In Kingston upon Thames final week, a bunch of teenage ladies lay on the ground in sleeping luggage and swathed in blankets in sub-zero temperatures. To the common passer-by, they could have appeared homeless. However those that noticed the music venue a couple of yards away would have realized they have been tenting for a gig.
They have been braving the chilly to get to the entrance row of one among three sold-out, intimate gigs by former One Path member Louis Tomlinson. However the group made headlines after the native file store Banquet Information, the present’s promoter, despatched them to the again of the queue the subsequent morning, having warned that queuing in a single day in freezing climate wouldn’t be allowed.
Whereas some noticed this as “punishing” passionate followers searching for an area on the entrance, others praised the store for tackling “excessive” queuing behaviour. Tenting out to safe your spot on the entrance row is conventional fan behaviour, however post-pandemic, queues have gotten longer as younger music lovers hanker to take advantage of in-person experiences.
Banquet’s actions, in addition to tales about TikTok perpetuating “poisonous” queuing tradition and “stan” Twitter making reveals much less protected – along with heightened consciousness of safety round reside music following the Astroworld catastrophe and lack of life at Asake’s latest London present – have raised questions on whether or not tenting at gigs ought to proceed.
“It wasn’t towards tenting tradition – it was particularly towards tenting tradition in minus 4 levels,” says Jon Tolley, who runs Banquet. “We placed on 300 gigs a yr and a few are huge names who appeal to individuals who camp. I’ve seen the camaraderie and I see how enjoyable it’s, however there should be repercussions. Safeguarding is essential.
“We’re a model and if individuals cannot belief us, they’re going to go some place else. That is not solely prospects, it is also artists.”
These measures appear logical – but few venues and promoters implement guidelines round queuing in a single day, or typically for days. Angelo Franklin, operations director at London-based Triangle Safety, says managing queues is “very a lot venue-dependent”.
“It is probably not doable to implement any [rules] early on as a result of we now have no authority. The individuals queuing typically should not have tickets but, to allow them to declare they’re simply hanging round.” To make sure security, Franklin and his crew de él analysis an occasion on-line upfront to gauge queue sizes.
Conserving an “orderly queuing system” is a problem, he provides – though many followers are likely to handle this themselves – along with “making certain there are not any queue jumpers or followers harassed by ticket touts.”
With a lot at stake – harmful circumstances, excessive climate, competitors from others – is “operation barrier”, because the mission to make the entrance row is thought, actually value it? “You type a bond with individuals round you, you sing songs and play video games and it hypes you up for the gig,” says Manuela Biondi from Rome, who arrived at 8am to see Louis Tomlinson in Kingston.
One Tomlinson fan, Jaz David, spent 9 days queuing for his present in Spain this yr. “I do it primarily for the view however tenting for the present will be simply as enjoyable, if no more so, than the present itself. That is the place I’ve met most of my mates.”
The connections that type when queuing are an plain draw for followers. As Hannah Ewens observes of the group amongst strangers in a single such queue in her e book Fangirls: Scenes from Trendy Music Tradition: “The ready connects the private and non-private elements of fandom.”
The proximity to artists can also be engaging. “The one factor between you and the artist is the barricade,” says Michelle Evangelista, a New York Metropolis-based fan who spent her teenage years queuing to see One Path.
Yumie Regatieri from Milton Keynes as soon as spent 12 hours in line to see Lorde: “When you’re first row the prospect of interacting with the artists is greater and completely well worth the queuing.”
However tenting will be cumbersome to safety and venue workers who usually work irregular hours to watch queues or choose up after followers who depart behind litter and discarded tenting gear. It additionally creates inequality amongst gig-goers, Biondi admits: “In the event you queue actually early, you take away the prospect for another person to be on the entrance who has college or work and can’t merely lose a lot of days queuing.”
Even for individuals who do it, tenting is admittedly “nerve-racking and exhausting”, says Carolina Cuellar, who as soon as traveled from Mexico Metropolis for a 32-hour wait to see Muse in London. “You get chilly, you sleep uncomfortably and by the point the gig begins you are so drained.”
Although music followers stay divided about tenting tradition, most welcome higher and extra constant regulation of queues to make sure a good fan expertise. “I’d find it irresistible if all venues had a wristband system that means that you can depart and are available again when the doorways open together with your quantity,” says Cuellar. “I appreciated what Banquet did: it was an effective way to point out that individuals should observe the principles.”