Singer Maggie Rogers says she’s seeing more people passing out and having panic attacks at her gigs.
The American artist thinks it’s down to people being away from crowds and concerts for so long because of the coronavirus pandemic.
In an Instagram post, she asked her fans to stay hydrated and look after others around them.
Anxiety therapist Angela McMillan isn’t surprised people might be struggling as they get used to going out again.
She says it’s something she is seeing more and more in her counselling work.
“I think the lockdowns created a situation where people were at home, they weren’t around lots of people,” she tells Newsbeat.
“There was a lot of fear and anxiety around being in contact with other human beings when accessing things like loud noises or music.”
‘Weren’t able to dance’
In her Instagram post, singer-songwriter Maggie says gigs “may not be the most natural space after the couple years we’ve spent in the pandemic”.
Covid might feel like a long time ago for some, but Angela says we’ve only just started to make sense of what happened.
“We weren’t able to sing along to our favourite music, we weren’t able to dance around other people,” she says.
“And I think it still can feel like a bit of a shock and a surprise for some people.”
Someone who knows what it’s like to have to think about going back to a gig for the first time in ages is Sam Parsons.
The 21-year-old posted on TikTok about getting ready to go to her first concert since she was 16.
“The main difference between now and when I was 16 is that I now know I’m autistic and that brings a whole load of sensory issues,” she says.
“I am small so when I go to a concert and it’s an all-standing area I can’t see over people’s shoulders and it really feels like I’m boxed in.
“And when I am already anxious about being in a crowd of people, feeling boxed in and not being able to see anything but people around you, it’s really scary.”
Sam also says she has to think about the fact that she’s extra sensitive to noise.
“Whereas the music itself will calm me down, they are big industrial speakers with frequencies that I can hear but neurotypical people might not be able to hear,” she says.
She says she will be taking her sensory overload earplugs which minimise the higher pitched sounds.
In her Insta post, Maggie offers advice to her fans about keeping safe at her gigs – including staying hydrated and taking breaks from standing.
Angela also has advice for people who are still getting used to going out regularly.
“I think one of the first things I say to people is just do things at your own pace,” she says.
“Just because your friends are going out every day or doing loads of stuff, it doesn’t mean you have to do it at the same pace as them.”
She has also has some top tips for people who might be struggling with anxiety at gigs:
- Make a connection – Let people know you’re feeling a bit strange. That can be as simple as grabbing on to a friend’s arm so you’ve got contact with someone else
- Breathe slowly – One of the first things that changes is your ability to breathe deeply or in a normal way. Making your out breath a little bit longer starts to calm things down
- Distraction – Pick a colour to focus your attention on and scan around to focus on anything that colour. You could also pay attention to a smell or focus on the music