A year ago I wrote this post featuring 15 tips for attending a concert at the Les Schwab Amphitheater.

It turned out to be pretty popular, which makes sense since the venue itself can draw up to 8,000 patrons per show.

But there’s more than one concert venue in Bend, a fact I’ve been reminded of over the last couple weeks as I’ve purchased tickets to see The Wailin’ Jennys at The Tower Theatre, Lord Huron at the Athletic Club of Bend, and Band of Horses at Century Center.

Every single one of those venues has different rules for seating, purchasing tickets, and what you’re allowed to bring inside, and I encourage you to check their websites for specifics.

But I wanted to offer a bit of broader advice to help you (and everyone around you!) enjoy your concert experience to the fullest.

 

Where can I park my butt, and where can I shake it?

Some concerts are hard-rockin’ parties where everyone smooshes together to dance like some big multi-headed groove monster. Other concerts have attendees sitting quietly in their numbered seats with their hands folded in their laps.

Generate some good concert karma by not parking your chair in front of folks lounging on a blanket.
Generate some good concert karma by not parking your chair directly in front of folks lounging on a blanket.

Since you’re not likely to see “multi-headed groove monster” on a venue’s website, you need to do some homework.

First things first. Check the website not just for the venue where the concert is being held, but for that specific artist. A Phish concert at the Les Schwab Amphitheater might not allow blankets or chairs at all, while a Jackson Browne concert at the same venue might have separate areas for numbered seats, dancing zones, and the general admission zone where folks stake out spots with blankets and low-backed chairs. Find out what’s allowed at that exact venue for that exact show.

But that’s only half the story.

Every concert has its own vibe and its own unspoken rules, so this is where you’ll have to do some people watching. Once you’ve purchased your tickets and arrived at the show, study the folks around you. See that couple seated on the blanket? Don’t put your tall chair in front of them. That’s bad concert karma.

Some concerts (like this one from rock goddesses, Heart) prompt everyone in the audience to get up and dance.
Some concerts (like this one from rock goddesses, Heart) prompt everyone in the audience to get up and dance.

Go find a nice spot in front of some other folks with chairs. (Sidenote: Make sure you measure the height of your chair beforehand to be sure it conforms to the venue’s rules. I’ve seen many-a-concertgoer get turned away for a chair that’s too tall).

Okay, so now what? Well, you’ve gotta wait for the music to start. If everyone around you stays seated, you should do the same. But if you’re itching to shake it like a Polaroid picture, odds are good you’re not alone. Watch the crowd to spot your fellow boogie buds. If they start popping up like prairie dogs to dance in place, go ahead and do the same. You’ll likely spark a big wave of happy feet.

But if the dancers start streaming to a spot at the front of the stage or off to the side, go join them there. That way the folks who want to stay seated can do that, while you and your new dance pals rock it hard in your own little dance zone.

 

Shhh! No talking

If you talk through a performance during Jazz at the Oxford, expect to get the stinkeye from your fellow concertgoers.
If you talk through a performance during Jazz at the Oxford, expect to get the stinkeye from your fellow concertgoers.

It doesn’t matter if you’re watching an opera performance at the The Tower Theatre or a hip-hop performer in the middle of the street at the Bend Fall Festival. Carrying on a conversation that lasts the whole concert is soooo not cool. A few quiet remarks to your buddies is fine. A whispered observation to your spouse is no problem.

But yammering at your friends through the whole show is a good way to add “enemies” to the list of souvenirs acquired on your Bend vacation.

 

About those assigned seats…

Some shows are general admission and some have ticketed seats. Some have a mix of both. You’ll know which kind of ticket you’re holding before you walk into the venue.

The historic Tower Theatre is one Bend venue where you're likely to have assigned seat numbers.
The historic Tower Theatre is one Bend venue where you’re likely to have assigned seat numbers.

But there’s a funny thing I’ve seen happen at ticketed shows. Folks with several people in their party will go shopping online and realize there aren’t enough seats all together in the row they want. “I’ll just buy these three single seats in row two,” the concertgoer thinks to himself. “We can ask everyone to shuffle around so we can sit together.”

Guys, no. This isn’t an airplane. The folks who’ve purchased front-and-center seats in that aisle did so because that’s where they wanted to sit. And the guy a few seats down isn’t too eager to scooch to a spot that requires him to crane his neck for a good view of the stage.

If your concert ticket has a seat assigned to it, please sit in that seat. You can meet up with your pals along the Bend Ale Trail after the show to talk about how much the experience rocked.

 

Kids and concerts

Just because you have a couple mini-mes in tow doesn’t mean you should miss out on your favorite concert.

But it does mean you have to pay extra-close attention to the whole “assessing the vibe around you” stuff I mentioned above. It also means you have to check the concert website extra-super-duper close to make sure it’s not an 18-and-older or 21-and-older show.

Family-friendly concerts like Munch & Music are a great opportunity for the whole family to enjoy live music together.
Family-friendly concerts like Munch & Music are a great opportunity for the whole family to enjoy live music together.

But assuming you’ve done that, here’s the deal: I’ve taken my step-kids to oodles of shows at the Les Schwab Amphitheater. Sometimes there’s a big mob of kids doing cartwheels off to the side, and as long as they’re not bugging anyone and you’re watching to make sure they’re safe, it’s cool to let your offspring join the fun.

Where problems arise is when you park screamy, squirrelly kids in front of that childless couple who just wants to sit quietly and watch the concert. That’s no bueno. Keep your eyes peeled for other families at the venue, and go sit nearby. Folks who don’t want to sit near kids will know to steer clear, and your youngsters might even make new friends.

It’s also worth noting there are tons of Bend concerts that are super-duper kid-friendly. Check out the Free Summer Sundays concerts at the Les Schwab Amphitheater on Sundays, or the Wednesday shows in Drake Park for the Munch & Music concerts. Those are great places to let your young’uns get up and groove while you enjoy the live music in your own way.

Preferably with a glass of wine in hand.

 

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