Music fans are an interesting bunch. You could pick a random concert and think you know who might show up, but it could be the complete opposite. Over the last 5 years or so I’ve seen my fair share of concerts and have grown up watching from varying vantage points of the venue. At the front of the crowd, you feel the energy of everyone behind you and feel that direct connection with whomever is on stage. In the photo pit it’s mostly business and though you feel a similar energy to being at the front of the crowd (since that’s where the photo pit is) you feel more like a fly on the wall getting to watch the interaction between musician and fan. From the side of the stage, you can look out and see everyone’s direct reaction. Being mixed into the crowd provides that unique feeling of being part of something bigger than yourself. Lately, I’ve been a fan of being towards the back, upstairs when the venue has it, to watch the crowd and see the bigger picture.
Recently, I’ve been to a few concerts with friends where we got our tickets though summer internships with venues or tour promoters. Because of this, we are mixed in with the ‘music business folk’ when we go into the VIP area. Though this seems like a cool thing, and it is, it also amplifies the stereotype that most 12-25 year-old females are slapped with. The idea of a ‘fangirl’ has developed even in the 5 years that I have been regularly going to shows. Where it once was mild obsession, it has become a group of people who wait for hours and sometimes days outside of a venue to be front row. Girls will dress a certain way and make signs with sometimes obscene phrases simply to get noticed for a few minutes. I’ve read a few articles attributing this to changing hormones and the like, and in reality it makes sense. Making a band member the subject of ones affection is a ‘safe’ place to channel those new emotions. At the same time, this is something that I personally have never quite understood. Maybe it’s because at the time most people were starting to partake in ‘fangirl’ behavior, I was sitting down to have a 15 or 30 minute conversation with these same people.
Fans are obviously an integral part of an artist’s career because without them, the career would have no funding and therefore cease to exist for the most part. But at the same time, these so called super fans have created a stereotype for young women attending concerts who want to or already work in the industry. It’s a hard mold to break and one that forces you to watch every comment you make and every social media post you share.
Simply thinking out loud.