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Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her forthcoming gigs

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With just a week to go until the general public finally get to see Kate Bush play a live concert for the first time in 35 years, the singer and musician has today asked fans not to film, or photograph the experience.

She has left the following message via her website:

” We have purposefully chosen an intimate theatre setting rather than a large venue or stadium. It would mean a great deal to me if you would please refrain from taking photos or filming during the shows. I very much want to have contact with you as an audience, not with iPhones, iPads or cameras. I know it’s a lot to ask but it would allow us to all share in the experience together.

Looking forward to seeing you there.
                 Respectfully yours,
                       Kate.”

This creates an interesting dilemma. I’m sure many Kate fans understand her request (and from a punter point of view it is a little irritating having to look around a phone held aloft right in front of you to see what’s going on), but on the other hand everyone will want some way to capture what is quite likely to be a genuine once-in-a-lifetime experience for most people.

Is she expecting a little too much? If you are going, let us know what you think about this.

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60 responses to Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her forthcoming gigs

  1. revroth says:

    “…everyone will want some way to capture what is quite likely to be a genuine once-in-a-lifetime experience for most people.”

    I have to respectfully respond to this with a dissenting opinion. Yes, I’m sure many people will want to “capture” the event, but that’s not what a live event is about, and it’s obviously not what the artist wants this to be about. People didn’t buy a ticket to a photo opportunity or an autograph signing and the price of admission doesn’t entitle you to such–it entitles you to a concert. I hope the audience respects Kate’s wishes and doesn’t give her cause to regret breaking her 35-year absence from the stage.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      The reality is that at virtually ALL gigs people go mad filming, taking photos etc. Whatever you, me or Kate thinks the “live event” should be about, that is the reality.

      She’s not banning cameras and Kate fans being a loyal bunch it will probably be better respected than other artists, but the question remains, isn’t it a little bit unreasonable to expect fans not to take a photo?

      • revroth says:

        Paul, I can only offer that I think it is unreasonable to take a photo of another human being who has respectfully asked you not to, under any circumstance. Okay, maybe if they’re in the midst of committing a violent crime, but I don’t think Kate’s likely to do that on stage at these shows.

        Would it be more reasonable for Kate to accept the behaviour you outline and decide she doesn’t want to perform live at all under these circumstances? She’s putting herself out there and asking people to join her in connecting without the mediation of their devices, a request that will probably be rudely ignored. I suspect most fans are happier with her performing and her wishes being blatantly disrespected than they would be with her staying at home undisturbed.

        • Paul Sinclair says:

          I accept your argument to a degree… but you are ignoring the fact that Kate has been out of the public eye for so long. She hasn’t played a live concert for 35 years. It’s a bit like a long lost auntie knocking on your door for a cup of tea after 35 years and when you suggest you get a photo of the two of you, she says ‘no’. If Kate toured every three or four years then her request might not be much of a big deal.

          Don’t get me wrong, I hate all that camera phone malarkey as much as the next man… but (luckily for us) she has chosen to put her head above the parapet in a public arena. And there’s the rub – it’s a public arena. We’re not standing at the top of a ladder with a camera peering over into her back garden trying to get a photo. We’re paying in some cases £150+ to see her. Am I going to try and get a sneaky shot or two with a normal camera? Yes. Am I going to film with a smart phone held aloft? No.

          • revroth says:

            But Paul, your aunt has that right to say no, as does Kate. Would it really lessen the experience of reconnecting with your aunt not to have a photo?

            And it’s not a public space like a street or the greengrocers. It’s a concert where she has explicitly requested no photography. If the experience of seeing her and being in the moment isn’t worth the money to you without getting photos, why go? I’m sure you could sell the ticket at a tidy profit. Why is your sense of entitlement to a photo worth more to you than the event Kate is trying to create? You realize that you are, with forethought and intent, going to disrespect the wishes of a woman who evidently means a lot to you.

          • revroth says:

            I would also ask, why is that photo so important to you that it’s worth that? Will it really make the concert less special to you to not have it?

            And what about the people around you who may be distracted by your photography and concerned that their concert experience will be interrupted if security sees you and comes over to confront you?

            At the end of the day, why is “because I want it” a compelling argument to disrespect the wishes of another human being?

          • Paul Sinclair says:

            Hmmm. I love Kate but the pedestal I put her on is nothing like as high as yours evidently is. I mean why does anyone ever bother taking any photo ever?! By your logic no one ever needs to take a photo to remember an evident or a place or a meeting. The event should be ‘good enough’.

            Why is ‘because I DON’T want it’ (Kate’s stance) such a compelling argument? Give me a break. She’s a musician not some goddess or queen whose wishes must always be obeyed. I’m not going to be racked with guilt because I take a couple of snaps and Kate would prefer that not to happen. I didn’t want to pay £150 for a ticket. You Don’t Always Get What You Want. I would have liked Kate to release some albums between 1993 and 2005. Was she disrespecting the wish of this human being by not delivering?

    • Lulu says:

      Funny story – unrelated, but not. The last time I saw Diana Ross (early summer) she grabbed a fan’s iPad and started taking selfies…it was kind of cool.

      • revroth says:

        Paul, at the end of the day, I think we’ll have to agree to disagree, but I remain a fan of your terrific site!

        I’ll close with some quick responses and then gotta dash, please forgive the brevity.

        I’m actually not a particular Kate fan, actually. It’s not her I’m putting on a pedestal, but other people in general.

        I do take photos of family, friends, etc at events, but it’s always consensual. If my girlfriend or Mom or anyone doesn’t want to be photographed at that moment, I respect their wishes. I’m not quibbling with the value anyone puts on photos in their life, but I’m personally not comfortable snapping a shot of anyone who clearly doesn’t want it. That’s why I think Kate’s wishes here carry more weight than the audiences.

        Regarding ticket prices and degree of output, I will only say that I don’t think wanting things from someone that they don’t/won’t give entitles us to take what we want from them when we have the chance because we might get away with it. That seems to me like the kind of thinking that is destroying the livelihoods of recording artists as well as the industry that produces the box sets and deluxe packages that people like you and I love so much.

        Again, I love the site and hope we can part from this debate respectfully. Thanks for listening to so much of my opinion and I’m sorry we couldn’t reach greater concordance!

        J

  2. DJ Control says:

    Should be more of it. If you want a memento buy a programme.

  3. Alan Fenwick says:

    I will be attending one of these shows and while I was a bit surprised at the request, I can fully understand why she is asking this of everyone.

    I’ve been to a lot of shows over the years and whereas I see absolutely nothing wrong with taking a few souvenir photographs for you personal memories etc. However time and time again you see far too many people watching near enough a full live show through their mobiles and it becomes a talking point in itself and can become very distracting, afterall you go to a live show to watch a live show, not your phone, tablet or camera.

    I think the request was made in a very sincere way and I for one will abide by it.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      I think this is spot on. If it was one or two photos fine, but you’re right people holding phones up for long periods already thinking about posting on YouTube is a bit much. Perhaps if Kate came out and confirmed what most people are hoping – that there will be a blu-ray release then that might dissuade people from going overboard.

  4. NS says:

    I rather imagine, now that KB has made her wishes known, that it’ll be the fans who will police (for want of a better word) the fans who don’t respect Kate.

  5. DaveDogFacedBoy says:

    There will no doubt be notices in the venue and an announcement before the show. But people will still do it anyway.

    Ushers will be asked to pounce on people so I hope we won’t have to put up with the far more annoying experience of them charging around yelling at people to put their phones away.

    But broadly speaking – good. No one wants your blurred shot from Row Z with flash lightning up the people in the row in front of you.

    • VanceMan says:

      Hey, I will be literally in Row Z (better than no row at all). I’ve hated photo snapping and filming during concerts for years and applaud her request. I’m sure part of this is about audience interaction and partially about spoiling the show for others during its run.

      I am sure, however, that there will be a formal filming of the show for broadcast / purchase towards the end of the run. It will be one of the main ways she’ll be able to make some money back on the event. (I deeply suspect, from the bits ‘n’ pieces that have sneaked out, that the show will be extravagant, i.e., costly to produce.)

  6. Ron I says:

    I personally hate smart phones at concerts. It’s not about the performance anymore, but just about another stupid human saying “look at me and what I’m doing I’m specialer than you.” Ugh. To top it off, the majority of stuff is so horribly shot it’s unwatchable.

    Maybe the solution is to allow one or two songs where people can play with their phones and get it out of their systems. Then, after that, the rest of us can enjoy the show.

  7. tonka says:

    God Bless her – what wonderful innocence. I really would love for the audience to respect her wishes . . but in reality it is unlikely to happen . . however KB Live BR or DVD Box Set in time for Christmas? easy-peasy. . .

  8. Gary C says:

    Didn’t some people ignore those same house rules at Prince’s Roundhouse gigs and get thrown out? I’m sure I read that somewhere…

  9. My Jelly says:

    I am attending one of the gigs good decision Bushy. All phone/cameras should be banned they’re a distraction. Listen to the music watch the event not through metal and plastic. These are unique concerts which will no doubt be recorded officially for prosperity and released in various formats to capture those magic moments. The second biggest headache will be those that feel they need half a gallon of Carling lager yuk! to appreciate KB they then turn into Zeberdee from the Magic Roundabout up and bleedin’ down because their bladders are full ‘get a life’ appreciate a rare outing of such a wonderful artiste

  10. Francis says:

    Why do people want to see concerts through a gadget? They need to get a life and turn them off now and again!

  11. Chris.L. says:

    An upfront announcement that a blu will be released at a later date would certainly stop many people from watching the show through their phones! Let’s face it, if any audience is going to adhere to an artists wishes, it’s a Kate Bush audience. I wasn’t able to get a ticket, but even so, I won’t lose any sleep if no clips appear on Youtube. I’ll just be jealous of the people that have got tickets in the same way that I’m STILL jealous of the people that got to see her on the Tour Of Life!! For the lucky fans that are attending the gigs, I hope the show is as special as one hopes it’s going to be. Right, I’ve succeeded in thoroughly depressing myself -lol. Time to dig out a Kate cd and read a bit more of the Homeground anthology!!

  12. lee sharp says:

    Hope She and more bands follow Peter Framptons example , Iphones I pads etc are a pain at Gigs.

  13. Urs says:

    Last year I saw Björk at the Berlin Festival and she made a similar demand to the fans prior to the concert via a written message, promising that high quality photos of every show would be put up on her website shortly afterwards. (I never checked if this actually happened.). Most people seemed to respect that wish, as there were much less phones and cameras up in the air as during the other concerts.

  14. Tom M says:

    It’s a legitimate request and I can hazard a guess as to who will respect it and who won’t. The older fans that have been following her music for decades will give her the respect. The actual iPad generation brats that could care less will not, after all, the show is about them because they are present and need to be seen. Good luck, Kate.

  15. popy says:

    “on the other hand everyone will want some way to capture what is quite likely to be a genuine once-in-a-lifetime experience for most people.”

    They don’t need to. See those people in the pit with big camera lenses? They work for the press. In the next day, photos in very high quality of the event (specially if the event is from a big name) will be posted online, so you don’t need your blurry and shacky photos.

  16. Tom says:

    Good for her. I hope others follow suit. It’s even worse when people are texting during a concert. Why?

    People can capture the moments somewhere – their memory.

  17. DP says:

    “Look at me! I’m at a show! I got part of every song! It was awesome as you can see with this grainy video! Whoo hoo!!!”

  18. tim says:

    About time! My wife and I can’t afford to go to many shows, plays, etc so when we do it is literally a treat. To be surrounded by cretins who are unable to disconnect (and shut up) for two hours is absolutely irritating, distracting and unnecessary.

  19. SimonP says:

    Easy solution for the numpties: go to ebay, search for spy glasses, buy spy glasses, wear spy glasses to gig, film gig using spy glasses without having to hold a phone up in front of you or upsetting the artist on stage and then upload your shonky results to youtube where literally no-one will be interested.

  20. David Olstein says:

    <>

    Agreed. I assume that that this will be a very elaborate show with a static setlist. If she’d only announce that a complete performance will be officially released after the run, I think that go a long way to preventing people from recording the shows themselves. Perhaps she could talk to Peter Gabriel, who has been releasing authorized bootlegs of his concerts for years.

  21. william says:

    It’s long overdue the use of phones has gone beyond saturation point, more artists should make statements like this, savour the moment, enjoy the experience don’t film excessively and then watch or upload inferior quality clips that shake and have distorted sound, what’s the point?….imagine…I waited 35 years to see Kate then watched her thru a phone lens,

    What a waste, maybe the compromise if one is needed is to use the acessvthe press get…the first three songs for a photo opportunity then cameras away.

  22. Hans says:

    At most concerts i’ve been recently taking pictures is a minor problem. The main problem is people speaking to their friends through most of the concert. Can you imagine how annoying this is? Not only during the songs pause. No during the complete set no matter if ballads or metal songs etc.

  23. bob says:

    I have managed to get a ticket and I am hoping that this will be a different kind of audience for these shows. Watching the show rather than taking pics and talking loudly throughout. Lets hope so. If anyone sat next to me starts talking loudly or taking pics I will tell them to stop straight away.

  24. Baward says:

    Its like the prize pillock who was one of those invited onto the stage with Nile Rodgers and Chic at Glastonbury who felt compelled to film it on his iPad – on the stage! Wasn’t it exciting enough already?!

    Guitar genius Pat Metheny hates camera phone use at gigs too, as he says it doesn’t allow him to even try out and develop new musical ideas, before they get filmed and uploaded to Youtube.

  25. Daran says:

    I agree with Paul on first comment. Some people (mainly young but not always) live for and in their smartphones. They simply can’t help themselves. It’s one of many sad indictments of modern life / society that people can’t turn their bloody phones off for more than a few minutes. Going in KB’s favour is that as she says herself the venue is small, so there is that intimacy that the O2 etc don’t have. But I doubt that will stop some people. You see them right from the intro they are recording HD quality video for major portions of the show.

    Recently at the 1st Eagles show at said O2 they had announcements over the video screens that ‘for your enjoyment and those next to you’ the Eagles kindly request you do not film or take photos. That brought a chuckle, and a groan that this was Irving Azoff’s gentle way of maximising the DVD sales when it comes out, but still there were those that were filming. It was even repeated at the interval. Second half, same thing with some people doing it. Older people should know better, but apparently not. With kids the artist may as well just give it up – they will never pay attention to a request like that.

    What was more baffling is that hear we were being entertained by one of the all time great bands, possibly for the last time in the UK and there was this woman in front of me checking her emails on her Iphone. Great talent is wasted on some people…….

    • auteur55 says:

      St. Vincent does the same thing at her show. Has an announcement saying to please not use phones but enjoy the experience live. First song starts and phones and flashing every where. Grown adults can’t honor this simple request or they just don’t care. It’s why I hate leaving the house.

      Mark Kozelek has taken this head on. He bans phones completely and will call out an audience member if he see’s one.

  26. Dean says:

    Mobile phones at live events are the Bain of 21st century concerts.
    Who on earth , anyway wants to watch some crap recording with crap sound and blurred images. It’s a nonsense and should be forbidden by everyone, not just Kate.

  27. auteur55 says:

    Good for her I wish more artists would do this. Phones should be just as taboo at a concert as at a movie theater. People paid to watch a performance and should be able to do so un-interrupted and without people flashing bright lights and talking through the whole thing. I’m continually beyond astonished at how we’ve allowed our live performances to descend into a rude, loud, drunken social hour with friends.

  28. Eric says:

    The comments here give me hope that some sort of sense remains in this world! Couldn’t agree more, and I privately despair at acts who indulge this nonsense with gadgets by basing parts of the show around the bloody things (Howard Jones, I am looking at you). They should know better.

  29. Ranasakawa says:

    Why dont bands offer photos of their shows taken by professional photographers online after each show? Say $5 a pic, i’m sure Kate will be putting out a DVD of her concerts.

    • bob says:

      Apparently Jack White releases 100 photos of every show by a professional photographer with full access.
      I hear that Prince hates fans using their camera phones and security are very strict on enforcing the ban.

  30. Danny says:

    I no longer go to live shows because I have had too many spoiled by wankers who either don’t shut up or in some way distract me from the performance with their selfish antics. We all know there are going to be a lot of people at the Kate Bush gigs that want their egos massaged by showing off that they were there and only go to these things because of the hype and their need to be associated with it. They want to be the ones to upload the film or the photos, they want the kudos, that is the insular and pathetic world of social media.

    I have invested in a huge TV, nice surround set-up and made as nice a audio/video environment as possible so that I can enjoy either the Blu-ray or HD audio of a concert I missed live in total isolation and without the threat of the show being spoiled by the aforementioned selfish wankers that infest live gigs.

    I would go as far as banning all mobile devices completely and ejecting anybody using them, then it will stop. Yes, it spoils it for the people that just want a couple of photos as a memento but that is how society is, the majority of decent folk suffer because of the laws laid down to control the idiotic, moronic and selfish few.

  31. I was at a festival last weekend that didn’t allow photos and I thought that was total bullshit.

    I hate idiots who take photos non-stop, but as a paying customer with a decent camera, I feel like that if you’re going to charge me an arm and a leg, I should be able to snap some decent pics.

    The Yeah Yeah Yeahs have a good policy with this, first three songs, snap away, after that, put the cameras down. Seems like something like that would be best.

    • revroth says:

      LostTurntable, I would respectfully suggest that you are buying a ticket to a performance. If it is not billed as a photo opportunity, an autograph signing, what have you, and you are unhappy with that, don’t go.

      I’m reminded of the people who defend their piracy by saying they’ve gone to a lot of shows by artist X, so they’re “entitled” to steal an album on line rather than paying for it. I believe it was Elvis Costello or Robert Fripp who suggested that buying a ticket to a show entitles you to that show. Buying an album entitles you to that album. There are no further rights or obligations implied or otherwise. I’m not saying this is your argument, but I would suggest you view a ticket to a show as a ticket to a show and not burden your experience with expectations the performers may not be comfortable with or have agreed to.

  32. DJ Control says:

    The only instance I’ve seen this occurring at a concert recently was in 2012. Prince is one of the few artists that has a policy of no photos etc being taken during his performances because after all you are there to see a concert. And he is also very protective of how his image is perceived in public,as I’m sure Kate Bush is. I actually saw people getting threatened with eviction from the concert for violating the no filming policy at the Prince show. Can you imagine telling fans at a one direction concert that they’re not allowed to use their mobile phones. At the last U2 gig I went to Bono actually asked the entire audience to turn their mobile phones on and make the stadium light up. It is really all about different generational usages of technology but I agree wholeheartedly that with the performance of the kind Kate Bush will be giving that no phones all cameras would be such a great idea.

  33. Richard Harris says:

    I’m going on the first night so will be interested to see how people respond to this and how rigourously it’s policed inside the venue. After all when you go to a theatre you’re asked to switch off mobile phones and any recording devices – the recording devices bit is well observed (who’d want a 5-minute video excerpt of a 3-hour play on their phone?) but you still get phones ringing. I’m sure a commercial release of the show is virtually guaranteed – hopefully sooner rather than later so that she capitalises on the extreme current level of interest in her work. Personally I find people pushing past me to go to and from the bar more irritating than people recording on phones, that and people yakking during quieter songs.

  34. Mike Bushell says:

    I never take photos or shoot video at a concert, but I’m heartily sick of people who do (as well as talk and keep getting up to go to the toilet because they’ve had too much to drink).

    At standing gigs it’s amazing the success you can have if you “acidentally” bump into someone.

    Has anyone ever seen anything good on Youtube from a hand held device?

    On the other hand it’s about time we were able to download or buy every concert we go to. Peter Gabriel does it in CD form, so why not every one else? much better than a rubbish programme or other piece of overpriced merchandise.

  35. revroth says:

    While I agree that announcing a Blu-Ray, photos for sale, etc might ameliorate some photography and filming, at the end of the day it troubles me that all these arguments come down to, “but this is what the audience wants from their experience/ticket price/life/etc, and here is an alternate way to give it to them.”

    How about an audience accepting that a live experience is a fragile and amazing thing that they are chipping away at with their expectations for mementos or souveneirs, and not going if they can’t deal with that? Why should Kate Bush owe people anything for the price of a ticket beyond the best show she can put on?

  36. Daran says:

    Follow up to @ Revroth & Mike B

    Many people would like the same as you, but sadly in these times of a slobbish, selfish culture with me me me attitude prevailing and many people having no respect for anything (art / special experiences / other people), I am afraid the chances of it happening are very slim. I was at the Fleetwood Mac O2 gig #2 when there was almost a fight over someone standing up all the way through in a top tier seat, meaning the person behind could not see. He said if you wanted to stand up you should have got a standing floor area ticket. To my surprise everybody jeered him. I mean it’s not as if he’s being unreasonable – I would be pretty p*ssed off too if I had paid £70+ for a ticket and not be able to see the band.

    Sadly we appear to be living in a decaying values society, a graceless age no less and I don’t see anything changing soon.

  37. Perhaps she could do what Eddie Vedder did at Hammersmith: pause, ask that everyone who wanted to take pictures take it there and then, and continue.

    Personally I “endured” twenty-odd years of gig-going in the days when tickets T&Cs routinely banned recording devices and cameras. Happily I am completely unscarred by this deprivation and have hundreds of happy memories that mean more than a blurry photo or wobbly film

    And having to watch a stage through other people’s iPhones is one of the reasons why I go to far fewer gigs these days.

  38. Mr Tim says:

    Sadly i agree with every word of the above comment. Have seen this before as well, again upper tier of the o2 back in 2007 (stones) only difference was no jeering the poor sap sat behind. Maybe the cultures moved on… I would haved hoped for token sympathy for the guy having his view ruined in a seat (clues in the name) but maybe we now jeer and mock the put upon.
    As for taking pictures and filming at gigs…. words fail, how, why, for whom ? its a one off an immediate art form taking place in real time in your presence. Oh wait ill just get my camera out. Each to their own. Ill stay at home.

  39. Bertielego says:

    Thank you Kate!
    Let’s hope other many other artists follow…

    I actually wish venues would equip their spaces with some clever technology that hinders the photography and film functionality of mobile devices; and activate or de-activate such technology at the request of the performing artist.

  40. Adey says:

    I don’t think its about protecting the artists image its about letting people enjoy the show they have paid good money to see without having to watch the entire performance through some idiots phone screen

  41. Adey says:

    Why do people have to film bits of the event on their phones anyway? Years ago we had things called memories

  42. Rael says:

    Why does she just not say “look, I weigh about 30 stones now and have all but lost the looks I had, so please don’t take pictures or film me because it will shock people”.

  43. Cloud Base says:

    Last year I saw Sigur Ros in Edinburgh. No one was talking, no one was taking pictures. It was incredible! No one requested it. People simply just want to immerse themselves in the music. Unfortunately, this is the exception rather than the rule. I can live with the filming and the photography. It’s people who chat at concerts that really bug me! Rant over…:-).

  44. bob says:

    Real, please do not come on here to post offensive and abusive comments. If you have nothing to add to the discussion stay away.

  45. Steve says:

    Kate puts an ‘experience’ together and just because you’ve been and seen it doesn’t give you the right to spoil it for the people, also with tickets, who have yet to see it.. Commendable.

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