The Ritz is a very popular venue for artists performing in Raleigh — but, how popular is The Ritz amongst the concert attendees? Artists such as Fetty Wap, Vance Joy, 21 savage, Odessa, Bastille, and many more have performed shows at The Ritz.
Thursday, October 27, 2016 I saw Miles Parks McCollum, more popularly known as Lil Yachty, perform a show at The Ritz in downtown Raleigh. This was my second time visiting The Ritz to see artists live.
During the concert, I asked some of the fans in the crowd about their true opinions of the Ritz, and the kind of experiences they may have had dealing with the crowd, performers, and staff.
A junior at Broughton High School said, “I’ve been to The Ritz a couple of times before just because a lot of rappers will come here, but every time I’ve noticed if you’re not pretty tall, the concert wouldn’t be very fun for you.”
The crowd for this “Bubble gum Trap” rap artist was extremely diverse. People from all over Raleigh came out to show support.
Unfortunately, if you are shorter than 5’9, it wasn’t likely that you enjoyed the moshpit of this concert. It also wasn’t very likely that shorter people made it through the night without being elbowed or pushed around by the taller people in the crowd who were dancing.
Although the Lil Yachty concert was not an exceptionally large crowd, the moshpit area was packed with people shoulder to shoulder. difficult for people who are so close to people whom they are significantly shorter than. When the taller people began jumping up and down, people approximately 5”2 or shorter curled up to protect themselves for being hit in the head by raised arms.
That is fairly standard for general admission concerts, so my friends and I did the best we could to avoid being hit and continued our night.
From my experience at The Ritz, the sound equipment has not been at all impressive. During the two concerts I’ve attended at this particular venue, the mic’s have been so loud, it made the performer inaudible. The extreme volume contrast frustrated many people when the artist would try to interact with the crowd because one of the benefits of seeing an artist live is not only listening to their music, but getting to know their onstage personality, too.
Billy Raymond, a senior at Leesville said, “The Ritz isn’t small, but people want to all be in the front at the same time instead of using the whole area which makes it feel small after the show’s started and people start pushing.”
Although the mic’s may not have been up to par, the success of the concert depends on the artist’s ability to put on a good show despite difficulties. Earlier in the year, a group of artists called ‘Migos,’ left their show at the Ritz early due to sound system difficulties. With this being said, I went to the Lil Yachty show with low expectations.
Out of the two shows that I have attended at The Ritz, two of them have been for rap artists. During these shows, the artists have been aggravatingly late coming to stage.
Yachty’s performance was set to begin at 8:00 P.M., doors opening at 7:00 P.M.. Typically, for the hour between the time that doors open and the concert, people enjoy music entertainment from the DJ accompanying the tour’s team. During this particular show, fans enjoyed the DJ’s playlist for 2 hours and 10 minutes before Yachty appeared on stage.
A group of seniors at Leesville who attended the show arrived at 5:30 p.m. to ensure a close spot near the stage.
Sam Merritt, one of the seniors who arrived early explains, “After we got our spots, we all just sat down and chilled. After waiting for 3 and a half hours to see him I wasn’t as excited at first.”
After a long period of anticipation, Lil Yachty arrived on stage for almost an hour and a half set. However, like any moshpit, people took advantage of even the slightest amount of open space in front of them wherever they could. The goal is to eventually be as close as possible, which resulted in the lost of personal space.
Pushing, shoving, kicking, tripping and water throwing all were very common amongst this crowd. So much so, that during the show, my friends and I — along with many people around us — were pushed to the floor. Eager fans stepped over the large groups of people that had fallen while desperately trying to reach the front. After surrounding fans realized there was a large number of us were struggling to get up, they attempted to protect us from being kicked, stepped on and piled on any further.
All throughout the incident, not one member of The Ritz staff or crowd control noticed what had been happening in the middle of the dance floor.
Although no staff members were involved while it happened, when my friends informed security that I was hurt, they were quick to help and get me somewhere quiet to make sure there were no physical wounds.
After seeing that I was not acting as if there were any serious injuries, they let us back into the show. To avoid any other incidents in the moshpit, we decided to stand to the side of the crowd where there was plenty of open space. In our new spots, we could see the performers perfectly fine. We also heard them very clearly as we stood less than 3 ft. away from a 6 panel speaker.
When the show was over, the staff did not hesitate before showing everyone out of the building– however, by 10:20 p.m., fans did not mind that the party had come to an end.
In my opinion, this venue is not particularly safe. I would rather spend $8 worth of sales tax to a venue that ensures safety, even if I have to travel farther to see the artist. If it is my only option though, I would not turn it down because of my past experiences from The Ritz. I know now for future reference that I can only safely enjoy a show here is to stay away from the crowd.