What on earth is going on with concerts right now?

Just days after pop star Bebe Rexha needed stitches after being hit in the face with a phone thrown by fan in the audience, another performer has copped the same treatment.

Country star Kelsea Ballerini temporarily stopped her performance and exited the stage after an object thrown by a fan hit her in the face during a recent concert.

Fan account Kelsea Central tweeted a nearly one-minute video of the moment that an object flew from the crowd and hit Ballerini as she performed. Holding her face, Ballerini retreated from the microphone and stopped performing, and her violinist stepped over to help her. Ballerini briefly stood with her back to the crowd until she ultimately walked offstage.

Back to the Bebe Rexha incident –  27-year-old Nicholas Malvagna was later charged with assault. He apparently thought “it would be funny” to clock Rexha.

Just this week, while she wasn’t injured, Pink was left understandably rattled after a fan threw ashes onstage.

I get it, audience members throwing projectiles at artists (and some artists throwing them back) isn’t exactly new – undies thrown at Tom Jones, jellybeans at the Beatles and a lollipop once hit David Bowie in the eye – but, it feels like these incidents are happening more regularly, and the intent of these incidents seems off.  Further, if you’ve been to a concert recently, you may have noticed that the etiquette across the board feels off…

But why?

Here are some theories.

It’s one way for fans to go viral. So desperate are some to get attention, either from the artist or from the internet, they’ll risk literal assault to get it.

Post-lockdown aggression. This is what crowd safety manager Paul Wertheimer recently told The Guardian about the uptick in bad behaviour at gigs. “We all said that crowds would be more rambunctious, disorderly, and energetic, after people came out of being cooped up,” he said. “When crowds get rowdy, people can feel anonymous, and that leads them to doing anti-social, dangerous things.”

The pandemic ruined concert etiquette, particularly for Gen Z.  No shade on the younger generation, but there seems to be a common thread that many of them just don’t know how to act at a concert – something I’ve experienced firsthand. The theory is, the pandemic completely disrupted and decimated gigs and touring and along with that, a young person’s formative concert-going years were lost. This, crucially, includes experiencing live music at local, smaller venues.

Instead, they’ve come out the other side of the pandemic not really knowing ‘how to concert’: how to mosh (and look after others in the pit), that you show appreciation to support acts, you don’t shove your way to the front, that you don’t need obnoxiously shriek every single lyric at blood curdling levels to prove you’re the biggest fan and, just because you paid for a ticket, doesn’t mean the whole concert is about you.


@attn Bad concert etiquette is not only rude, it’s dangerous. Rushing the stage, throwing things at artists, and camping for hours on end in horrible conditions have led to fans passing out, being trampled, and worse. The parasocial relationships that some people built with their favorite artists when they were stuck inside over the past few years definitely play a huge role. Fans now feel entitled to personal interacts when they see artists live. Enjoying live music safely and respectfully leads to a better time for everyone. After all, those tickets weren’t cheap! #coachella #musicfestival #livemusic #concert #concertetiquette ♬ original sound – attn:

It boils down to appreciating and respecting the community around you, which includes the artist.

Like a lot of things, hopefully this glitch in behaviour is temporary – something that’ll grow out over time as people grow up.