Whether it’s screeching lyrics out loud, impolitely queuing, or—in extreme cases—throwing things at artists to catch their attention, fans and concertgoers have started to notice concerning behavior trends in younger audiences at live music shows.
Concert attendance is trending upward: In 2022, Live Nation’s ticket sales earned a record-breaking gross total of $6.28 billion. But some older fans believe social media is at fault for the death of live music etiquette.
“It came to my attention, after one of my videos went viral, that people don’t know how to behave at concerts,” 26-year-old Toronto-based content creator Mallory Thompson (@supmallory) said in a May 23 TikTok.
The creator has made a series of videos teaching younger or unfamiliar audiences the basics of concert etiquette, or how to behave at concerts. She was drawn to create this type of content after noticing a shift in crowd behavior at shows post-pandemic.
“I think the audiences that are attending [concerts] are a lot different,” she told the Daily Dot.
In the past month, strange and concerning stage interactions have swarmed the internet news cycle.
In early July, a video taken by a concert attendee surfaced showed Harry Styles getting hit in the face with a flying object during his tour stop in Vienna.
Earlier that week, another viral video showed a concertgoer throwing a phone onstage while Drake performed in Chicago. In Sweden, Lil Nas X was surprised by a sex toy thrown onstage, as a video shared by fan accounts on Twitter showed.
“People throwing things at artists is just gonna get things banned at those venues,” Thompson told the Daily Dot. “It’s a level of safety I think that not everybody considers, but it ruins the experience for everyone else… There’s better ways to get an artist to notice you.”
“It’s been getting out of control,” TikTok user @annabelleraquelknott said in a video about the recent trend.
“It’s going to get to the point that they’ll either never have concerts again or create a net or something to protect the artist on stage,” a commenter wrote under the video.
The two latest incidents come after a wave of reactions on and off social media from celebrities and fans regarding poor concert etiquette.
Singer-songwriter Charlie Puth tweeted about his concern regarding the trend.
“This trend of throwing things at performers while they are on stage must come to an end,” he wrote. “It’s so disrespectful and very dangerous. Please just enjoy the music I beg of you…”
At a Las Vegas concert, Adele also addressed the trend and jokingly dared concertgoers to throw things at her.
“Have you noticed how people are like forgetting fucking show etiquette at the moment? People just throwing shit onstage, have you seen them?” she told the crowd. “I fucking dare you. Dare you to throw something at me, and I’ll fucking kill you.”
This week at the Barbie premiere in Los Angeles, Billie Eilish and Finneas also spoke out against the trend, “It’s absolutely infuriating when you’re up there,” Eilish told the Hollywood Reporter.
“Don’t do it—we get it but don’t do it,” Finneas added.
At her June shows in London, Pink famously received a wheel of brie from an attending fan and a plastic bag full of the ashes of another fan’s mom, videos from concertgoers show. About the latter, the singer said she “didn’t know how to feel about it” while onstage.
At a tour stop in Boise, Idaho, Kelsea Ballerini was hit in the face by a bracelet thrown by a fan, causing her to stop performing. The video poster commented that her band stopped playing maybe 30 seconds after the singer was hit.
That same week, a fan ran onstage at an Ava Max concert in Los Angeles and hit the singer in the face. The injury “scratched the inside of [her] eye,” the singer tweeted the day after the incident.
Less than a week prior, Bebe Rexha was injured by a flying phone. The fan who threw it “thought it would be funny” to hit the singer at her June 18 show in New York City.
The singer posted her bruises on social media, inciting reactions from fans online.
“What is WRONG with people?!” one Twitter user wrote.
Nicolas Malvagna, the 27-year-old man who threw the phone at the singer, was arrested and charged with multiple counts of assault and aggravated harassment after the incident.
Thompson believes the trend of fans throwing things onstage or shouting things at artists comes from a place of wanting to get noticed by the performers.
“TikTok specifically, I think, has amplified a lot of artists, and it’s been a really great platform for music discovery,” she told the Daily Dot. “But I think it’s also created a lot of FOMO for people, where they feel the need to be at the front and getting the best video content or getting the best experience.”
Concertgoers have also received backlash for excessively screeching at shows to the point where other fans struggle to hear the performing artists.
“She totally thought Billie would hear her and pass her the mic and she’d have her moment,” a commenter wrote.
“Concerts should have unwritten rules,” another added.
Beyond basic concert etiquette, some fans have been criticized for shouting disrespectful things at artists.
One viral example came last year at a Clairo concert where a fan shouted, “You’re so hot!” at her after the singer-songwriter performed Blouse, a song about feeling sexualized.
“Like, if I scream loud enough, the artists will notice me; if I say cruel things, the artist will notice me. I don’t think that’s the right way to get artists’ attention,” Thompson said. “Everybody should be able to enjoy that experience and have their personal space respected.”