Is this the end of camping for gigs?


louis tomlinson

louis tomlinson

If you’re desperate to get to the front row for your favourite singer, then you might consider queueing early for a concert.

Some even take the step of waiting in line overnight, sometimes days.

But for those who camped to see Louis Tomlinson’s show on Tuesday, they had an unexpected surprise.

Banquet Records – who often run gigs at Pryzm in Kingston, London – told them before the show that people who stayed overnight would not be let in first.

Staff had previously made clear on social media that queueing overnight, due to the extremely cold temperatures, wasn’t allowed.

It also said on tickets that queues before 08:00 wouldn’t be recognised.

Posting on Twitter, Banquet Records said they were aware the new system “will upset some but there has to be repercussions for queuing too early”.

The queue to see Louis Tomlinson at Pryzm in London

The queue to see Louis Tomlinson at Pryzm in London stretched far

Jon Tolley, who runs the record shop, said he was “nervous” about making the call.

But he wants the decision to discourage camping at other gigs too, such as future shows with Yungblud and Machine Gun Kelly.

He says that some fans had been camping since Wednesday last week, for the first show on Monday.

“It’s unsafe for people to be on the streets – we spoke to Louis’ management as soon as we saw that was happening,” he tells BBC Newsbeat.


Jon says he doesn’t want people to camp to see Yungblud

“If people see that other people are queuing, they have a fear of missing out. And they want to queue too.

“You could have 200-300 people sleeping on the streets, in minus four degrees in the snow,” he adds.

“We spoke to the council, and we said that if it reached a certain number of people, we would just pull the gig.”

Jon understands some fans were devastated, but, ultimately, he says Banquet “had to do something to look after music fans”.

“I think people can understand why we did what we did – the feedback generally has been very good.”

Mia segal

Mia has been a Louis fan since he was in One Direction

One person who was in the queue since midday on the day of the show is Mia Segal.

The 20-year-old says she often makes friends in queues for gigs.

And while she’s “all for people doing what they want” she understands why the venue made the call.

“Some of these people were queuing since Thursday night in the snow, which is extremely dangerous. By doing this, they ran the threat of the shows possibly being cancelled which is selfish for everyone else going,” she says.

She feels “queuing culture has become worse” since Covid impacted live music venues.

“People think they’re entitled to queue even if the venue can’t facilitate them, it just puts so many things at risk and isn’t worth it,” Mia adds.

‘Bigger issue’

On social media, the move by Banquet Records has been met with a largely positive reaction.

Music fan Kieran Raza, 27, says he hopes the “practice is put into place in other venues around the country”.

“Because it’s a much bigger issue in arenas and stadiums when people are queuing for days to see Harry Styles in a pit at the front of the stage. If you’re one row from the front, it really doesn’t detract from your experience,” he says.

“But it’s venues that are responsible for putting that into place, in order to uphold the safety and integrity of the event.”

Kieran Raza

Kieran hopes Banquet’s move is followed by other venues

‘Punishing passionate fans’

But Jo Cosgrove can understand why gig goers can sometimes go to big lengths to see their favourite acts.

The 23-year-old camped for a Twenty One Pilots show in 2019, and says “in the future Pryzm should not be doing this”.

“No venue should be doing this because you’re punishing fans for being passionate at the end of the day.

“And fans will always be passionate – you will never stop that you will only push people away from your venue.”

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