Next time you are at a concert, look out into a crowd and what do you see? Phones across the iPhone and Android spectrum replacing the faces of the audience. Every person is desperate to be the first to add to their Snapchat or Instagram story to show what a fantastic time they are having. Are they really having a good time, or just feeding the ever-growing phenomenon for fear of missing out?
Performers ranging from bands, solo acts and even comedians are banning cell phones or any kind of recording equipment at their gigs. Jack White, former lead singer of the band “White Stripes,” is following in singer Alicia Keys and comedian Dave Chappelle’s footsteps, announcing that his upcoming live shows will be a phone-free zone with no other video or audio recording devices allowed.
With no set list, White feeds off the crowd’s energy. But if the audience has a phone in hand, it hinders him from doing so, appearing unresponsive.
“We think you’ll enjoy looking up from your gadgets for a little while and experience music and our shared love for it in person” White’s tour release statement said.
As the attendees trickle into the venue, personnel lock their phones or other recording gadgets in a Yondr pouch. Magnetic and personal, individuals keep possession of their phone at all times, and visit an unlocking dock away from the stage to use their phones. White still acknowledges the want some have for a quality social media post and stated that his official tour photographer will post any photos or videos on White’s official website and various social media accounts for his fans’ reposting opportunities.
According to Ticketfly, 31 percent of adults ages 18-34 are using their phones during half an event or longer. Also, 35 percent of women in that same age group are more likely to use their phones to share their experiences during the event via social media apps; compared to 22 percent of men.
This brings up the increasing phone and social media attachment people are experiencing today. Even walking down the street, people cannot seem to put their phones down; it is like the phone is permanently glued to their hand with a thumb constantly scrolling.
Today, our society is becoming more connected to their phones and not others and the world around them. People are so busy trying to capture the coolest moment for their Instagram that they end up missing out on the feeling of being enraptured by the moment itself.
Comedian Chris Rock shares White’s opinions on phone banning during gigs. For his recent tour, Total Blackout, he asked fans to lock their phones in the same Yondr pouches until the end of the show. Both Rock and White believe phones and recording devices are an intrusion and sense a disconnect with the audience.
Rock’s decision ignited a debate on the issue of the audience’s safety; how would they contact a loved one in case of emergency?
With some of his shows being held in the Manchester Arena, the lack of communication concerns some people in case of a terrorist attack, due to the unfortunate tragedy last May during Ariana Grande’s concert leaving 12 dead. Nowadays, phones are the only way to get ahold of someone, leaving parents concerned about the cut off of communication between them and their children.
The issue of more waiting times to lock and unlock phones has also been a point of frustration for fans.
After attending Rock’s show, singer Amy Macdonald sided with the comedian, tweeting it was a, “Refreshing experience not to see 10,000 phones and people actually talking to each other.”
However, White is offering his concertgoers designated phone checking areas in the concourse or lobby if they need to make a call or feel the need to catch up on their notifications. It is likely that more phone checking areas will start to pop up when the phone-free gig frenzy gains more ground.
Instead of paying a couple hundred dollars to view the gig through your phone, these artists are giving you the opportunity to ditch the phone and embrace the moment.