How to Finesse Your Way to the Front of a Crowd

I have just  one claim to fame: I will always get to the front of a crowd. I’ve touched the hands of Lil Yachty, Solange Knowles, the Weeknd, Macklemore and various other artists while in attendance at their concerts. I showed up late to Michelle Obama when she came to campus and I still got close enough to give her a hug at the end. It’s not easy getting up to the front though. People are pushy, cramped, and generally pretty mean, so it takes some finesse. I’ve got a few tips and I’ll use my most recent experience at III Points music festival as example.

  1. Early is best

  • This one’s pretty obvious. If you get there early you’ll beat the crowd in the first place. I can’t speak to this one for III points though because I actually got there pretty late. Still made it to the front for Tyler.

  1. Pay attention to micro-movements

  • When the person in front of you turns to talk to their friend, fill that space. When I first got to Tyler I ended up separated from the people I went to the festival with and ended up in the middle of a group of friends. As they turned to talk or take pictures or whatever, I was moving very slightly into the spaces they left open. This will get you in front of at least a few people before the artist even comes on.

  1. Be Patient

  • Pushing through the crowd before the concert starts doesn’t work. You’re going to make people mad and just squish everyone around you. Wait until the performer comes on. Before Tyler came on, I was like middle, twenty rows back. Of course I was taking small steps as described, but I stayed pretty far back until the concert started.

  1. Dance your way through

  • Usually, the first song that an artist comes on with is one of the most hype of the night. Tyler came out strong with “Where this Flower Blooms” and immediately the whole crowd started jumping. That’s the time to jump through people. Use that moment and make your way up.

  1. Be very apologetic and nice

  • Act as if you don’t know how you got to where you are. Apologize to people who you are cramped against. At III Points, the girls I ended up near were so mean. They elbowed me and shoved me when I got up to their spot. Yes, I could have elbowed right back or bowed down, but I just apologized. Say things like, “I’m so sorry, I honestly don’t know how I got up here.” Yes, you do, but they don’t need to know that. Those girls left me alone and then I made it past them. Kindness is key.

I’m not going to lie, the most effective finesse has a few prerequisites. 1. It really helps to be a girl. I don’t have to deal with big guys being mean to me and I’m sure it would be much more difficult if I weren’t a female. That said, it’s not impossible. 2. You have to be willing to lose track of your friends. Individuals make it to the front, not groups. I watched Tyler mostly by myself and found my friends after. If you’re not there solely for the music, choose your friends.Tyler’s my favorite rapper, so it was a night to get to the front.

Getting to the front takes both some skill and some finesse. Use these tips to make your way up. You know where I’ll be at the next concert-- see if you can reach me.

Like I said, I showed up late to Tyler and did not start out close. Here are some of my photos from where I ended up:

Joanna Greenberg