What’s the point of getting absolutely smashed at gigs?
19.08.2019

What’s the point of getting absolutely smashed at gigs?

Photo: John Price
Words by Kate Streader

If you spent hundreds on a night out but were too drunk to remember it, did it even happen?

I want to preface this article by disclosing that I’ve just come off a year-long sobriety stint, so perhaps I’m biased in my attitude towards drinking. But even before those 12 booze-free months and the consequential re-evaluation of my relationship with alcohol, I never understood the point of getting shitfaced at gigs and music festivals.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for throwing back a couple of beers at a gig, but it’s the tendency to be wasted by the time the headliner comes on that dumbfounds me.

The typical process of attending a gig or festival involves spending a good chunk of change on tickets, then waiting weeks or months in anticipation for the date to roll around. To then drink yourself into such a stupor that you’ll certainly forget the evening entirely or wind up spending half the set chatting, in the smoker’s area or doing something else other than watching whoever you paid to see makes no sense.

If it’s a $10 gig down at The Tote, yeah, why not get a little dusty? But if you’ve splashed $160+ to see Bob Dylan at Margaret Court Arena only to spend half the night shuffling back and forth through the aisles to get to the bar and toilet – yes, I’m referring to the people sat in front of me at said gig – you probably should’ve just chucked on a bootleg record and stayed at home. At least there the drinks would be stronger and you wouldn’t have to walk as far to get a fresh one.

Then there’s the classic punter who’s clearly had a few too many and decides the best course of action is to yell idiotic comments and unsolicited song requests at whoever is performing. Not only are you bound to wake up with a gaping hole where your memory of the previous night should be, you probably managed to ruin the experience of whoever had the misfortune of being within your proximity.

The level of drunken dickheadedness associated with live music events reaches its absolute peak at music festivals. Is it that people don’t know how to pace themselves? Too much sun? Who bloody knows, but if I had a dollar for every time I walked into a festival only to see some poor sod passed out under a tree near the entrance before lunchtime, it would fund the rest of my festival season.

At this point, you’re probably thinking I don’t sound like the kind of person who’s fun at parties and you may be right, but I do have a pretty vivid recollection of every gig I’ve been to. In my books, that’s way better than getting drunk. I could sink a tinnie or ten at literally any other time and place of my choosing and not miss out on a one-time experience I paid good money for.

But hey, you do you. Just don’t stand near me at gigs if you’re a wanker on the piss.