Major venue plans mobile-free gigs after Jack White experiment judged successful


ONE of Scotland’s biggest concert venues is planning phone-free gigs following a successful experiment by former White Stripes frontman Jack White.

A recent gig by the star at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh, was judged a “100 per cent human experience” after he urged fans to put their mobiles away and actually watch the show.

Usher Hall chiefs were so impressed by the results that they are putting “structures in place” to have future mobile-free gigs.

White collaborated with American technology company Yondr to create a phone-free tour.

Fans were asked to put their phones in lockable pouches before entering the auditorium.

Usher Hall is now planning on having “phone-free” gigs

Although mobile phones could be set to vibrate incase of an emergency, fans could only access their devices in phone friendly areas outside of the arena.

Ticketholders were told: “We think you’ll enjoy looking up from your gadgets for a little while and experience music and our shared love of it IN PERSON.

“Repost our photos and videos as much as you want and enjoy a phone-free, 100 per cent human experience”.

General Manager of the Usher Hall Karl Chapman said the experiment passed off with no problems and was embraced by the audience.

Chapman said: “Phones have become a bit like the new cigarette lighter as there are so many of them being held in the air during a show.

“Bands like Coldplay and U2 actually encourage people to join in their gig with their phones.

Usher Hall General Manager, Karl Chapman, says phones have become the new “cigarette lighters”

“I really get where Jack White is coming from. For a lot of people mobile phones are quite annoying and if you’re using a phone you’re not actually watching the show. It must get pretty annoying for artists.

“It’s the first time we’ve had anything like this with a pop or rock artist. It all went surprisingly well here. We were quite apprehensive about it.

“It’s a complete social norm to use your phone at a gig. The feedback was very positive. Quite a few people said it was like rolling the clock back 20 years.

“I could definitely see us doing it again. These things are driven by artists. I’d imagine we will see a few requests coming forward having seen Jack White do it.

“The structures are in place now”.

Chapman explained: “We are exploring avenues to implement similar systems. A lot of resources were used to make this happen. However, we feel that this was successful. The crowd bought into it.

Jack White’s recent gig was judged to have had 100 per cent human experience”

“The system needs advanced work and was resource heavy, but we people could get used to the idea.

“We are exploring the impact of the system and the operational benefit it could have for the venue”.

Jack White said in an interview earlier this year: “It’s funny. I go to the movies and everyone turns their phones off. You got to the symphony, there’s no phones. Church, no phones.

“There’s all these places where it’s already happening”.