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Music

An Open Letter to Music Fans

Posted by Sisi / November 14, 2008

20081114_crowd.jpgPhoto: "W.A.S. / Art Brut / Spinto Band @ La Tulipe," by Midnight Poutine Flickr pooler Nika.

Every concert-goer has a pet peeve. Whether it's the horde of suburban teenagers in the front row singing the lyrics to every song or the fraternity douchebags sloshing their drinks all over you, there's usually a point where you shake your head and mutter to a friend. Granted, it's annoying. But these are things to be expected at a concert and, in the end, life goes on.

There is, however, a breaking point. Yesterday, my roommate got trampled during Girl Talk. She was knocked down as people mobbed the stage, bottlenecking through an improvised staircase that she happened to be standing near. The two friends that she was with tried to help her up, but repeatedly got pushed back by the surging crowd.

My roommate tried to reach out to them, but gave up in favour of protecting herself. She lay in a ball as people stepped all over her: on her wrists, on her ankles, on her fucking face. In the process, her purse was ripped from its strap and lost in the crowd. Inside were her bank card, Opus card, passport, money, glasses, and Vancouver medicare card.

Eventually, after a full minute on the ground, someone helped her up. Operating on pure adrenaline, she stumbled around for a bit, then made a beeline for the exit. Realizing that she'd lost her ticket, she described her jacket to one of the coat check personnel. Luckily, he was kind enough to help her find her stuff. She found her cell phone in one of the pockets and called home.

My boyfriend and I had already gone to bed when we heard her boyfriend, who was over and waiting up for her, call out to us. Due to some freak coincidence, we had a car at our disposal last night. We drove across town to find her alone and crying in front of an apartment building.

Which brings me to the question: What the fuck? What is it with the lack of concern for others? Is it so important to dance with Girl Talk that you can't take the time to help someone up? No one's going to convince me that you don't notice when you're stepping on someone's face. At some point, it's not just fun and games anymore.

By no stretch of the imagination is my roommate a small person. She's 5'10, solidly built, and pretty damn fierce. At Justice, I saw her slug a guy who cupped her ass and had the bad luck of saying something obscene at the same time. At Chromeo, she spoke up for a complete stranger after a pair of harpies bogarted their way to the front. How is it that this person was so humiliated last night?

My suggestion to Metropolis: Beef up security for bigger shows. Apparently, the reason why security guards didn't help her up is because their attention was stretched too thin stemming the influx of people wanting to get onstage. I don't blame them, but I do blame the venue for doing such a shit job of ensuring everyone's safety.

As for everyone else, I urge you to remember that concerts aren't just about music. They're about coming together and having a good time, which entails a basic level of respect for people. Next time a mob gets going, keep an eye out for your peers. Don't let anyone get dragged down into the mud lest things go too far one day.

Discussion

25 Comments

Jeff / November 14, 2008 at 04:46 pm
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OMG,,, thats nuts. although i feel that even with more security, when a mob gets going it goes.. people are stupid crazy..

Lee_D / November 14, 2008 at 05:09 pm
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Yeah it was ridiculous. I got pushed down the stairs in COAT CHECK. What the fuck.

I would hesitate to blame individuals. It would have been the people behind her that pushed over her, not the people right around her.

Metropolis clearly did not had have enough security at the front. I was on the stage so I had a pretty good view of things.

Also, mostly important, people are idiots in crowds.
ice_queeb / November 14, 2008 at 05:51 pm
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I was there last night as well and people were just ridiculous. It's a dance party, not a mosh pit. I spent most of my time dodging people who were just shoving their way through the crowd, not giving a shit that there was someone trying to enjoy the music right in front of them. In hindsight, I should have probably stayed near the bar.
Ouch / November 14, 2008 at 08:09 pm
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Being said roommate, if anyone picked up a small black h&m purse with said materials, let me know. You can keep the 20 bucks inside, if it's worth it.

But seriously... if anyone found my stuff let me know.

I can be reached at taliamsmith@gmail.com
Sarah / November 14, 2008 at 08:48 pm
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Holy shit.
Getting your purse stolen after all that is "la cerise sur le sunday".

Fuckin stupid people! I hope you find your purse.
lk / November 15, 2008 at 12:38 am
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yeah, metropolis really does need to step it up a notch. a great venue, but it seems to attract all sorts of terrible crowds. of montreal a few weeks ago was nuts, there were so many people on so many mind altering substances flailing around and hitting/humping people with their aggressive dancing. it was almost unbearable.

it's sad that people have such a selfish vision of concert experience that they are so disrespectful of the people around them...i think they have forgotten that the concert is actually a communal appreciation of artists.
lk / November 15, 2008 at 12:40 am
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p.s. i'm somehow sure it's not the people reading this awesome blog that are the problem at these shows...
MRT / November 15, 2008 at 06:15 am
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You know, I hate to say it because I'm all about the unique live concert experience, but part of the responsibility for ensuring a safe and fun concert falls on the artist.

I know GT is all about getting a portion of the audience huddling around the laptop and joining in on stage, but unfortunately when venue staff is unprepared for people going apeshit something like this happens.
Anon / November 15, 2008 at 03:50 pm
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This and the complaints about Matt and Kim annoyed me. You should know what you're getting into at these types of shows. If you're not in the mood to get pushed around and are unable to fight back don't stand in a vulnerable position. It's an example of majority rules- if you can't run with the crowd, don't get up in their space. Also, this girl was probably pretty drunk and not thinking too rationally.
anon / November 15, 2008 at 06:41 pm
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I'm sorry but venue organisers need to be more responsible for crowd control, they should have known that a mad rush would occur to get onto the stage, up a tiny stair case, the railings of which were torn off in the process!

Yes i agree that it is personal responsibility at any concert event. Whether its GT, Cradle of Filth or the Wiggles. But this isn't the issue of the Blog, its about looking out for vulnerable people, does the previous poster suggest small or short people should keep the fuck out of shows? Or just because the herd starts charging you should act like a fuckwit and do the same?
Sarah / November 16, 2008 at 03:30 am
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Anon, seriously?!!!
Getting pushed around a little bit is one thing. Getting stepped on your face, trampled and purse stolen on top of it all is a fuckin outrage.
How inconsiderate to call this out on HER fault!!
Step on someone's face and tell me you don't notice. Steal a purse off a girl's shoulder at a show and tell me you didn't see her on the floor trying to hold on to it.
NO ONE SHOULD HAVE TO GO THROUGH THIS! That's the fuckin point.

You may be annoyed, but this is a message that needs to be out and passed around so bear with us so we try to pass a cautionary word around. Shows don't HAVE to be this way and media attention is important when shit like this happens.
Le / November 16, 2008 at 03:38 am
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This is why I stick to classical music.

Hope Talia is okay. A friend of mine had a similar experience at Christmas mass one time.
apetimberlake / November 16, 2008 at 10:18 am
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Its funny.
I am from Montreal and used to go to many of punk concerts. Lagwagon, Strung out, NOFX etc.

I used to remember how bad it would get with trampling and feeling so squished that you think your eye balls are going to pop out.

If someone has a serious injury at one of these places and that person sue's shit is going to hit the fan.
Jenny / November 17, 2008 at 10:41 pm
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Oh wow, Sisi. That's fucking terrible. Give us a progress report: any news on the purse? Is she feeling better?

Seriously though, children. What's with the idiotic behaviour at concerts? My friend and I went to see Justice a few weeks ago - I felt like I had fought World War III by the end of the night. Some drunken idiot stepped on me so hard that I now have a broken toe. It's wonderful. ... About 3 years ago I nearly died at a show at the Metropolis. My friends and I were pushed towards the front and pressed against the bars so hard that I thought I'd end up with a broken rib cage. A security guard fished me out of there and I spent the rest of the show in the back, separated from my friends.

Please, people. What happened to the love?
khm / November 18, 2008 at 12:22 pm
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"...does the previous poster suggest small or short people should keep the fuck out of shows? "

Next thing you know people will be whining about how it's unfair to the pygmies and handicaps.

Use your judgment, if you are too small for a crowd, enjoy the show from the back of the venue. Bring a milk crate if you have to.

Just as tall people should stay away from the McDonald playgrounds - being stuck at the bottom of a tube slide while kids trample your face is no laughing matter.
Sisi / November 19, 2008 at 02:34 pm
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Hey all, I'd just like to update you on Talia's situation. For one, she's doing well.

All in all, she recovered fast. Although shaken, she has just a few bruises to show for the night. One of her friends found her passport the night of the show and is holding it for her. Talia was supposed to meet with her today to retrieve it. From there on, she can get a new debit card from the bank. The balance on the Opus card is transferable in case of loss, so kudos to the STM there.

She sent an e-mail to the Metropolis the day after, but still no answer so far. No one's turned in anything else.

Thanks all for the comments and most for the support. It's greatly appreciated.
Sergei Kostitsyn / November 19, 2008 at 03:26 pm
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God dammit, I knew I`d regret not going to that show
Kristen / November 26, 2008 at 04:14 am
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I wholesomely concur. I yearn for the days (when I was simply a twinkle in my mother's eye) where Robert Plant led excitement and frenzy in the crowd amidst (gasp!) a circle of individuals sitting down (a la style indienne). Hate to quote an infamous serial killer, but "Such is Life (in today's electro concert scene".
Koivu / November 30, 2008 at 03:51 am
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The secret? Going to concerts where people have the common sense not to trample each other. Expect that treatment in all cases otherwise.
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