Prairie Public NewsRoom
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Concertgoers used to throw flowers at artists. Now the items are more dangerous

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Drake was performing at a concert last week when he had his words thrown back at him - and I mean that literally. A fan threw a copy of the artist's poetry book, but Drake managed to catch it before it hit him.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DRAKE: You're lucky I'm quick.

MARTIN: You're lucky I'm quick, he said.

A MARTÍNEZ, HOST:

Throwing objects at artists isn't exactly unprecedented, but it seems to be happening a lot in recent months. Rapper Cardi B had a drink thrown at her, and Bebe Rexha was sent to the hospital after a fan's phone bruised her eye.

MARTIN: So what's going on here? Michael Downing is the chief security officer for the Oak View Group. That's an entertainment company. And he says crowds have changed since the pandemic.

MICHAEL DOWNING: Probably because fans had been pent up in their homes for so long. And we saw unruly crowds not wanting to follow rules, fighting and more aggressive behavior.

MARTÍNEZ: Downing says what's happening now is a far cry from the time-honored tradition of throwing flowers or maybe even underwear.

DOWNING: You may have seen things thrown on the stage, but this is targeting the performer and the talent. Throwing something hard like a bottle or a can directly at somebody - there's an intent there.

MARTIN: And Downing says some people may be looking for attention.

DOWNING: They see this is getting headlines. They see it's getting attention in the media. And they're repeating that behavior.

MARTÍNEZ: But throwing something at a performer, even something that seems harmless, can result in a variety of criminal charges, including for assault or vandalism. Paul Wertheimer is a crowd security expert in Los Angeles. He says performers throw things, too, and that also creates problems.

PAUL WERTHEIMER: Throwing a projectile into the crowd creates a crowd surge because everybody wants to get a hold of whatever was thrown. People get knocked down and injured as a result.

MARTIN: Wertheimer says what has changed recently is the artists' engagement with the crowd.

WERTHEIMER: The stage now extends into the crowd. Artists want to get as close to their fans as they can.

MARTÍNEZ: So the next time you're at a show, don't throw stuff. If you love what you hear, throw your hands up or something like that. Or if you don't, just throw some shade, but leave it there. Just leave it right there. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.