How Not To Be A Jerk At Free Events


Outdoor Festival Etiquette

Summer is Mother Nature’s gift to you after surviving the long, interminable winter.  Three warm months stretch before us, full of concerts, outdoor plays, festivals and movie screenings with which to fill your schedule. The best part? Lots of these things are free!  It’s easy to get caught up in the allure of the free event, but take heed. Before you take advantage of this bounty, click through for our tips on how to best navigate this terrain.

Be patient.
Free events are bound to be crowded because they’re free. This isn’t rocket science. Be grateful for the bounty the city is providing, and know that your attendance is a privilege. Most events, like concerts in Prospect Park, free shows at Northside, or Summerscreen viewings, will be crowded, but the organizers of these events know this and are anticipating the masses of sweaty summer bodies pressing to get into the same space. Your best bet is to be patient. We know it’s hot. Bring some water, bring a book, and stand in line with the rest of the crowd, and trust in the Summer Fun gods that you’ll make it in.

Tip your bartender, always.
If you happen to find yourself at an event with free drinks this summer, congratulations! You’re going to have a good time, we know it. Just make sure to bring some cash. Those bartenders work just as hard pouring free drinks as they do paid ones, so tip them often and tip them well.

Exercise self-control.
We get it. You’re excited! The free drinks they are serving are delicious. The instinct to consume as if it were the end times is strong, but resist. Enjoy your beverages like the adult that you are — in moderation.

Don’t push. Don’t shove. 
So you stood in that line, you made some new friends, and now you’re actually in. It’s probably pretty crowded, so when you find your spot to stand or sit, be a peach and don’t try and push or shove your way to the front. Everybody around you has the same goal — to see the show and have a good time, so don’t be that guy walking back from the beer tent with three full beers “trying to find your friends in the front.” Utilize the same concert etiquette you’ve honed from years of going to stuff and don’t push!

Don’t watch the show through your phone.
The instinct to Instagram everything that’s happening is very real, but be considerate of the people around you. Humblebragging about how you breezed past the crazy long lines at the super-secret free Solange show is not a good look. Neither is watching a show through your phone’s camera, plus it’s a little annoying for the folks standing around you who are trying to actually watch the show. You went through all that work to get in, so put your phone away for a sec and enjoy!

Get a spot and stay there.
Set up your little blanket station and establish your territory, but don’t roam the grounds looking for bigger and better. You are not a nomad, you are a person who heard about a free concert and decided to attend, just like the rest of the folks there.

If you’re looking for somewhere to put these new rules to the test, here are ideas for 101 free things to do in Brooklyn this summer and this summer fun list has many free options as well.