When you go to a concert, you shouldn't have to worry about anything except enjoying the music. It doesn't matter if it's a stadium-filling pop spectacle or a smaller club show at a venue your friends go to every weekend. No one deserves to be harassed in any way in that music-rooted sacred space.
And yet, it happens all too often. Even with essays like this written a few times per year (or more) to draw attention to the problem, instances of harassment and abuse still occur right in the middle of the crowds, perpetrated by fellow concertgoers and, troublingly, sometimes even from the artists themselves.
But here's where it gets good. Massachusetts rock band Speedy Ortiz are about to hit the road to tour behind a new album, and to make sure their fans feel safe and supported at their shows, they've set up a hotline to call (or text, or email) in case of emergency.
"We believe that as a concertgoer, you have a right to an inclusive, welcoming performance space," the band wrote in a statement on Facebook. "Harassment and intolerance will not be permitted at tonight's show or other Speedy Ortiz shows. Prejudicial, oppressive language and aggressive behaviors of any kind are unacceptable to us. This includes, but is not limited to: racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism & all other oppressive and marginalizing actions and microaggressions."
If fans at a Speedy show are feeling unsafe, they can text (574) 404-SAFE or send an iMessage or email to email@example.com -- and the band has vowed to "work with venue security and do our best to get you out of harm's way."
The message concludes with a bit of concert etiquette that everyone -- even folks who've been to hundreds of shows throughout the years -- would benefit from being reminded of: "[T]aller people, let shorter folks up to the front so they can see the show! Keep your shirts on! Look out for each other's comfort."
Speedy singer Sadie Dupuis tweeted out a few messages of love to spread awareness of the hotline.