It’s Thursday night and we have a show. Backstage, the artists and I are huddled by Scott our Stage Manager on com with Jack, our House Manager. “Were holding for 10 minutes” he says. We wait. “we’re holding for 5 minutes,” he says again. We’re waiting for the audience to load.
Why the wait? Was the house not open on time? No, we were waiting for people to finish picking up or purchasing their tickets, and finish catching up with friends.
Why? Because a concert is a shared experience.
Is this fair to our patrons who come on time, sit in their seats and then have to wait? Absolutely not.
But concerts are about everyone there. It is a shared experience and one of the last few positive reasons to gather we have.
Concert-going is learned. Some patrons are veteran attendees: They know where and how to purchase tickets ahead of time. They know when to arrive, when to sit down. They might even know not to wear perfume and understand that if they raise their cell phones, the light bounces off the eyes of the people sitting behind them, blinding them and blocking their view. Good concert behavior is not about tradition, etiquette or anything other than consideration for others. It requires tolerance and thoughtfulness.
Not every patron at every concert is going to know this and we rely on first time attendees to attend and hopefully return. Otherwise, no more concerts.
Some events are for the veteran attendee; some attract new patrons. We want to be an organization that serves the whole of the community.
We know deeply that music has the power to break down cultural and social barriers, tear down walls and provide refuge for people battered by events of our time. We also know that we can bring people together, offer uplifting experiences which unite those attending and then spread out through our community. As an organization we are committed to presenting for a young and diverse audience. We are dedicated to taking some cultural and artistic risks with our programming and hope that they will be successful, even though by its very nature art is subjective.
So please understand that not everything is under our control. Not the volume in the hall, which is set by the artists, and not when we start. That’s set by you.
Come in… sit down.