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Why do fans keep throwing things at artists during concerts?

These incidents, at times resulting in injuries and halting the music, have raised significant concerns.
Why do fans keep throwing things at artists during concerts?
Posted at 4:15 PM, Jul 09, 2023

Every music artist wants the hits to keep coming.

But there’s a different kind of show-stopper that's hitting concerts and literally hitting performers.

Hearthrob Harry Styles and rapper Drake are the latest high-profile celebrities to be hit by objects during concerts.

Both incidents happened nearly a month after pop star Bebe Rexha was hit by a cellphone in the face during a show in New York, forcing her to stop the music. The strike left the singer with a black eye and in need of stitches.

It's an alarming trend that puts stage performers in danger.

Last month, another fan captured the moment country artist Kelsea Ballerini was also hit in the face by an object. She too stopped her set before returning with a message to fans.

"Don’t throw things, you know?  I always want shows of mine—every show for every artist—but I’m in control of this one, and I just want it to be a safe place for everyone," said Ballerini.

What’s behind the unruly concert conduct?

David Thomas is a professor of forensic studies at Florida Gulf Coast University.

He says social media has paved the way for people seeking their 30 seconds of fame. Which in turn breeds ‘copycats’. 

"Social media drives everything that goes on today," said Thomas. "I don't really think that those who are doing these offenses really understand that they could cause injury. They're just looking at it as it is; everybody's doing it. So I'm gonna do it."

Thomas says it's nearly impossible for concert promoters and venue staff to police object throwers because large crowds give concertgoers more anonymity to act on impulses.

How do you stop the bad behavior?

"You know, it's not like you're wanding people for weapons where, you know, you're trying to take knives and guns away from people; that's easier. But this, no, there's just no way because it's such a common tool. A phone, everybody has one," said Thomas.

However, the unruly behavior hasn’t been limited to object throwing but also stage rushing.

A man hopped on stage and slapped singer Ava Max during a show in Los Angeles back in June. That man was immediately rushed away by security.

The alarming trend of throwing objects on stage isn’t just an American problem.

A fan was dead serious about throwing her mother’s ashes at singer Pink during a London show in June.

In Sweden, a fan threw an adult toy at Lil Nas X earlier this month.

When do performers say 'enough'?

"It's gonna take one of them getting up and going, 'You know what? I'm not doing this,' and turn around and walk off the stage," said Thomas. "Do like Adele, and you get up and say you're not doing this here."

At one of Adele's residency shows in Las Vegas earlier this month, she warned her audience to behave and not try to pull any funny business at her shows.

“I f*****g dare you, dare you to throw something at me,” she said. “Stop throwing things at the artist!”

In the end, it is the fans themselves who have the power to shape the cultural atmosphere at concerts, as they are the ones who have been establishing the norms for decades.

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