Words by Samantha Howard.
It's one of the most popular phrases used at any music gig, concert or festival. As it turns out, most music lovers and punters have a routine or habit of going front left of the stage when listening to their favourite artist and favourite tunes. This strange phenomenon is well known around the world, and has people confused as to how it can be explained.
We attempted to research why music lovers tend to steer to the left at events, but in the context of music, no studies or scientific data exists. Maybe it can be explained by Melton’s ‘The Economy of Movement’ (1935) theory that explains how the majority of gallery visitors head to the left first, or maybe as explained to us by ex-Senior Detective Craig who informed us that the behaviour could be a part of the ‘natural instinct to turn left’ phenomenon that concludes that in almost all cases, criminals and suspects on the run tend to go left.
While the stage is not necessarily a museum, nor are those in the crowd usually running from the law, the ‘front left phenomenon’ is definitely a thing. It has not yet been explained using science, so we decided to ask a few music lovers about what motivates them to go to the front right or left, and why they think that the ‘front left phenomenon’ exists.
Gani, Front Right
Hey Gani, I hear that you are very unique in that you go front right. Does anything deter you from going front left and why do you think the phenomenon exists?
It always feels more crowded over the left side and also I don’t know anyone front left. I think the front left thing exists because people are sheep.
Have you had any experiences while being front right that never would have happened if you were front left?
Yeah my friend’s Dad jumped Splendour one year. He fully rode the quad bike through the paddocks and stashed it in a bush. We hadn’t spoken to him at all but somehow he managed to jump the fence right next to where we were standing on the front right. So that was pretty lucky- that never would have happened if we had gone front left.
Tom, Front Left
Why do you go front left, Tom?
I’ve gone front left ever since I started raving 13 years ago because I always wanted to be close to the front but used to be a fu**ing liability when it came to keeping my phone so would always need a checkpoint area to find my friends.
But why front left in particular?
It’s front left over front right always because front right is for fu**ing weirdos that like David Guetta and don’t deserve to be in the rave.
Ok, so why do you think the majority of the population goes front left?
Tom: I think the front left idea exists because people are usually totally fu**ed off their faces in the rave and need a natural checkpoint that isn’t too crowded to congregate at. The great thing about front left is that you don’t really need to wait around because you are still in the rave so if your mates aren’t there you can just have a little party by yourself without them.
Did any life changing moments happen to you at the front left?
Once my friend found a vial at front left at Dimensions Festival and proceeded to give me a whiff and turns out it was just lavender, so he decided that he would text his mum from the festival in Croatia to let her know that he was enjoying the rave and had smelt lavender which reminded him of her. That never would have happened if we went front right.
Maddy, Front Right
What motivates you to go front right Maddy?
It all comes down to protecting the bevvie (beverage). As a right-handed individual, I carry my drink in said hand, and am conscious of the rowdiness that ensues at the front of the stage. So I naturally gravitate towards front right for the safety of my vodka cranberry.
Does anything deter you from going front left?
All the losers that go front left.
Why do you think that the front left phenomenon is a thing?
Similar to my own motivation of protecting my drink, maybe they are all a bunch of lefties who are just protecting their own drinks. Alternatively, they may be righties sacrificing the stability of their drinks to protect themselves from the sweaty, vivacious crowd. Classic ‘getting kicked in the head vs spilling my beer’ dilemma.
Chaddy, Front Left
Chaddy, you say you swear by your life going front left. Why is this so?
My motivation to head to that front left speaker is because you’re always guaranteed a solid patch of grass to boogie on and find a spot to park up your esky for a coldie without old mate pushing you out of the way to take a picture of his favourite discjockey. Obviously also to be present and feel that bass in the musical journey taking place, that’s a given.
Why front left over right?
I know I’ll see a familiar face or doof-stick as the word spreads.
Duncan, Front Right
What steers you to the right side of the stage, Duncan?
Bush festivals are rather freeing experiences where you will often wander off by yourself and do your own thing for hours at a time. Front right became a place that was easier for us to find each other.
Does anything deter you from going front left, rather than being front right?
Not for me. I know that a lot of people are so set in their front left world that often other areas of the dance floor are overlooked. Cruising around the dance floor meeting other people and getting a bit weird is one of my favourite things to do at a festival. The vibe changes within 2 metres in any direction on the dance floor and that’s a beautiful thing.
So why do you think the front left phenomenon exists then?
I have no bloody idea. I suppose for similar reasons as front right is a thing for me. Some people just get a little more serious about it though I guess.
Have you had any life altering moments by going front right?
One that comes to mind on the front right was a nice moment I shared with a girl I was into at the time which later grew into a relationship! It was a nice moment shared with good music and solid friends around- ahh, happy days. I don’t think it matters where you are at the stage, I think the experiences shared with others in such amazing environments on either side will never be forgotten.