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Arcade Fire’s mandatory dress code stereotypes fans

Arcade Fire’s most recent attempt to achieve eccentricity, a valuable quality in the indie rock scene, is nothing more than elitist.

During the ticket sales for their current tour, the Montreal band stated—via a message on Ticketmaster—that formal dress or costume is mandatory for entrance into their shows.

Granted, there is something to be said for the band’s efforts to give their fans an unforgettable experience. Such a unique ambiance may give the average concertgoer a sense that they are a part of the show. But the band is implementing the idea in all the wrong ways.

The issue is the word “mandatory.” If Arcade Fire had simply made a suggestion to follow a certain dress code, they would’ve demonstrated confidence in their fan base. But by demanding their fans to do so, Arcade Fire comes across as insecure divas. Many bands have had devotees that dress up in certain apparel but in almost all instances, it was the fans who initiated the standard. A band only deserves an established dress code when the fans feel compelled to do so, not when forced.

Not only does the band come across as desperate, but this demand also makes them look insensitive. The band assumes that whoever can afford to buy a ticket can also afford to dress formally for their show. While the majority of people will have the means to do so, this assumption sends a clear message that the band does not acknowledge its fans who are on the lower socio-economic scale. The band also failed to consider its supporters of cultural backgrounds that place restrictions on what a person can and cannot wear.

Perhaps the largest flaw of this request is that it creates the impression that you must dress a certain way to enjoy indie rock. Stereotyping is the death of any music genre. It narrows the fan base down to only those who are willing to conform to a certain style. While there are a lot of people who may be excited by the idea of dressing up for an occasion, many others may resent having to do so. It may not be intentional, but Arcade Fire’s dress code suggests their fans must appear a certain way to be worth playing for.

Arcade Fire should be given credit for their attempt to create a memorable experience for fans. Unfortunately, by enforcing the experience for fans, the band has come off as just another group of stuck-up hipsters.