No Phones Allowed: John Mayer Night

Does this scene look familiar?

Photo by Bel Certeza

Smartphones at gigs. We’ve been receiving a lot of tweets and e-mails and direct messages about this phenomenon — gig goers frequently seen taking photos and videos using their smartphones instead of being in the moment and enjoying the gig. The smartphones at gigs/events have been a ubiquitous problem in the past few years. It has been a topic of after-gig convos so we decided to do something about it: launch a gig where people will lessen (or not use their phones at all).

Moving forward, Indie Manila gigs with this logo means it’s a phone-free gig.

On July 6, we launched the #NoPhonesAllowed gig series. The goal of the gig is to remind people of the beauty of being in the moment and not being tied to their smartphones at gigs.

We actively promoted the series and at the same time getting the consensus of the community about the gig and we were surprised that they’re excited about it.

The original plan was to partner with a U.S.-based startup that does phone-free gigs and events for huge acts like Dave Chapelle, Shawn Mendes, Chris Rock, Alicia Keys, etc. but due to time constraint, we opted to implement a simple rule instead: allow attendees to take photos during the soundcheck and first song only.

Around 300 people showed up as early as 7PM at Route 196 to enjoy the music of John Mayer as interpreted by bands and acts like The Metro Fantastic, Dane Hipolito, LOOP, Blaster Silonga, Yan Abelardo, Leanne and Naara, Grabety (The Itchyworms’ Chino Singson, Jazz Nicolas, and Kelvin Yu + Davey Langit), and Still Feel Like Your Ben (Ben&Ben minus Miguel and Paolo). Attendees sang along to Mayer’s classic hits like Stop This Train, Edge of Desire, Back to You, as well as songs from his latest release like New Light and Rosie. Everyone was encouraged to only use their smartphones to take photos and videos during soundcheck and the first song.

We challenged the listeners to be in the moment and to lessen the use of their phones and to our utmost surprise, they did! Here’s a clip from that night with our amazing crowd without a single smartphone up in the air!

Thank you so much to everyone who attended our very first No Phones Allowed gig. Here’s the full video of Dane Hipolito and Blaster Silonga performing ‘Gravity’.

Here are photos from the gig by Charl Pantaleon.