Let’s talk performance etiquette


Courtesy of Ashlynne Amundson – Morgan Wallen kicks off his One Night At A Time Tour at American Family Field with back-to-back nights April 14 & 15.

Mattie Beck, Arts & Entertainment Editor

Concerts have been a big deal in post-COVID-19 life, with many people attending at least one concert yearly.

From concerts to music festivals, people attend concerts to see their favorite artists or just to experience hearing live music. 

When entering a venue, people are usually held to standards such as respecting the artist and their time, but what is the etiquette of the artist performing?

Over the past few weeks, many artists performing live have caused issues with their concerts and how they act at them.

The biggest example in recent media is country artist Morgan Wallen canceling his concert on Sunday evening after his two openers, country artists Hardy, Ernest and Nate Smith, performed.

The manner in which the concert was canceled has been criticized, with a message appearing on the big screens above the stage that read:

“Ladies and gentlemen, unfortunately, Morgan has lost his voice and is unable to perform tonight – therefore, the show has been canceled. Please make your way safely to the stadium exits. Refunds for tonight will be available at point of purchase beginning tomorrow.”

Concertgoers were forced to leave the stadium after watching two openers perform, some people traveling from far and wide to see the show. 

People were angry and confused, some even spreading rumors that Wallen was too drunk to perform.

Another example of bad concert etiquette from an artist is Frank Ocean’s performance at Coachella on April 16, his first concert in six years. 

Ocean headlined the night, yet his performance was anything but headline-worthy. 

The first criticism of his performance came from him starting his festival-closing performance an hour late, and performing most of his concert from backstage with a camera projecting his image on a screen. 

He also went over the time he was supposed to perform, ending the show after he was told he went over curfew.

Ocean is said to have had an ankle injury, which may have caused the interesting performance and the cancellation of sets later in the festival, but that is still unclear. 

Either way, fans didn’t get the experience they were expecting when attending his show, similar to Wallen’s canceled performance. 

With all of this said, what does that mean for artists and their concert etiquette?

Are they expected to hold up their end of the bargain for paid attendees and perform no matter what, even if it means a subpar show due to a lost voice? 

Is there too high of a standard set for musicians these days, or is it expected to treat them just like everyone else, meaning they can cancel their shows at will due to illness?

In the case of Ocean, what is the standard for concerts and artists to perform with an injury? 

Recently, Taylor Swift got a deep cut on her hand after falling backstage pre-show but still performed an entire concert after that. 

That being said, should Ocean be held responsible for a bad show even with injury because someone else was able to perform? Although he did start his set late which is unrelated to injury.

With people who attend concerts held to etiquette standards when they enter a concert venue, should artists also be held to etiquette standards? 

Personally, I think that artists are expected to have a standard of human decency when holding their concerts.

Starting a concert an hour late after people paid a lot of money and even traveled far to be there is plain-out rude and disrespectful. Canceling a concert after openers perform is not cool.

Artists should be held accountable and to some etiquette standards, especially when it comes to their devoted fans.