The Underrated Beauty of Going to Gigs Alone

So you’ve found yourself at a gig alone. Your favourite band that none of your friends listen to have come to town and no one wanted to come with you. You stand self-consciously amongst couples and groups of friends, eager for someone to text you just so you can prove to these strangers that you’re not completely socially inept. You have no data and the Wi-Fi won’t connect so you mindlessly scroll through old tweets, eventually buying yourself an overpriced drink just for something else to do. But then the band come on, and all your inhibitions melt away; the whole crowd comes together, unified by mutual appreciation for the music, and you realise you’re not really alone.

It’s ok to go to gigs by yourself. If anything, it’s cool. In a recent survey by DICE, they found that, out of 500 18 to 24-year-olds, 65% have been to a gig alone, with 98% of them saying they wouldn’t mind doing it again. 32% say going solo to gigs was a way they could feel spontaneous, and a huge 84% say they felt the music sounds better alone. Of all the gigs I’ve been to, the one’s where I’ve gone by myself have been some of the most transcendental and moving, and anyway, moshing with strangers is always more thrilling when you don’t have to worry about losing your mates.

You’ll kick self-consciousness against the barrier; there’s something empowering about being comfortable alone, especially within a social space where it’s stigmatised to be by yourself. As a social species, we’re inherently inclined to be around people and forge relationships, so it’s only natural for us to want to share our experiences with others or shy away from venturing alone into the crowd. Yet, a gig provides that perfect dichotomy of being alone with your thoughts without being physically alone, as everyone in that room is there for one main reason: to see a band you all love. And who knows? You may even meet your next best friend or future bae in the middle of that mosh with strangers.

Being by yourself lets you think deeper about the experience, and you’ll notice subtleties within the performance and atmosphere that you probably wouldn’t have appreciated if you were distracted chatting shit with your friends. You can turn up when you want to turn up, leave when you want to leave, and easily manoeuvre yourself to the front without annoying anyone with your snakey human-chain of six; just a few polite shoulder taps and sorrys and you’ll find yourself within eye-line of your favourite artists’ shoelaces (you sneaky minx).

It turns out literally no one cares if you’re there alone. You’ll upload your obligatory Instagram afterwards just like everyone else, and will be cooler for it; You disregarded social stigma and personal insecurities to see a band you love play to a room of people who all have at least that one thing in common with you. You’re an empowered solo gig-goer. You’re still a good person, and your lack of company will never be a reflection of your shining personality or your superior music taste. And, most importantly, you can still get that post-gig Crispy’s on the way home.

Meg Firth