Why Yes, Talking During Concerts Is Still Annoying AF

While I can let a number of habits slide when it comes to audience behavior, one that continuously drives me insane is when audience members talk during the event.

Sure, announcements about silencing phones is common but I can’t recall the last time I heard one that included a STFU component. If nothing else, imagine the pre-concert message you could create by incorporating some of the stories musicians and staff have about #talkfails. Nothing sells a message quite like humor and while annoying at the time, some of the stories could really sell the message.

Case in point, a recent post from Holly Mulcahy at Neo Classical about this issue where she shares one such anecdote that included a patron getting sucked into the crescendo trap where one of the more sensitive points fell on a sudden drop in volume: “…AND THEN SHE TOTALLY DIVORCED HIS STUPID ASS!”

Don’t Ruin The Concert

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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