Actress Jamie Lee Curtis may have kicked off the question of why concerts can’t go down during the day. But her query has led others to wonder, too: Why on Earth do concerts start so late?
Especially in light of the alleged trend of disrespectful crowd behavior at concerts, fans wonder if this concert tradition needs to be reevaluated — including their start times.
“Fr like why are we doing this on a Wednesday night??” wrote @emilylvtt.
“This is why I PTO the next day 😭 otherwise I’d be up at 5am,” added @imtiredofnthavinganame.
Typically, most concerts or shows involving an entertainer start around 7 or 8 p.m. at night. Often, they’ll include a pre-show or opening act, which can push the headliner’s start time even later. For instance, concertgoers who attended a recent Beyoncé show were treated to seeing Blue Ivy on stage with her mother. However, the Queen herself didn’t hit the stage until 9:20 p.m.
So why the late start? Billboard spoke to leading concert venue owners to glean some insight into the late start for most concerts and uncovered the unsurprising reason: money.
One venue owner told the outlet that most of a show’s ticket profits go directly to the artist. From the venue’s perspective, scheduling shows to start later at night ensures sales from food, drinks and merchandise.
“It’s hard to sell drinks at 1 p.m.,” Peter Shapiro explained.
A Redditor backed up the drinks theory in a thread that voiced similar complaints about shows starting late, even on weekdays.
“I’ve worked as a tour manager for mid tier independent artists and can say from experience that it’s probably not the artist’s choice. These venues / promoters believe that the longer people stay, the more alcohol they will purchase. That’s really what a venue cares about at the end of the day. Alcohol sales make the live music industry go round so they drag shows out as long as they can,” wrote organizedRhyme.
Late start times may be necessary to accommodate fans who work and need to travel to the concert. Delays can also happen for other reasons, such as the band or artist not getting there in time. In September, a Soy Rebelde (RBD) concert started three hours late, according to one TikToker. Fans were so closely packed, waiting to be let into the building, that some even passed out.
Fans arriving late or just trying to get a last-minute ticket can play a role in concerts starting later than scheduled, too. For instance, one TikToker posted a crowd of ticket-holders not even in the venue yet — with the concert scheduled to start in 10 minutes. That video may not display the trend, but some TikTokers have admitted to showing up at concerts near scheduled start times in the hopes of getting a last-minute ticket. That’s thanks to restrictive purchasing policies and high prices.
On the flip side, some TikTokers complain that venues purposefully open the doors hours before the show starts, hoping to lure them with sales, only to lead to packed crowds and challenges getting out and home.
“It’s a ‘post-pandemic’ development. Bruh It takes so long to get out cause crowds so I’m always sprinting for that last train,” claimed Daliyah Jo (@daliyahjo).
No matter what valid, money-making reasons there may be for late-night showtimes, if TikTok is any indication, the push toward changing concert times may not end any time soon.
“It’s a lot,” wrote @raveenaaa in commiseration.
“No fr im tired,” agreed @brownie.co.
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