Now It’s Cool to Wear a Band’s T-Shirt to Their Concert


Image of a rock band performing live with orange and yellow lights.

Today, it’s cool to wear a band’s T-shirt to their concert – Photo and story by Anne Erickson

Remember when it was totally against concert etiquette to wear a band’s T-shirt to their concert? Well, today, it’s actually cool – Opinion piece

Growing up, it was never cool to wear a band’s shirt to that band’s concert. In fact, it was totally against concert etiquette. I’ll never forget my first “real” rock concert. The word “real” is in quotes, because it was Goo Goo Dolls, Sugar Ray and Fastball, so it certainly wasn’t a super hard rock lineup. But, it was the first concert I went to without my parents driving me. So, let’s call it my first real rock show. Leading up to the show, I asked my friends, “What should I wear?” They all said the same thing: “Wear whatever you want, except don’t wear the T-shirt of the band you’re going to see.” Well, I’m here to tell you that today, it’s cool to wear a band’s T-shirt to their concert.

It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly how or why this change took place. But, I’ve personally noticed a trend of music fans wearing a band’s T-shirt to their concert starting about 6 or 7 years ago. I remember going to Louder than Life Festival in Louisville, Kentucky, in 2017. There, I noticed the fans who were in the front row to see acts like Stone Sour, Five Finger Death Punch and Limp Bizkit proudly wearing those bands’ shirts. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but it was indicative of a larger trend.

Fast-forward to today. One of the big rock tours of this summer was the co-headlining Staind and Godsmack tour. I went to the show’s Detroit-area stop at Pine Knob. At the show, a sea of fans were wearing both Staind and Godsmack T-shirts. In fact, those Staind and Godsmack shirts were the dominate band T-shirts that were there that night.

Then, just last month, another show at that venue featured I Prevail, Bad Omens and other acts that appeal to a younger rock and metal audience. Here, again the crowd was filled with fans wearing I Prevail and Bad Omens T-shirts. This audience was very different from the Staind and Godsmack crowd. After all, Staind and Godsmack draw a more mature audience, since they’ve been around for more than two decades. But, the message was the same: It’s totally acceptable to wear a band’s T-shirt to their concert. In fact, it might be the trendy thing to do.

So, what are music fans actually saying? I asked two Bad Omens fans at the Pine Knob show who were wearing the band’s T-shirts about this phenomenon. When asked if it was cool now to wear a band’s T-shirt to that band’s show, both of them agreed the answer was yes. “Oh, yes, totally. I always wear the same band’s shirt who I’m going to see in concert to their show,” Paul Baker, 26, from Toledo, Ohio, said. “Why would it not be? You’re supporting the band that you’re going to see. I like looking around and seeing the different shirt designs for the band I’m seeing, too.”

So, if you’re hesitating to wear that Metallica shirt to their M72 World Tour or Mastodon tee to their concert stops, don’t. You’re all good. Times change, etiquette changes and it’s now cool to wear a band’s T-shirt to their concert.

Anne Erickson
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Posted by Anne Erickson | Alternative, Metal, Music, Rock, Rock News