Why we should talk about The Story So Far and fans’ safety at gigs.
I went in my first mosh pit when I was thirteen years old. Understandably, it was a very overwhelming experience, but in no way whatsoever did I feel like my safety was at risk. And even almost eight years down the track, I have been very fortunate to never find myself in any sticky situations. I guess the closest I’ve ever been to being in a bad situation was falling over in a Parkway Drive circle pit, and for a split second fearing I was going to be trampled to death. I mean, I was instantly scooped up by a friendly concert goer, but I swear on my life time stood still.
Anyway, I digress.
Whatever gig you go to, you go with the presumption that you’re going to be quite safe and are going to have a good time. If you find yourself in trouble, someone will come to your aid – be it fellow concertgoers, security, heck I’ve even seen bands stop their sets to make sure people are okay. Without a doubt there are some people who like to step up the fun and decide to do something out of the ordinary. You get caught in walls of death, the occasional stage diver, someone who sends a wheelie bin crowd surfing (true story), or a drunk person doing cartwheels in the middle of a circle pit. Sometimes action needs to be taken, usually they get told off by a security guard or the band and things go on. But there are some people who respond to those situations in a dangerous way.
On Sunday night, the Californian pop-punk band The Story So Far found themselves in hot water when at a show in Toronto. Vocalist Parker Cannon fly kicked a girl preparing for a stage dive in the back, sending her over the front of the stage. In the footage below, you can see that she was the only stage diver who was treated in such a hostile way, whilst all the others who went on stage were left alone. The only difference between her actions versus her counterparts was that she was had her phone out, apparently in an attempt to film her impending leap.
This isn’t the first time Cannon has reacted so violently to someone filming their onstage experiences at one of their shows. He has spoken out against fans filming and photographing parts of their shows on several occasions, especially when it comes down to fans being on stage. It hasn’t even been twelve months since Cannon pushed a fan off the stage at a show in Texas, all because they were trying to take an onstage selfie.
This incident has left people divided – because The Story So Far have spoken out against using phones and cameras at their shows before, does that justify Parker Cannon’s violent reaction?
Well, if you want my honest opinion? Hell no!
There are two reasons why I think Cannon reacted in such a way. Firstly, some people in the pop-punk scene have a mentality that being violent and tough at these shows is part of the concert experience. To be sure, trying to not get injured in a mosh pit is like trying to escape the inevitable and you will come out somewhat hurt. Your feet will be stepped on, you’ll get jostled around a little bit, and you might get a bruise or two. But you don’t want to be elbowed in the head and get a concussion because some dimwit thinks it’s cool to flail their elbows everywhere like a deranged chicken. That’s just cruel and it makes you look dumb and inconsiderate. No one, NO ONE should be put in a position where they’re at risk of being hurt by someone who’s deliberately being violent. And you shouldn’t just be blown off as something you should expect at a show.
Cannon fly kicking a girl in the back for doing something he didn’t like is on that level and, after doing so, he immediately ran away and carried on performing. I guess it didn’t help that he was cheered by the crowd for hurting an unsuspecting concert goer.
Secondly, these acts where fans are put in danger are simply an abuse of power. Even the people who are there to protect us from danger exert unnecessarily large amounts of dominance on us. Ironically, there was an incident in 2014 at the Montreal leg of Warped Tour where The Story So Far stopped their set to free a crowd surfer from an overly aggressive security guard.
And now Parker Cannon is the one being aggressive to their fans? Oh, how the tables have turned!
This event is essentially a breach of trust between fans and the artists they love so much. If Parker Cannon was a human with proper common sense the best thing to have done is tell her to back off, give her a nudge to get off the stage, or worst case scenario, ask security to escort her off stage.
A lot of young fans hold bands like The Story So Far in such high regard (pun intended), so for them to react this way and promote these sort of actions is far from idea. As a result of this incident, the band has been banned from playing at the venue where this happened, and fortunately the girl involved is okay.
Deliberately inflicting violence at shows of any type of genre should never be condoned, between fans, security, bands – anyone! We all just want to go have a dance and sing, and most importantly share an amazing musical experience. Shows are a safe haven for lots of concert goers, young and old, so to have this happiness compromised for the sake of looking cool or a power trip is a massive blow to the system.