#ThisNeverHappened: Concerts that want to avoid social media are growing in popularity

#ThisNeverHappened: Concerts that want to avoid social media are growing in popularity

MusicFebruary 04, 2019 By Reilly Capps

Lane 8, an artist trying to stay off social media and go incognito, is getting kinda famous. 

One measure? Dustin Huth runs a service called Bus to Show, which runs buses from Denver and Boulder to big shows like Phish and Dead & Company and Bassnectar. Yet he's never seen as quick demand as he saw for a show just announced by the relatively unknown DJ Lane 8.

Lane 8 is having what he's calling his Summer Gathering July 13 at Echo Mountain, a ski area an hour west of Denver. 

Why are Lane 8 showgoers so keen for bus rides so long out from the show? Partly cause there's limited parking. Partly cause it's a beautiful spot. But, also, fans like the fact that Lane 8 aims to dent social media not at all.

His shows are called This Never Happened. They're in New York, Los Angeles and Colorado. You're not banned from social media-ing about #ThisNeverHappened, but it's about as cool as live-Tweeting an orgy.

When you arrive to a Lane 8 show, security wraps a piece of red tape around your phone, over the camera. The strip reads "This Never Happened." If you're caught unpeeling it, you're kicked out. If you're using your phone at all on the dance floor, you're booted. (You can still use your phone on the periphery of the venue, to, say, text a friend to meet you at the entrance, or to summon a Lyft, or, if you care nothing for culture or music or fun or life, play Candy Crush or shop on Amazon.)

Live 8 is Daniel Goldstein, a DJ making down-tempo chill EDM. He loves his No Phones rule.

"Not allowing phones has had a huge impact at our shows," Goldstein messaged Rooster. "The atmosphere, when everyone is locked into the moment, rather than trying to record it, is so much more intense and reminds me of why I fell in love with clubbing many years ago."

You might think a social media blackout might send him toward a short career as a wedding DJ. Not so.

"In terms of sales, it’s of course tough to not be able to use tour videos to help promote me and future touring," Goldstein messaged Rooster. "But ever since we started This Never Happened, we have grown in every single market we do shows in."

Goldstein is from The Bay Area and now lives in Denver. Goldstein got the inspiration for his social media jihad at Berghain, a top electronic music club in Berlin, which covers your phone camera with stickers on the way in.

Not having phones at his shows is now part of Goldstein's identity, the way Flea goes shirtless and Buckethead wears a bucket on his head. On his Reddit AMA, Goldstein wrote, "I'm Lane 8, and I don't allow phones at my shows."

It's an identity that's resonating, as some folks are as hungry to ditch their phones as transcontinental railroad workers were to drop their hammers.

PART OF A TREND

Lane 8 joins a small but growing section of the music community wrestling phones away from our clawed, gnarled fingers. Jack White years ago starting locking up phones at his concerts, saying he was tired of looking out at the crowd and spying more phone cases than faces. The Lumineers, and Alicia Keys are on his tip, too. A club called Ora in Seattle discourages phones, and the U Street Music Hall in DC ban photos, videos and audio during DJ sets.

In fact, the cooler the setup, the more likely they are to ban phone: for example, the Masters golf tournament, Alamo Drafthouse, most BDSM sex dungeons and my Monopoly and Sorry board game nights on Wednesday evenings.

photo - Lane 8 at Echo Mountain

[Lane 8 touring the site of his upcoming Summer Gathering for his This Never Happened shows, Echo Mountain. Photos from Lane 8's Facebook page]

FAN REACTION ... ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Most fans dig Lane 8's camera ban. It made the experience more "sensual," one fan wrote on Reddit. "Best night of my life," and "no distractions," wrote two others.

One Redditor, though, called it "artificial" and said it "creates a valse vibe." "I do not like being told what I can and cannot do," they said. Said another commenter: "It's such a gimmicky marketing ploy to sell tickets."

Not being on social media sells tickets? But I thought InstaFaceSnapTwit sold tickets!

Who knows. Maybe this is a fad. But maybe nothing foments FOMO like making it so Instagrammers don't even know what they missed out on.

2019 continues to confuse.