Leave It and Don’t Bring It

1The Lumineers, Jack White, Pink Floyd, and Prince have as many things in common as we have with them, but all these artists do share one thing- they all ban cellphones at their shows.

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Topics concerning cellphones range from how much screen time a child should have, to whether cellphones cause cancer. Many musicians have made the conscious decision to prohibit cellphones at their shows: a trend spreading like wild fire in the face of phone piracy. Jack White even threatened concert goers, “they will be asked to leave” if found filming. The motivations behind banning cellphones could include the performers’ own anxiety or just their desire to maintain an intimate experience. It makes sense that an artist would want to preserve the purity of music, or protect their own new unreleased music. Some artists have even called out concert goers mid-performance and asked them “To enjoy the show in real life rather than through your camera”.


Some concert goers have expressed outrage at the fact they cannot record the performances while others are appreciative that music is returning to the classic “lighter in hand” ambiance rather than cellphone in hand. Going to concerts and seeing almost everyone holding up a phone recording is quite infuriating to me, but only because their phones are in my own picture. In that moment, I, like many others, are solely recording to preserve this moment in time; sometimes I feel that the moment isn’t there if I am not fully immersed.


It has come to light that artists have been working with Silicon Valley Companies such as Yonder to make cell phone free spaces. Yonder’s main product is a lockable cell phone pouch which is sold to venues. The venues hand out the pouches to concert goers at the start of the show. Once the show ends the concert-goers are able to unlock the pouch at self-serve unlocking stations.



What it comes down to is whether banning cellphones really makes an impact to maintain the purity of music. For me and many others recording at a concert is not meant to disrupt the artist or make the space less intimate. In a time where cellphones are becoming more popular by the minute, it is hard to disassociate people with a piece of technology that people think of as a necessity. The controversy comes down to whether an audience member is willing to leave behind their cellphone in order to see their favorite artist-most would say yes, including myself. Prohibiting someone from bringing their cellphone seems a tad drastic but if someone is a true music lover this shouldn’t impede them from attending concerts. Cellphone or not I’m still just going to go for the experience. I do not think many others are willing to give that up for a little piece of plastic and glass.



Written by Ariana Snyder