In the pit

Amplifying the stories of the MVHS community at concerts


Jiya Singh

Many concerts include “pits,” areas where attendees can stand close to the stage and experience their favorite artist’s up close.

Jiya Singh

While other students were discussing the meaning of “White Boy Shuffle” in her literature class on Nov. 15, senior Amrita Arun was fixated on her laptop, desperately trying to purchase concert tickets on the Ticketmaster site. Having received a presale code for singer Taylor Swift’s “Era’s Tour,” Arun was prepared to buy tickets at 10:00 a.m. However, complications ensued, including an influx of users without the presale code logging on the site causing Ticketmaster to crash. When the time to purchase was rescheduled for the afternoon, not everyone with the presale code was able to get tickets and the following day, it was announced that general sale tickets would be canceled. Although Arun was able to purchase tickets, she feels deeply for those unable to do the same.

“Ticketmaster is a monopoly 100%,” Arun said. “I had to go to the post office after school and my phone battery was at 10% [as I was trying to buy tickets]. And canceling the general sale [is] kind of evil, not gonna lie.”

Concerts are a classic experience that many enjoy engaging in — from purchasing tickets to finally seeing one’s favorite artists perform live. For Arun, hearing about her friends going to extravagant concerts like The Weeknd made her even more determined to convince her parents to let her see Taylor Swift, specifically because it would be her first concert, and it falls on her 18th birthday. However, her excitement was accompanied by a fear of certain concert behavior.

“One of the main factors that I looked into when buying tickets was the fact that [the venue] had seating because I did not feel comfortable going to a concert that [only had] standing room,” Arun said. “I think safety should be everyone’s number one concern. So, if you at any time feel uncomfortable or don’t feel like you’ll be safe, then you shouldn’t go.” 

Unlike Arun, Social Studies teacher Scott Victorine has attended over 50 concerts, the last being in July of 2019. Victorine’s love for various music genres from alternative rock to jazz has led him to experience concerts in both loud, crowded venues and smaller, relaxed ones. However, he does share many of Arun’s concerns regarding the pits of concerts, specifically regarding rowdy behavior and engagement in substances like drugs, alcohol or cigarettes. 

“Music does something within people and causes certain feelings,” Victorine said. “People react to music whether it’s being driven to tears at a concert or getting amped up, running around and marching or [some] people feel the need to be in a social situation where they take a substance to make them feel a certain way. I think music just has that effect on people. To me, there’s nothing quite like live music — you can hear your favorite songs all the time, but when you see them performed live, it’s just so different.” 

In fact, the exhilarating effect of live music has influenced Victorine since he was 15 and attended his first concert without parents— Metallica, in San Francisco’s Cow Palace Theater. Victorine had been a large fan of Metallica for about a year before attending the concert with his friends, and the band’s unique punk rock sound inspired Victorine to begin playing guitar. 

“It was surreal at first because you see these musicians you look up to and you’ve watched [online] before, and now they’re right in front of you,” Victorine said. “So it was really overwhelming at first and just a lot of fun being on the floor. When the lights are on and you’re looking around the entire venue and then all of a sudden the lights go off and the music hits, you’re like, ‘Oh, wow, this is really happening.’”

While the appreciation for an artist’s music inspired Victorine to begin playing guitar, a passion he has now amplified by collecting and trading them, it inspired junior Sapphire Yang to create a social media fan account for their favorite music artists. 

Although Yang created her fan account for artists Taylor Swift, Seventeen, TXT, P1Harmony and  Le Sserafim in 2019, it wasn’t until the peak of the pandemic that they began posting regularly. And while Yang has experienced toxicity with being in the online music fandom, specifically with K-pop fans, she has also made deep friendships. Yang has met up with their long-distance online friends at concerts, and they plan to fly to Los Angeles next summer to attend two Taylor Swift shows with their friend.

“[My mom] is pretty lenient with me because I’ve traveled to other places for concerts,” Yang said. “With prices, we just try to get whatever we can, especially with Taylor. My mom was like, ‘just go for the best seats because I know you waited seven years to see her again.’ If she has a concert, I will go no matter what it takes. And when [Taylor Swift and Seventeen] came on stage, I actually cried because I was like ‘Oh my God, these people are real.’”

For Yang, experiencing live music is a must, and they have attended eight concerts, three of which in 2022. However, like Arun, she is not a fan of the preparation it takes to purchase tickets for high demand artists and the concept of “general admission” seating. Yang had to hide in a school bathroom while their friends were studying for final exams last year to purchase Olivia Rodrigo concert tickets, relying on the school’s Wi-Fi to beat the 2,000-person queue. When the concert date arrived, she stood outside the venue in a skirt during the cold weather, hoping to get seats as close to Rodrigo as possible.

“I don’t think [artists] should do general admission because so much can happen,” Yang said. “People can get injured, people can pass out. People want to be in front — they will do anything like camp out overnight and they can smell bad. At the Olivia Rodrigo show, someone passed out and fell on my feet and that really freaked me out.”

Like Yang, Victorine has witnessed dangerous behavior at the mosh pits of concerts. Specifically, while attempting to stop a fight between audience members at a Offspring concert in 2019, Victorine was assaulted, his tibia and fibula bones breaking in the process. However, despite the disorderly behavior of concerts, Victorine loves sharing an intimate experience with others who enjoy the same music as him more than anything. He encourages everyone, including his students, to be carefree and create memories through live music.

“You’re going to be tired the next day, but it’ll be worth it — you’ll never forget that day for the rest of your life,” Victorine said. “So take those chances [because] your classes will be there, your homework will be there. But [a concert is] an experience you don’t want to miss out on. Yeah, so absolutely go — see the band, see the singer.”