5 Things Venues Do That Might Need To Change.

By: Zach Micklea


The Problem:

I recently tweeted, “yo, venues. Stop charging higher covers to people that are under 21. I get the point, but it’s a form of discrimination,” and this is why I felt compelled to write this today. I have seen too many show flyers recently with, “$5 21+ / $8 18+,” printed on them.

This needs to stop.

Like I said, I fully understand the concept. The venue wants to make sure it does not lose too much money in bar sales due to an underage crowd. It makes sense from a business stand point, but it punishes concertgoers for something they cannot control.

Would you charge a child more for a candy bar at a gas station, because he or she will not be buying gas?

The Solution:

If your venue relies heavily on bar sales, which most do, bring in acts that draw primarily an older crowd.

If you want to stick with younger acts like us, do some market research and learn not only how to bring in older crowds, but develop new forms of income to market to the younger ones that attend.

No, I am not talking about price-gouging the pop.

But, maybe sell some t-shirts. If it’s possible, sell some food or snacks. The Flint Local 432 is a real role model in this sense.

Remember, it is the venue’s job to make money, but it is all the business’ responsibility to stay fair to the customers.

Hire a friendly staff.

The Problem:

This one is a bit obvious.

Like most in our community, I grew up going to smaller shows. I was a young kid walking around venues, and I learned a lot of people that work at them are not all that pleasant to be around. (No. I am not going to name names).

I have seen security use profanity with children. I have seen bar hops throw cans at smokers, and I have even seen security grab a young female by her hair.

The Solution:

It is not what people say, but how they say it. I know rules are rules, but if a young music fan is walking where he or she should not be, the staff should kindly let him or her know and direct that fan to a better spot.

Never put your hands on a customer to drag them, while yelling “get the hell out of here, punk.”

There needs to be a better system put in place at venues, because this can not only lead to lawsuits, but can end a venue’s business forever, and in turn, hurt live music.

Tip to the concertgoer: Follow the rules and respect the venue. In most cases, the employees are very courteous and would love to help you. If you see an employee act a fool, ignore it.

Allow reentry.

The Problem:

Again, this is a business decision made by most venues. It is mostly to prevent people from drinking outside the show. I get that.

The problem is mostly with younger crowds. They buy a lot of merch and do not really want to carry it around throughout the entire show.

The Solution:

Bite the bullet and allow reentry.

Maybe people want to put their merch in their car. Maybe they need medication that was left in the car, or maybe they just want to go grab some food. It does not matter why the fans want to leave for a minute.

If the venue is worried about drinking or anything like that outside of the venue, have an employee watch the parking lot for the night. It cannot be too expensive if it is that important.

Fans always appreciate being allowed to leave and handle their business during a show.

We get it, bro. You vape.

The Problem:

I am all for a healthy alternative to anything negative on a person’s health. If using an ecig makes you feel better, then by all means vape on.

But, an overwhelming majority of people do not vape, and we are tired of having it blown in our faces at a show, regardless of how good some of the flavors smell.

Yes, it is completely legal to vape indoors, but the issue is some people think just because they can do it, they should. This is about common courtesy.

The Solution:

Ban ecigs inside of the venue. It is as simple as that.

Venues are mostly privately owned and, therefore, can enforce almost any rules it wants. If it wants to put up a sign that reads, “no blue shirts,” then it can.

“No vaping inside” needs to be one of those signs.

Be punctual.

The Problem:

A lot of shows do not start on time, but almost always end on time. This has always been strange to me. The venue is okay with starting the show late and making fans wait longer to see the acts they came to see, but will also cut that show short to not go over on time.

When did live music become about the venue rather than the artists and fans?

The Solution:

Yes, technical difficulties do happen, and that is more than understandable, but if the show needs to go on longer to make up for this lost time, so be it.

Fans pay for 100 percent of the ticket price for 100 percent of the show.

In an age when fans are getting more and more things for free, we need to start giving them a bang for their buck on things they do still pay for.

It is our job to keep fans coming to shows and to keep live music a staple in the community.

Questions or comments? I would love to hear them in the comments below or email me at zach@urbangeographer.com.

Zach Micklea is the Art Director and Online Content Editor at Urban Geographer. Connect with him on social media: @ZACHMICKLEA

Zach Micklea is the Art Director and Online Content Editor at Urban Geographer. Connect with him on social media: @ZACHMICKLEA