Oct 15, 2023

I Hate Fangirls

Pissing, Fainting and Fangirling galore at a 5SOS concert.

Anonymous Fangirl

We all have moments in life when we stop and ask ourselves: “How the hell did I end up in this situation?” I had one of those just last week, when I found myself packing a second pair of cargo pants in case I got peed on. Even with context that sentence doesn’t get much better. Perhaps it gets even worse – I was afraid of being peed on by fangirls. 

I was packing to go to Manchester and London, where I was to attend two 5 Seconds of Summer concerts back to back. For those unfamiliar, they are an all male pop/rock band from Sydney, Australia, also known as 5SOS. After twelve years as a band, with 11.4 million Instagram followers, 5SOS have gathered quite the fanbase. And this fanbase has gathered quite the reputation. Having never attended a 5SOS concert before, my experienced friends let me in on a few ‘concert traditions’. These included fans pushing, fainting, throwing up and peeing in the pit. As a qualified fangirl myself, pushing and fainting at concerts are not unfamiliar to me. However, the thought of adult women (I’m generalising because it’s true), peeing in a packed public space because they refuse to potentially lose their view of the band had me rethinking my decision to attend these concerts altogether. How is it that we have become just as bad as drunk men who piss on the street? 5SOS fans are described as crazy, insane and ruthless. It was becoming incredibly clear to me why this is the case. 

As quite a tall individual who wears platforms to concerts (no, I’m not sorry), I’ve received a fair number of complaints from those around me, as well as some particularly vulgar insults from those less loved by God. With this in mind, I was already fairly nervous of the behaviour of those around me in the pit. After discovering what else goes on, these nerves skyrocketed. My friends and I were intending on queuing from ungodly hours in Manchester in the hopes of getting a spot by the barrier. However, after some scrolling through Twitter (the day I call it ‘X’ is the day my spirit dies), we discovered that not only were fans camping, but for multiple days at that. As much as I wanted some attention and a guitar pick, my first experience of camping was not going to be in a dirty alleyway in Manchester. It is of little surprise that so many people pass out at concerts, when they haven’t seen a bed or cooked food in several days. 


My friends and I pitched up at the Manchester arena at around 6.30am (still insane and we are fully aware of that) and were given the numbers 60 to 63 by those huddled up in their tents. I scanned the campers searching for those looking sickly, with the intention of not standing beside anyone who might throw up three days of packaged ham onto my shoes. My friends and I took shifts throughout the day, allowing us to pop back to our hotel room for naps, showers and to do our makeup. Whilst performing my line holding duty, I did my best to befriend those around me. I’ve found from many a queuing experience that people are less likely to trample you to death if you have already established a friendship of sorts. But there were some groups that I did not dare attempt communication with. The fans who were attending their tenth concert of the tour had a certain look (or should I say smell) that told me they would gladly crush each and every one of us in the queue for the chance to make eye contact with the members. The arms-length of tour bracelets, the chalky white dry shampoo hair strands and the stack of pot noodles gathered at their feet acted as warnings to us first-timers that we were no more than passersby on their never ending 5SOS journey. 

My experience with fans during the Manchester concert itself went so much better than I could have imagined. I found myself not crushed, in the second row, with enough room to lift my arms into the air. The only drawback of my position was whenever I accidentally brushed off one of the campers in front of me – my arms became absolutely soaked with sweat and, of course, the smell was far from pleasant. However, all in all, I was pleasantly surprised and I began to wonder whether my friends had been exaggerating the chaos of the concerts. London soon showed me that not only was the chaos real, but I was soon to find myself in the midst of it.

The London concert was the following day, and therefore instead of queuing, my day was spent on a bus. My friends had tickets in a different section of the arena and I was to face the middle of the pit on my own. The concert started off smoothly. Again, I was not shoved and I had enough room to wave my arms around. I was in the sixth row, away from the campers, and I was under the false impression that I would escape any disasters. I was horribly wrong. About halfway through the concert the girl in front of me fainted, collapsing into a heap at my feet. Myself and her friends were lifting her up, while I used my free hand to desperately signal to security that help was needed. Thankfully, it wasn’t not long until she was brought out and had regained consciousness. A song or two later, the unmistakable smell of urine wafted through the air and my internal alarm bells were blaring. I checked my clothing and the floor around me and was relieved to find that whoever had thrown away their dignity was elsewhere in the pit (but still much too close). With the smell of urine still lingering in the air, my attention was once again pulled from the band as I heard a commotion behind me. I turned to discover that, around three rows behind me, a girl had puked all over the pit floor. I made way for the poor arena staff to clean up, and returned to staring at 5SOS, desperate to remove what I had just witnessed from my memory (it is still very much present and I can picture it more clearly than I can the members). Throughout this constant cycle of staff diving into the pit, 5SOS seemed completely unfazed and showed no reaction to the events at hand. Some might say this was inconsiderate, but I was glad as stopping the music was hardly going to stop that girl from hurling up her week of meal deals. Their relaxed demeanour to the happenings in the pit seemed to confirm that such events are common occurrences and almost expected. 

But how has such behaviour become normalised? How has spending days in a tent without showering or eating hot meals become a common practice for securing the front row at a concert? Why was I okay with queuing for twelve hours just to be four rows closer compared to when I only queued for two? By the end of the trip, myself and my friends were beyond wrecked, and feeling fairly nasty after three days of food from 24-hour convenience stores. I don’t regret my decision to queue, however I do wish I could have had a slightly less stressful and more nutritious trip that included sitting down to eat. 

I hate fangirls. 

Not the individuals who identify as ‘fangirls’, but rather the culture that has been built around them. Attending such concerts and interacting with the artists that people idolise brings so much joy. Unforgettable memories and friendships are formed during these times. However, the behaviour in relation to queuing is far from safe or healthy. I’ve met many girls who have been sleeping in alleyways by themselves with nothing more than a jacket from the age of sixteen all for barrier-adjacent positioning at concerts. 

These fans go through so much to support their idols, but they disregard caring for themselves while they’re at it. When I ate my first proper meal of the week the day after the London concert, I felt like one of those stars who has just left the jungle from I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, with staff members trying to snatch their fifth packet of crisps before they throw it all back up. I know within the next few weeks the back pains and the smell of urine will fade from memory (I hope), and all that will be left will be the incredible photographs and videos in my camera roll (not incredible because I have skills, but due to the close proximity in which they were taken). And before I know it, I’ll no doubt be gearing up to queue for my next concert. The cycle will continue, more poor girls will pass out from exhaustion and hunger and the weight bearing activity of fangirling will carry on, because we never really learn, do we?

Oh how I hate fangirls.

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