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Yondr pouches at concerts are not the future

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You wait in line all day, and finally, the doors are opened. You get shoved through the metal detectors, make your way through the bag check and finally, your phone is locked into a small fabric pouch. You sit around and wait for the show to begin, completely contactless from the outside world.

This scenario is becoming a reality now at various occasions due to the Yondr pouch. Schools, courts, hospitals, concerts, and comedy shows everywhere are starting to take advantage of this new piece of technology. When one enters the venue, their phone is taken, put into a small pouch where they are unassessable and locked, and then given back to the user. The pouch remains locked until either the attendee exits the venue or they enter a designated phone area where employees can unlock phones and supervise users.

Locking phones at concerts is one of the worst ideas in regards to safety I have heard in a long time. The idea that locking phones at concerts can solve problems is ridiculous, especially considering the problems that locking phones create.

Personally, why would you want to lock phones away at concerts? I understand it can be frustrating to the performer to look into the audience and just see a sea of screens, but what other damage does a phone really cause?

Honestly, phones do so much for the up and coming artist at events. People take pictures at an event and post them all over the internet giving bands free publicity. Social media plays such a large part in the music scene today and phones at concerts help the upcoming artist grow. People see posts from a live show and can become interested in that band from a simple video.

I do understand phones being in Yondr pouches in court, at comedy shows, or during Broadway shows. Banning phones provide protection for the artist allowing them to profit from their hard work. Relating to protection, phones at concerts provide safety for all concert goers.

This may be dramatic, but truthfully, phones have literally saved lives at concerts. Manchester. Vegas. Paris.

Concerts may appear to be a safe place, but from these tragedies, we’ve learned that quite easily people take advantage of the large crowds to inflict damage. Speaking from experience, my mom gets nervous about me even driving. When I drive somewhere busy or a far distance, she wants to know when I get there to make sure I’m safe. On top of that, my parents rightfully want to know how much later until I’ll be home. If someone were to prevent access to my phones at concerts, my parents would get nervous not knowing if I made it there safe. I would be nervous if I couldn’t contact my parents or emergency services.

A lot can happen at a concert. Concerts have been places of attack, but every day you hear stories about people getting trampled, people having a seizure because of the lights, or someone could be making you feel uncomfortable and unsafe. I’ve been to so many concerts, and I’ve seen all of this happen. By depriving me of my phone during one of these events, I automatically lose that element of security and safety I crave during these stressful times.

Additionally, I’ve lost my friends at concerts a countless number of times. Mosh pits happen, crowds push, and people get separated. I’ve been able to locate my friends easily and quickly because we were allowed to use our phones. Had we not been able to use our phones, who knows what would have happened.

This may be dramatic, but truthfully, phones have literally saved lives at concerts.”

On top that, concerts are just music. Why is the artist so hurt about their live songs being in video form? People who want to take videos at concerts do it to have the memories documented for later. It’s not just about the music, it’s about being able to relive the moment when you watch the videos down the road. If it was just about the music, people would just listen to the albums. People want to remember the magical night of seeing one of their favorite artists live, and they will never have that exact experience again.

Watching concert videos on YouTube doesn’t necessarily discourage fans from buying tickets because each show is different. In the case of Broadway musicals and comedy shows, things are the same every time. Same jokes, same sets, same choreography, same costumes and more. So for those events, I understand the banning of phones. However, I do not see a problem with videotaping a band and showing your friends.

All things considered, I believe that locking phones into little pouches at concerts does more harm than good. It may be easier for the artist to perform, but they must think about the risks in regard to the common audience member. An artist choosing to ban phones makes a selfish decision that puts themselves above the audience member. At certain events, yes I believe Yondr pouches are appropriate and sometimes necessary. But at concerts, I think it’s just an additional unnecessary step for venues and artists to make.

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About the Writer
Sarah Obermeyer, Managing Editor of Photography

Sarah is a senior entering her second year writing on staff for The Central Trend. Sarah thinks her enthusiasm for writing sprouted from her love for reading...

9 Comments

9 Responses to “Yondr pouches at concerts are not the future”

  1. j238 on January 31st, 2018 8:26 am

    Sarah,
    I hope you can become willing and able to enjoy life’s moments without relying on a phone.
    J

  2. A on February 9th, 2018 2:33 am

    It won’t be any more dangerous than it was pre-cellphone days. You pick a meeting spot if you and your friends get separated. You text your mom right when you get to the venue and again right when you get out. We need to learn how to live again without being so dependent on smart phones. It wasn’t exactly the wild west 10 years ago. It can be done. People just need to learn how to do it.

  3. Jenn on February 13th, 2018 11:59 am

    I was doing some research about Yondr and came across your article. It made me profoundly sad. I am hoping you will research and rethink your position. With proper planning, common sense and critical thinking you can enjoy almost anything without a cell phone safely, be it a concert or travel in a foreign country.
    It is not as though people only became safe 10 years ago when they started bringing their phones everywhere or that people were in constant danger before they owned smart phones 15 years ago. Take reasonable precautions, prearrange a meeting spot with your friends in case you get separated. Text your mom as soon as you arrive at a concert so she knows you got there safely. If necessary, go to one of the designated phone areas to have an employee open your pouch so that you can text her again. It is the modern day equivalent of using a pay phone.
    If, heaven forbid, the worst should ever happen, there will be employees and staff with their cell phones who can call 911 while you get to safety. Once you are in a safe place, you can cut or rip into the pouch to get your phone. I am sure that the people at Yondr, would understand in that circumstance. Let’s remember, hundreds of people calling 911 at once only floods the system. Also, there is a marked spike lately of people in dangerous situations videotaping or texting friends or posting to social media. The number of videos and livestreams that were taken by people in the middle of events like Las Vegas is startling. More and more there is a risk that cell phones might actually detract from large crowds being safe or from helping each other. Imagine being hurt and someone taking a video instead of helping you or stopping to take a video while running for your life. But it is happening. And again, you do have your cell phone on you, it is just in a locked cloth pouch. If any of the things you mention in your article happen an employee can come over and unlock your phone pouch for you or make the necessary phone calls to your parents, etc.
    Lastly I also hope you take the time to more thoroughly research the position of the musicians instituting this ban. If you do, you will read about how disheartening it can be to look out on all cell phones, how it raises inhibitions. You mention the promotional value of social media and phones for bands. That is really only the case for lesser known and unknown artists. By having people lock away the cell phones, it prevents illegal recordings and allows artists to be open and free with the audience. It is not merely annoying. it is an entirely different experience. Mostly you will read about how when the cell phones go away the musicians and the audience have a more engaged, more authentic and more fun time. How it promotes dancing. You will read how the audience is giving the musician the respect of their full attention and that is reflected back in more energy and typically a better concert from the musician. Which results in more energy and fun from the crowd. It’s a cycle. You say people want the videos for the memories, artists would say they want people to participate in the concert in the here and now. When all parties are truly engaged it creates an entirely different and amazing experience. One I sincerely hope you get to take part in, safely.

  4. Chris on February 22nd, 2018 6:36 pm

    You say that the artist is being selfish and putting themselves above the audience members. Aren’t they above the audience members? Isn’t that why the audience is paying to see them? And if members of the audience don’t like that the musician doesn’t want cell phones, then they can choose not to buy those tickets and not to go to those concerts. It certainly does not seem to be hurting sales to these musician’s concerts since more and more and more musicians and venues are doing this all the time. It is the musician’s right to use Yondr if they want. Bottom line: if you dont like, dont go to the concert.

  5. Daniel on April 28th, 2018 6:18 pm

    Except it’s not twenty years ago is it, it’s now. Twenty years ago the world was more dangerous wouthout us having smartphones in emergencies, it was just seen as ok because it had never been different. Like medicine before antibiotics. And concert attacks weren’t such a problem.

    And your solution above are laughable, the employees will unlock them? No they won’t they’ll have scarpered. “You still have your phone it’s just in a locked cloth pouch” exactly that it the point it prevents you from using it so you can’t use it in an emergency, still having it in your pocket it irrelevant. You can rip it open, that depends on how strong you are and if you’re unable to do so because you’re injured or in shock? And all of the above delays emergency service arrival even if you can rip open the pouch after you’ve run to a safe place. Texting people you’re there when you arrive does absolutely nothing in the event of an emergency.

    Fact is sooner or later this idea will be involved in delaying the arrival of the emergency services and that will be that for it.

  6. Lisa Adkins on June 9th, 2018 10:23 am

    There are stations that you walk up to where you can unlock your phone yourself at any time. They are just positioned in the concourse and near washrooms. Then you can use your phone to update your mom and dad as to your arrival time. Or do what I did growing up. “mom we should be home around 1AM.”
    You are upset that while you are waiting in your seat for the show to start you won’t be able to use your phone. Here is an idea, talk to the people you are with!! Talking in person with someone promotes health and well being. Scrolling on your phone does the opposite.
    Regarding emergency situations, such as terrorism I don’t think that you will be staring at your phone when you are trying to exit the venue after a bomb goes off or when you are trying to run from an active shooter. Every venue has emergency procedures in place. Security staff will be more than capable of activating EMS.

  7. Melissa on July 18th, 2018 3:17 pm

    I agree with everything that Jenn said. I’d be curious to know how the writer and people commenting are, it would be interesting to see how the points made reflect the time they’ve grown up in. I’m 33 and have had a cell phone since I was 16 or 17, of course my first 2 or 3 barely did anything more than make a phone call. I’ve had a smart phone for +/- 10 years for business and personal use so I’m usually on it quite a bit so I’m a millennial (though hate to admit it) and remember not having cell phones. I started researching Yondr because I’m going to a show next week that is using them though I’ve already decided that I’d just leave my phone in the hotel room.

    I think the pouches are GREAT! In the past, I’ve been to shows that you were allowed to use phones and ones where you had to put them on silent and in your pocket/purse. I went to a Vegas show in December where I had to ask an elderly woman to lower her phone because it was right in my line of sight, people only think about getting the recording or the photos to show people later, not about the people behind them or the artist in front of them. I have no problem putting my phone away for a couple of hours.

    If there is a family emergency where someone is in the hospital, whether you get the message at the time or an hour later, it doesn’t make a difference, unless you’re their doctor, you can’t do anything to help them. If there’s an emergency at the venue, get out and worry about finding a knife or pair of scissors later to open the pouch. As far as telling a parent where you’re going and when you’ll be home, it’s simple, just text or call when you get there and say ‘Hey, I’m here. The event makes me put my phone in this super cool locked pouch so I’m not on it during the show. If it runs late, I’ll let you know as soon as I get out’. Your mom will want the Yondr pouches for the next family dinner after hearing that!

    Every article I’ve read talks about the emergency situations being such a concern, which is a very low probability compared to a person’s need to Snapchat, Instagram or Tweet their night away. It’s only within the last couple of years that airplanes have had wifi and on most, it is still at a cost so if you can put your phone away on a plane ride for a couple of hours, why can’t you put it away for a concert?

  8. Rob Baker on September 18th, 2018 1:38 pm

    This may be dramatic, but truthfully, phones have literally saved lives at concerts. Manchester. Vegas. Paris.

    You’re right; it is dramatic. It most definitely is not truthful or literal at any of those locations.

  9. John on October 19th, 2018 9:32 am

    Locking away phones doesn’t prevent anything. Illegal activities can easily still take place unless you want to Xray and strip search everyone – which is probably the next step. This is just a gross inconvenience to law abiding folks who are forced to lose their connection. I am plenty old enough to remember the no phone days and quite simply phones have improved life. One should not stand for this silliness and boycott such programs. It is not about putting down a phone it is about taking away our freedoms – some do abuse this but most do not.

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Yondr pouches at concerts are not the future