I am a fan of MAYDAY (a Taiwanese band, also known as the “Asian Beatles”), but I never expected myself to be a fan to the extent of staying overnight to queue for their concert tickets. The first time I participated in a MAYDAY concert was about 3-4 years ago and the ticket was purchased online together with my friends.
About one or two weeks before the day of the purchase, I saw a trending post about one fan who had been waiting there since the Sunday before the date of the open ticket sales and claimed herself to be the first in the line [Tickets will only be available for sell on the next Saturday]. I was so shocked and was in denial about the need to queue there for a few days before buying said tickets. However, I chose to follow my friend [a hardcore MAYDAY fan] who insisted on staying there overnight to buy early tickets.
Together with another friend, I arrived there about 9pm on Friday and the ticket was believed to be sold over the counter at 11am the next morning. There was a small crowd over there, people were sitting together, chit chatting, playing cards and catching Pokemon on Pokemon Go. It seemed like a peaceful gathering on Friday, but a few incidents happened during the night which is quite surprising and new to me, as a fan with little or no knowledge of queuing for concert tickets in Malaysia. The following sharings are summarized from the essence of my experience, but please do bear in mind that it’s not going to be extremely Psychological and academic.
Since the organizer would only be there on Saturday itself, no one will be authorized to control the crowd or monitor the queue. According to my friend, the self-claimed no.1 girl handled a name list of fans who came early and noted down their names and contact numbers. If there were fans who came here to take numbers and left afterward, their names would be removed because of their absence in the queue. The “girl in charge” would call them to reconfirm their presence in the evening and those who failed to do so might get themselves removed from the list.
Authority / Assumed leader
No one was the identified authority, no one had the right to make decisions to control the crowd or the queue except the organizer, Star Planet (said organizer) who would only appear during the next day, when the sales officially began. Sooner, during midnight, I noticed that there was a group of fans who became volunteers and stood up in the crowd (most of us were sitting and doing our own activities) so that they could implement their duty of not letting anyone cut the queue. Those who just stepped into the crowd on their own would be questioned by them and asked to leave.
There was one group of Penang-ites sitting next to us. They told us to take care of their place and bags as they planned to go out for a supper. We agreed but we were later approached by that group of “volunteers” and they demanded from us that “If your friends don’t manage to come back within 15 minutes, their names will be removed from the waiting list.” This caused another dilemma, because on what account are they the ones who decide everything and more importantly, are they the “real leaders” or “assumed leaders”? Shall we follow their demands?
Without a very clear picture of whom Authority is and how the self-implemented system is ran, people who created the first system will become the assumed / self-claimed leaders and their system is expected to be followed by the rest. They might not be the first leaders, but often times, they are the “leaders”.
I have been thinking for a very long while, what does it take for individuals (the 1st person and also the group of volunteers) to stand up for creating and maintaining the system? Could it be the motivation to protect their self-interests from others who tried to cut the queue at the last minute? Or the motivation to maintain the fairness / justice for fans who came early? Whatever it is, there is no doubt that motivation is always one of the most important factors that influenced the way we behave in different situations, for example: politics of the corporate world.
There was one conflict which happened at around 4am to 5am, there was a misunderstanding between a group of four guys with that group of ‘volunteers’. The four-guys group was asked to get out of the line and was accused of cutting the queue by the volunteers, in fact, each pair of them took turn for queuing in the line. There was one guy who stood up for the group of volunteers while another guy stood up for the four-guys group. The tension of the situation accumulated within minutes and it is only eased when two People’s Volunteer Cops (‘Rela’) nearby intervened.
After clarifying with people nearby, some of them did really know about the fact but didn’t elaborate further why they didn’t stand up for the four guys who are accused by the ‘volunteers’. This could be explained as a bystanders effect that individuals might assume that others are equally as responsible for helping, leading to the choice of not offering to help due to the assumption that others will help. This could be because of the fact that the people involved have no closer relationship with them or they have no idea how to help with the situation.
During the conflict, some people who weren’t aware of what was happening but chose to join the conflict might conform to one group by identifying themselves with the group. This could by explained by informational influence whereby people are more likely to rely on others for answers during an ambiguous situation.
In-group / Out-group
During the conflict, apart from the bystanders, it could be clearly seen that there were two groups having different opinions against each other. In-group and Out-group separation happened when individuals relate themselves with the group which holds the same opinion with them while rejecting the outsiders with different opinions as out-group.
Anyway, the gathering was further joined by a big crowd the next day and we finally managed to buy our tickets. The day ended with a nap and few hours of midnight sleep, followed by a TI6 FINAL. 😉
Before I put this to an end, it was definitely a tiring but also a memorable experience to stay overnight at a mall for tickets! But I was rather shocked to know that I am only a small potato chip when the fans who took earlier numbers had already stayed for 3 to 4 days. To be honest, there was more and more to explore about fandoms and how they behave in group situations….