On June 20th, A Day To Remember posted a video to their Facebook page. The clip was filmed at the Download Festival and shows the band surprising a fan by meeting her in person.
What struck me and other ADTR fans who have seen the clip is how this fan kept her cool as she met the band. One commenter went as far as to say “seriously wanna punch this chick in the head.”
I know things get heated on the Internet. People often say things online they don’t mean, or wouldn’t say in real life. But let’s remember: everybody here is already on the band’s fanpage. This means we have that much in common, at least. Well? So does the girl who was lucky enough to meet the band’s members. Shouldn’t this count for something?
There are already so many ways we fight to win our reputation as true fans: We compare the number of times we’ve seen the band; we fib about how long we listened to them before they went big; we recount the number of times we’ve seen them. Do we have to judge others for how they react when they meet their favourite band, too?
Another commentator wrote, “That was the most boring reaction…you should of [sic] chosen someone else, ungrateful!”
Imagine if Rocksound had done exactly that. Imagine ADTR choosing someone else after seeing the girl’s not-quite camera-ready reaction. When the truth got out — and you know it would — we would have gone nuts. We would have called both the magazine and the band out for rigging the contest, for playing our affections for a cheap photo-op.
So why are some ADTR fans so quick to judge other fans? Simple: It’s easier for these critics to discredit the winner’s legitimacy than it is for them to admit their own jealousy.
Another commentator attempted to add a greater sense of perspective to the fan’s circumstances. “Sometimes when you meet someone you always wanted to meet, you act differently,” they wrote. “I’m pretty sure her whole body was numb and couldn’t believe it was real.”
We express ourselves differently. Maybe when you met your idol, you became a sobbing mess. Or maybe when you met somebody you had admired for so long from so far away, you stood in their presence, quietly stunned. Neither reaction has any bearing on how much you do or do not love their work, how true a fan you are.
Another consideration to make before we blurt out our judgement of the winner of the Rocksound contest? There were cameras backstage at the Download Festival. When we are being filmed, some of us have no trouble behaving naturally. But most of us tend to feel self-conscious and nervous as we become painfully aware of the lens’s unceasing gaze.
Aside from ADTR, Papa Roach and Young Guns are also part of the Rocksound competition. Out of the three winners, the fan who met Young Guns, Molly, seemed to react the most according to The Rulebook of Meeting Your Favourite Band. But even so, she remained relatively poised in the Young Guns presence. Maybe the difference between how these fans behave and how we expect ourselves to in the same circumstance is really just a difference of culture. Maybe social expectations in England dictate a more subdued, even humble reaction to such moments of good fortune.
Of course, these are general statements. They can’t speak for all the English. But as generalizations, they do speak to a specific truth: There are as many different ways of being a fan of a band as there are a band’s fans. Consider the Falling In Reverse fan who came from Peru to the United States for the Warped Tour last year and wound up meeting Ronnie Radke. Festivals like the Warped Tour or Download don’t come to South America like they do North America and the UK. Meeting the frontman to her favorite band was a step or two beyond a once in a lifetime experience for her, because it was so much more unlikely to happen to a fan from her part of the world.
So you can excuse her if she freaked out a little:
It seems anything a fan does in this situation will be held up to all other fans’ scrutiny. If you meet your idol and fall apart at their feet, some fans will call you crazy. But if you meet your idol and treat them with respect, other fans will call you ungrateful.
Indeed, the Rocksound winner’s reactions wasn’t typical reality TV material. The scene wasn’t loud and spectacular in its rawness. Nor did it feed much into the slick photo-op somebody in the band’s management had no doubt bargained for when ADTR signed up with Rocksound. Yet, this is exactly why it was so refreshing to watch.
The problem with your typical video of a fan meeting their favorite band is it tends to hype the encounter beyond all decency. It treats the fan’s passion as a spectacle in waiting; as a prop to be pulled out of its satchel by the band’s marketing team. Such videos rub away a little of the original gesture’s kindness. And the fans who act according to these behaviours become unwitting numbers in the publicists’ calculations.
Let’s not forget, most of these videos are staged by companies for promotional purposes, like this one, with Justin Bieber. And this touching video of Justin Timberlake surprising his “Superfans” is also part of a promotion for his recent album. If there’s a camera crew on hand to catch it, then you can bet the encounter wasn’t serendipitous. These videos are incredibly successful as marketing tools. But they also uphold the Rulebook of Meeting Your Favourite Band, which often acts more as a guide for making us forget our favourite artists are also human. Just as we are made even more human when we are touched by their work. And it’s this essential connection between audience and musician that gets lost in our competition to prove we’re the number one fan.сайтпроверка склейки домена