Ban mobile phones and cameras in concerts.

Controversial? Maybe, but please bear with me. A few weeks ago my husband and I went to see Elbow at the Cardiff Motorpoint Arena. We love the band, have seen them live on the telly and when our anniversary came up, this was our treat instead of a fancy meal.

The band was fantastic. Elbow never disappoints. Guy Garvey knows how to work a crowd, cracks jokes and is just the kind of guy you want to be friends with. Plus he has the rare gift of an effortless bluesy voice. He is never out of tune and very engaging. Music-wise we loved every minute of the concert. We even liked the support act- though it took a while until everyone in the crowd worked out who the heck he was – Jimi Goodwin. I actually recognised one of the songs that is on heavy rotation on BBC6 (the only radio channel I can listen to, apart from Radio 4).

So far, so good. Now here’s the thing. In the olden days, when I was in my teens and twenties, mobile phones with cameras didn’t exist and cameras at concerts were verboten. On the other hand you could smoke to your heart’s content – so in that respect things have changed for the better. Now you can enjoy a concert without smelling like an ashtray. And I have to admit I used to be one of those horrible people who would light up. I stopped 14 years ago when I travelled to New Zealand.

Instead of smokers we now have people with cameras and i-phones filming the whole thing instead of just enjoying the concert. If that’s not bad enough, it is especially bad when you are tiny and all you can see is a sea of cameras and phones pointing at the band. My husband took two or three photos as mementos and that was that. The quality is rubbish and he wanted to enjoy the experience rather than messing around with the stupid phone.

I really believe banning mobile phones and cameras would improve things, not only for the audience members who actually want to listen to and see the act on stage, but also for the musicians themselves.

Having cameras and phones going off all the time must be distracting. And really how often are you going to watch shaky video footage of a concert?

We haven’t even managed to watch our own wedding video (our wedding was seven years ago!).

Prince is one of the few musicians who actually bans cameras and phones.

Good on him I say.

Last Sunday we enjoyed watching Rich Hall at the Glee Club in Cardiff – and guess what – they were very strict on the no cameras and no phones rule. Anyone caught filming would be immediately ejected from the premises. It was a very enjoyable night and I could easily see Rich and he was brilliant!

So, what do you think? Do you think it’s acceptable to film and photograph during a live show or do you prefer the proper concert experience instead of watching a sea of phones? Let me know below.

Helen White

I am a bilingual journalist, jewellery designer, German tutor, and translator – and I am passionate about cats.

Helen White – who has written posts on Helen Kaut Press.

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