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Old 07-09-2015, 10:17 AM   #1
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Down in front!

We were at a local outdoor concert, probably 800-1000 attendees in a park with folding chairs or blankets. Before the concert most were standing talking/socializing or just milling around/networking, as expected. When the band started, everyone sat down EXCEPT about 15 people (couples & singles) a few rows in front of us just off center, about 2/3rds of our section of the crowd was behind them. DW got irritated, but I told her 'be patient, they'll remember their manners or get tired and sit.' After more than 20 minutes she said 'I'm going to go say something to them.'

She did, and 2-3 guys felt bad but didn't want to sit, so they moved to the side edge of the crowd and stayed there - great! But there were still about a dozen standing. She came back and said 'they said they'd talk it over,' and also 'they're already wasted.'

They didn't sit, and most of them were socializing with each other, most not even facing the stage, some with their backs to the stage! After more than an hour standing, when intermission came DW said 'let's just go home.'

Before I became a curmudgeon I would have confronted them myself. These days it seems pointless, life's too short.
  • No one else who's view was blocked said anything, even the row right behind them!
  • It was music, we could hear, though it would have been nice to see the band too.
  • We could stand too, making us just as inconsiderate to those behind us.
  • We could move, but there was a capacity crowd by the time the music started. Like others we go early to get decent seats. Moving puts us all the way at the back if there's even space there.
  • If the 'socialites' didn't have the (common) courtesy (?) to sit, I have no illusion they'll learn courtesy at an apparent age of 40-50. [Also the reason I didn't say something sarcastic/polite when we were leaving, I would have 20 years ago.]
  • Confronting near drunks is probably less safe than it once was.

What would you have done? Maybe I am a wuss, and a curmudgeon.

[/rant]
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Old 07-09-2015, 10:21 AM   #2
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People keeps their mouths shut because they reasonably fear violence. We are getting to a point where public venues are often not much fun.

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Old 07-09-2015, 10:27 AM   #3
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The folks in the front row standing/talking socializing probably wasn't that much a fan of the band but just went there to socialize. That's similar to if you go to a Super Bowl party and some of the folks seating by the TV are their socializing instead of focusing on the game. IMO, nothing wrong with socializing, and having a good time, but not as a distraction to the more serious folks.

Of course, remember a time when whipping out a cell phone during a dinner was considered rude? Now, if you don't take a picture of the food to post, that's considered odd .
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Old 07-09-2015, 10:43 AM   #4
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A similar thing happened at my DD's graduation. Everyone in the auditorium was told to stay seated before the ceremony started. A few didn't and they were told "once" by security to take their seats, which most did. I did see a repeat offended escorted out. Problem solved.
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Old 07-09-2015, 10:46 AM   #5
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Did you pay to attend? You could have called on the ushers/ticket takers to deal with it or asked for your money back maybe. But that's a pretty informal atmosphere and you could still hear the music, right?

We had our sight line blocked by a tree last week at an outdoor performance, plus a guy leaning against the tree for 90 percent of the show. I think I was the only one in our party annoyed by it, but there were plenty of helpers roaming around that could have been beckoned by me to ask him to sit down on his blanket, but I let it go. The tree probably wouldn't have moved anyway.
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Old 07-09-2015, 10:55 AM   #6
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Oh boy, can I relate (unfortunately).

I almost started a similar post on our local concert in the park on Sunday July 5. A much smaller event than what you reported, an older crowd, 4PM, and little drinking. Despite how humble this all sounds, these were two world-class musicians (Howard Levy, considered by many to be the best jazz harmonica player alive today and is also a piano master, and Chris Seibold, currently guitarist with the Prairie Home Companion, and they always have top musicians).



We got there early, not knowing what to expect crowd/seating wise. Plenty of room, so we staked out our space 40 minutes ahead of show time, about 10 feet from anyone else, with a clear view of the stage, and went for a walk. Came back 15 minutes before show time, and ten minutes in, a couple park their chairs in front of us and block our view somewhat. Hmmmm, there was a lot of room between us and the people that were ahead of us, and we were able to shift around a little (being careful not to block anyone else's view behind us), so we just went with the flow.

Two minutes before show time, a group comes in and sits right in front of the people who about 10 feet to our side (and had set up a little after us), and the newcomers really squeezed in - they were clearly rude. There were plenty of other spaces for them to take a little further back. They actually turned around and asked the guy if they were blocking his view, and he said "well, my wife won't be able to see when she gets back". And the blocker said " Oh, here, I'll set my chair between the two of you, and you can see around me" (so the guy and his wife had to move their chairs 3 feet apart instead of sitting together)! I'm pretty sure I would have just asked the blockers to find a different place to sit.

And these newcomers started packing up during the encore, talking and making noise as they did so, blocking more people's view and disrupting those who were trying to enjoy the show. Hmmmm, come late, leave early, but they think they deserve better seats than everyone else!

That didn't really affect us so much, other than just being generally upsetting and spoiling the great mood I get from great performers. But worse for us, as soon as the music started, (and Levy opened with the Star Spangled Banner, being Independence day w/e), the people sitting 15 feet behind us just started to carry on a conversation (during the National Anthem, no less!), and the two of them are sitting 5 feet from each other, so they have to speak loudly so they can hear each other over the music!

At first I hope it just stops, but no. I keep turning around trying to make eye contact, finally manage and have to 'shush' them and 'mouth' "we are listening to the MUSIC" with a stern look. Sheeesh, I had to catch BOTH of them before they pretty much stopped. There were a few others talking, but not as bad.

I do not understand people going out of their way to attend a concert, and then talking when these performers are up there playing their hearts out. It's a good thing I did not have a rocket launcher.

I spoke to the Emcee during intermission, he seemed truly concerned and empathetic, but he did not make any statement about respecting the musicians and audience when he did the announcements and re-introduction when the band returned. I was disappointed at that, and I think I will write the organization that puts on the events.

As much as love music and live performance, these rude people spoil it so much for me that it is struggle for me to get my mind in a 'happy place' and enjoy the show. In a weird way, this just seems like a symbol of the general public's lack of awareness, lack of concern, lack of empathy, lack of anything that would lead us to be a civilized society, these little things paint a larger picture to me that we are just doomed. I just figure these people approach all aspects of their life this way. And they get to vote!

It just makes me sad.

BTW, no, I would not approach drunks, or at least I should say it would not be a good idea. Better to talk to the security there, but good luck with that.

And no, I don't think we are being curmudgeons for thinking that performers and audiences deserve some respect. I really doubt their conversation was so important that it couldn't wait for the break, or after the concert, and if it was, they could excuse themselves to the side-lines to talk.

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Old 07-09-2015, 11:25 AM   #7
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Etiquette for outdoor performances is different, much less demanding, much lower standards. Without trying to oversimplify, you get what you pay for, which is usually very little (compared with a reserved seat) or nothing at all.

If there is an area set aaside for seating, it is reasonable to expect everyone to sit. Otherwise all attendees are free to stand or move around, talk, eat and drink as they wish, unless those things are specifically barred.

Ravinia, the largest outdoor venue in the US, has an area with reserved seating and a large adjacent lawn. In the lawn, it is mostly "anything goes", "no talking" rules are only in effect during Chicago Symphony Orchestra performances, and "no standing" rules in effect only when movies are the main feature.

DW and I attend a dozen outdoor performances each summer. They are always noisy and people do things that used to irritate, but we have learned to ignore and enjoy. We still get angry once in a while, especially when someone staggers through the middle of our carefully laid picnic set-up because they're too drunk to stay on the grass.

One final observation - poor public behaviour does not discriminate, it's practiced by people of all ages, colors, ethnic backgrounds and states of inebriation.
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Old 07-09-2015, 11:59 AM   #8
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Etiquette for outdoor performances is different, much less demanding, much lower standards. Without trying to oversimplify, you get what you pay for, which is usually very little (compared with a reserved seat) or nothing at all. ...
While I agree that this is the reality of the world we live in, I disagree that it should be considered acceptable.

Whether I am charged admission or not is independent of the idea that the performers, and the people who are there to listen to them deserve respect.

I can think of no valid reason for people to talk loud enough for me to hear them during a performance. They can talk somewhere else. It's just so simple to me - don't talk during a performance! The performers are on stage - not you!

BTW, they ask for donations and one volunteer walks through the crowd with a jar. I donated, and bought a CD - I wonder if any of the talkers did?

I'm not buying the 'you get what you pay for' line. I 'pay' by giving up my time to be there, driving to the event, making the arrangements etc. If they charged admission, I would have paid. I just see no reason for anything less than respect for the people who went out of their way to be there. I don;t see where 'free' lets anyone off the hook for anti-social behavior.

I guess what bugs me is, the more we accept this, the more of it we will get. I bet there are others that feel as I do, but just keep quiet (which might be a good survival instinct in some cases, like not confronting a drunk directly). We should all speak up, and demand better treatment.

I really love music so much, and am so uplifted when I'm in the presence of some of these great performers, it just makes me so sad to see the disrespect, it ruins it for me. And to say" don't go then", why shouldn't I be able to go to an event and enjoy it? I certainly won't object to those people going somewhere where they aren't bothering others, and talking all they want if that is what they want to do.

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Old 07-09-2015, 12:23 PM   #9
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I thought confrontation was a best practice for curmudgeons.

Any how, confrontation can become a dangerous thing to do in venues like that.
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Old 07-09-2015, 12:58 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
While I agree that this is the reality of the world we live in, I disagree that it should be considered acceptable.

Whether I am charged admission or not is independent of the idea that the performers, and the people who are there to listen to them deserve respect.

I can think of no valid reason for people to talk loud enough for me to hear them during a performance. They can talk somewhere else. It's just so simple to me - don't talk during a performance! The performers are on stage - not you!

BTW, they ask for donations and one volunteer walks through the crowd with a jar. I donated, and bought a CD - I wonder if any of the talkers did?

I'm not buying the 'you get what you pay for' line. I 'pay' by giving up my time to be there, driving to the event, making the arrangements etc. If they charged admission, I would have paid. I just see no reason for anything less than respect for the people who went out of their way to be there. I don;t see where 'free' lets anyone off the hook for anti-social behavior.

I guess what bugs me is, the more we accept this, the more of it we will get. I bet there are others that feel as I do, but just keep quiet (which might be a good survival instinct in some cases, like not confronting a drunk directly). We should all speak up, and demand better treatment.

I really love music so much, and am so uplifted when I'm in the presence of some of these great performers, it just makes me so sad to see the disrespect, it ruins it for me. And to say" don't go then", why shouldn't I be able to go to an event and enjoy it? I certainly won't object to those people going somewhere where they aren't bothering others, and talking all they want if that is what they want to do.

-ERD50
All well and good, but what's going to change those behaviors? Talk won't. Rose colored glasses...

In the good old days when a few in a crowd were being inconsiderate, the many others would quickly speak up, without fear of reprisal - IOW 'peer pressure' quickly put the few in line. The few were often apologetic, embarrassed.

Nowadays it seems we're entirely on our own, and reprisal is noticeably more unpredictable. The few very well might react strongly, violently - in having their behavior called into question, never mind the behavior itself.

I used to speak up, but I've grown tired of my fellow citizen others around me just accepting, even encouraging the inconsiderate few, looking away and sometimes even looking at me like I'm crazy to say anything. And it only made matters worse when the others later pulled me aside to say "I am glad you spoke up, I wouldn't have had the nerve..." I quit even suggesting if they spoke up themselves, the few might behave a little better.

WE get what we deserve...

There's another concert tonight DW and I are planning to attend. Maybe it will rain...
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Old 07-09-2015, 01:08 PM   #11
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All well and good, but what's going to change those behaviors? Talk won't. Rose colored glasses... ...
WE get what we deserve...
Well, I'm probably tilting at windmills, but I will write to the organization and see what response I get. I honestly think some words up front could make a difference here, it's a small 'crowd', less than 200 I'd guess.

The Emcee can just make a reminder announcement to silence cell phones, and please no talking during the performance out of respect to the performers and audience. If you need to talk or phone, please go outside the audience area.

I don't think that is extreme, and might just enter some people's brains who are otherwise oblivious to this.

I'd go a step further, and ask all audience members to report any violations to security, so those people can be asked to leave, but I suppose others would consider that 'extreme'. So I guess I'll keep my tazer suggestion to myself


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Old 07-09-2015, 01:08 PM   #12
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While I agree that this is the reality of the world we live in, I disagree that it should be considered acceptable.

...

-ERD50
There's a long way between what is acceptable and what should be acceptable. In so many things, society's norms determine what is okay and what is not.

I used to enjoy outdoor concerts more than indoors. There is something nice about seeing a show starting in daylight, then seeing the stars later on.

But because of the possible distractions discussed, now I prefer indoor shows. Plus, the older I get, the more I like air conditioning during a show .
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Old 07-09-2015, 01:17 PM   #13
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I used to speak up, ...And it only made matters worse when the others later pulled me aside to say "I am glad you spoke up, I wouldn't have had the nerve..." I quit even suggesting if they spoke up themselves, the few might behave a little better. ...
I guess I don't follow you here, why did it make matters worse if others supported you later? Maybe they were just a bit timid to do it themselves, but they appreciated that you did?

Why not encourage them to speak up?

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Old 07-09-2015, 01:21 PM   #14
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Etiquette for outdoor performances is different, much less demanding, much lower standards. Without trying to oversimplify, you get what you pay for, which is usually very little (compared with a reserved seat) or nothing at all.
Michael, I have to agree with ERD.

Overall, "lower standards" seem to be the norm whether inside, outside, high or low brow.

Whether at a concert, in a restaurant or just walking down the street, I'm constantly saddened by the lack of respect, self-respect and overall lack of basic manners on the part of so many.

IMO, we've turned into a nation of slobs who constantly take the easy way out regardless of who is in the way or offended. How else do you explain going to a funeral in a T shirt (with sexual innuendo on the front) as I've seen?

I'm not an old fuddy duddy (at least I don't think so). I've been around the block a few times; lived all over the world, but it just seems we've become so self absorbed, that not only are we not aware of others, we flat out don't care.

The dichotomy of course is that on the broader level, we are allowed to be highly offended by just about anything; but to demand a higher level of propriety seems to be the highest reason to take offence. "This is the most expensive restaurant in town...how dare the management ask me to take off my cruddy baseball hat!".

[Edit: "And get off my lawn!"]
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Old 07-09-2015, 01:24 PM   #15
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I guess I don't follow you here, why did it make matters worse if others supported you later? Maybe they were just a bit timid to do it themselves, but they appreciated that you did?

Why not encourage them to speak up?

-ERD50
Not saying people never speak up anymore, but it takes something pretty egregious nowadays it seems.

As I explained, peer pressure was IMO one essential difference between then and now. If most people just speak up, just join in once someone else takes the initiative to speak up, it's a lot harder/less likely for the few to object. It seems so few people will speak up nowadays, just emboldens the few.

Being told in private that they were glad I spoke up while sitting quietly in the moment even though they agreed borders on cowardly. WE get what WE deserve. I used to suggest they might speak up next time, but I've been let down enough times that I don't bother any more. YMMV

I still speak up, but I am not leading the charge anymore. Next time we're together in a crowd and you speak up, I speak up if I agree with you...
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Old 07-09-2015, 01:28 PM   #16
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As I explained, peer pressure was IMO one essential difference between then and now. If most people just speak up, just join in once someone else takes the initiative to speak up, it's a lot harder/less likely for the few to object. It seems so few people will speak up nowadays, just emboldens the few.

Not saying people never speak up anymore, but it takes something pretty egregious nowadays it seems.

Being told in private that they were glad I spoke up while sitting quietly in the moment even though they agreed borders on cowardly. WE get what WE deserve. I used to suggest they might speak up next time, but I've been let down enough times that I don't bother any more. YMMV
OK, thanks. I don't think I agree, but I better understand where you are coming from.

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Old 07-09-2015, 01:30 PM   #17
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OK, thanks. I don't think I agree, but I better understand where you are coming from.

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In your post #6 above, you moved your chairs, glared at talkers, and otherwise hoped the emcee would intevene? Did you speak to the offenders?
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Old 07-09-2015, 01:31 PM   #18
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This conversation reminds me of the ongoing debate about standing at college football games on my team's message board. There's a subset of fans that like to stand and cheer loudly for their team, especially on important plays like 3rd down. There's another set of older fans that like to sit the whole time and not have their view blocked.

Not sure what the answer is to either situation but I do know that people who stand at football games do feel strongly that it's their right to do so and that the people behind them should be standing and cheering too or at the very least not trying to impact how they want to enjoy the game.
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Old 07-09-2015, 01:34 PM   #19
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In your post #6 above, it seemed like you were pretty passive hoping the emcee would intervene?
No, I confronted the talkers - my post was long so you might have missed this:

Quote:
I keep turning around trying to make eye contact, finally manage and have to 'shush' them and 'mouth' "we are listening to the MUSIC" with a stern look. Sheeesh, I had to catch BOTH of them before they pretty much stopped. There were a few others talking, but not as bad.
I didn't confront the chair squatters, they really weren't affecting us that directly. Just a minor aggravation on top of the talkers.

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Old 07-09-2015, 01:34 PM   #20
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This conversation reminds me of the ongoing debate about standing at college football games on my team's message board. There's a subset of fans that like to stand and cheer loudly for their team, especially on important plays like 3rd down. There's another set of older fans that like to sit the whole time and not have their view blocked.

Not sure what the answer is to either situation but I do know that people who stand at football games do feel strongly that it's their right to do so and that the people behind them should be standing and cheering too or at the very least not trying to impact how they want to enjoy the game.
IMO it's one thing to stand periodically. It's another to block the view of many others at a concert for over an hour, while mostly ignoring the event. Furthermore, most stadiums I've been to have some slope making it hard to block more than a few rows. At the concert in question, the grounds were basically flat...
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