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Joyce Manor And Lady Gaga Have Stopped Shows Because Of The Crowd – But Should They Have To?

Stage diving, crowd surfing and violence are an unavoidable part of live concerts, but do they have to be? Joyce Manor, Lady Gaga and more are making a stand.

Credit: Promo

Source: Promo

At a recent show supporting their new album Never Hungover Again, Joyce Manor frontman Barry Johnson stopped the band mid-song to call out a guy who was stage diving. You can check out of the incident in the video below (at the one minute mark).

‘How tall are you? How much do you weigh, if you don’t mind me asking?’ Johnson asks the stage diver, before turning to a girl in the crowd. ‘You’re much smaller than him, right? It’s completely unacceptable for him to impose himself on top of you. Completely unacceptable, right? Under no circumstances is that acceptable.’

With a second video surfacing of the band taking issue with stage diving, it’s obvious that every one with an internet connection (us included) has an opinion on this – and Johnson took to the band’s twitter to explain himself further:

Now this raises a whole load of questions – Should this guy have been allowed to stage dive? Was Johnson right for calling him out? And who exactly is responsible for crowd safety at shows?

The world of punk, rock and metal is littered with examples of bands having to deal with the effects of people getting hurt or acting inappropriately at shows. There’s a widespread video of a Foo Fighters performance at the iTunes Festival in 2011 when Dave Grohl stopped a song to kick someone out of the show for fighting. Last year, while playing on the Warped Tour, Bring Me The Horizon front man Oli Sykes tweeted that he was no longer able to incite moshing of any kind because parents had tried to sue after their kids had been injured on the tour.

Outside of the rock world, Lady Gaga had to stop a fight this week over a jacket she threw into the crowd, demanding that the guilty parties give it back, while last year at Reading Festival, Chase and Status asked fans to take a step back as the arena filled up in anticipation of Eminem’s headline set. So is the artist really the one responsible for stopping these incidents? Is it fair for the show to be stopped because of it?

The answer is simple and pretty obvious really – no. There’s obviously security who can break up a fight if it occurs, but the number one thing that should regulate crowd behaviour is the crowd itself.

There’s always a few people who think that they’re entitled to get as drunk as they can and do whatever they want. They excuse it as feeling the music and experiencing a show – ‘if you don’t like it, don’t go’ – but it’s not good enough. Every music fan should be able to go to a show without feeling threatened or unsafe. Everyone has an equal right to be there and feel comfortable. The rules of respecting others don’t change just because there’s a band playing.

The artists shouldn’t have to get involved, but we appreciate those who do. We appreciate them making a stand and letting people know that their behaviour is unacceptable. Sure, we all like to see people move and have some fun – but is it time that we draw a line?

No one wants to see a list of rules drawn up to say what we can and can’t do at a show, that’s not what rock music is about, but it is about respect and looking out for each other. It’s just a shame some people forget that when they walk through the venue doors.

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