a A major modern-day concert has all the bells and whistles: booming sound, incredible light screen, nostalgic fans… and a sea of blue screens, all set on the artist to amateurishly document the entire scene and post it on social media. But one popular legend is among a growing number of artists who have been reining in the tide and advertising a “phone-free” experience at his shows.
When Bob Dylan plays at Hayden Homes Amphitheater on June 27, he will be the first artist at the venue to request a phone-free environment. Instead of tiptoeing to soar over the sea with a blue phone, attendees will see those phones stashed away in cases designed to help people go back to the good old days, when one had to find a phone booth (and perhaps wait in line) to call a babysitter.
Once upon a time, before the word “selfie” was a thing, this was exactly the case.
Millennials and Generation Zers, your friends from older generations assure you that you’ll get through this.
How it works
The process of getting into Hayden Homes Amphitheater really does come with a few hoops: scan your ticket (yes, from your mobile), find your bag (the clear plastic only), and go off with your metal detector. For this offering, an extra step is to get a storage case from Yondr, the company that Dylan’s team contracted with to provide the phone’s storage.
Having a sea of phones on a live show is “running out of the room,” Yondr founder Graham Dugoni told CNN Business in 2020.
At a show or other event served by Yondr, attendees unlock and lock the phone in the bag, locking the bag until you wave the unlocking device at the exit. Attendees who need to take care of phone business during the show will have a designated area to open and do their work before returning to the show.
This is the first time the runway has implemented this type of policy at the request of an artist, said Beau Eastes, and his team is still working out the details of where the phone area will be located and the size of the area, Old Mill District Marketing Director and Hayden Homes Runway. However, the process is fairly basic, and does not involve a complicated form of coat inspection.
“When you leave the place, you go and open it up and they will return the bag to you,” Estes told the source. “Your phone stays on – you have your phone with you all the time.”
But while new to Bend, it’s been a growing trend over the past decade—particularly for artists popular in the comedy and music scenes.
“This is something that would be new to us, but the Lumineers have done it. A lot of comedies — Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock have done it before. Donald Glover plays Childish Gambino and he’s done that on his shows,” Estes said. Weddings are another place where a phone-free experience is the trend in 2022. A growing number of people seem to be waking up to the realization that being in the moment might require checking out that thing that dings and whistles and is otherwise designed to draw one’s attention away from any Nothing but its glowing screen.
Yondr, the phone case provider, sees it as offering a “refuge”. The founder of Yondr started the business in 2014, when he was making the bags himself and bringing them to shows and even schools. The unique idea eventually caught the attention of artists including Chappelle, who became one of its investors, according to CNN Business.
“In our hyper-connected world, we provide a haven to engage with what you do and with whom you do. In physical space and real time,” reads a description on Yondr’s website.
Like watching a show in the ’90s.
From a concert goer perspective, it may take a while to get used to.
Ashley, a fan of the music in Bend who asked not to be identified, said she attended the Jack White show without phones in Portland in 2018 and appreciates being able to be more present with the music. She said her only complaint was the inability to relate to SoundHound during the show to select some songs in the entertainment before the show that she wanted to remember later. In an announcement ahead of his 2018 tour, White told reporters that he wanted fans to have a “100% human experience.”
While Bob Dylan representatives did not respond to our request for comment, Dylan himself did take a stand on people’s phones during a show in Vienna, Austria, in 2019, saying “Take pictures or don’t take pictures. We can either play or stand. OK?”, as reported in Stereogum. Then Dylan reportedly left the concert.
The larger the artist, the more likely it is that such a policy will be applied. If you’re a Beyoncé or Prince, for example, you don’t need any more publicity by people sharing your show on social media. Beyoncé reportedly blamed fans for “recording” during her performances rather than watching the event. The late Great Prince has been enforcing a no-phone policy since 2013. Alicia Keys, who has used Yondr bags on her shows, said you have to be famous yourself — someone like Queen Latifah — to be able to beat it, according to an article in The Washington Post. Bruno Mars, the funky R&B star, encouraged fans to dance and enjoy the show “as they did in the old days.”
The ’90s are clearly those ‘good old days’.
“One of our production guys was part of a show somewhere else, and he said it was like watching a show in the ’90s,” said Estes of Hayden Homes. “I think it would be very cool. I hope people won’t have any reservations about it. I hope they give it a shot.”
That might be a less attractive prospect for anyone who wasn’t even alive in the ’90s, but when it comes to the artist on stage on June 27, who has been releasing some of the most popular tunes since the ’60s, it’s his show, and he’s earned the credibility to take on such Politics.
I’ve got this.
According to information from Statista, there were about 280.54 million smartphone users in the US in 2020 – making the US 4The tenthThe country with the highest “population penetration” of smartphones, covering 79.10% of the population. (The United States lags behind the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, and Mexico in this respect.) Thus, we know that politics will blow some people’s minds.
What would you do without that appendix that squeaks, whistles, vibrates, or makes you look at her face every few minutes? I don’t know – I think I listen to music.