert goers have had some experiences where people that do not know the songs as well as some other people at the concert may judge them for singing along.
“There are people around us that kind of just sung the popular songs but then judged us for singing all of the other songs very loudly. I think that it is fine to go to a concert if you only know a couple songs. But they were judging my sisters and I for enjoying the concert and that is where I kind of have an issue,” Genin said.
Another key difference in concert culture is that people who attend concerts regularly have also said that they notice that there are more “extreme” fans that will go to lengths to ensure that they get the best concert experience possible.
“I also think that people are more inclined to camp out for GA [general admission] to get as close as possible compared to before COVID-19. My friend and I had to wait for over 8 hours to get remotely close to the stage when we saw the 1975 where [as] before I don’t think this was a problem,” Kelly said.
Some concertgoers feel as though a portion of people are going with the wrong intentions.
“I feel like there is a sort of a status that comes with coming to see someone in concert… Taylor Swift for example, it is almost more valuable to say that you purchased the ticket [to the concert] than actually going to the concert,” Genin said.
While there are many positive and negative ways concert culture has changed over the course of COVID-19, we definitely know that we are living in a different post pandemic world, even with concerts.
Vincent attends country music fest
In the summer of 2022 senior Kaitlyn Vincent attended Windy City Smokeout which is a four day country music festival in the parking lot of the United Center. Performances from Zach Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Tim McGraw and some other big named country music stars.
Vincent has always been a country music fan but this was her first time attending the festival.
“When you are at a concert you get to feed off the crowd more so you have more energy rather than just listening to it on your phone. Also the artists are so much more personable and you are able to feel the artist’s energy. The artists are also able to make eye contact and interact with their fans and it makes it a more fun and personable feeling between the artist and the crowd,” Vincent said.
Vincent’s positive concert experience makes her want to go back next summer.
Young the Giants impacts Traugott
On October 27th, 2022 senior Joshua Traugott had the time of his life when seeing the band Young the Giant perform live at the Aragon Ballroom concert venue.
Music can have a tremendous impact on people’s lives, and the connections that they have with others, and for Traugott the band Young the Giant did just that.
“Young the Giant is a comfort band for me, providing a safe place when I’m alone, strengthening my bond with family and letting me have the time of my life when seeing them live in concert. I was introduced to the rock band by my uncle when he took my mom to see them perform at Northerly Island, Chicago. Ever since then, we’ve been connected even more than before through music; listening to Young the Giant and other bands similar to them,” Traugott said.