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Beats over Beers: Why Gen Z Isn’t Drinking at Concerts

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Ever since the advent of rock n’ roll, the concert experience has been as much about the music as it has about the socializing – and more often than not, alcohol has been an integral part of that experience. From Woodstock to the modern-day mega festivals, beer tents and liquor stands have been as common as the band merchandise stalls. But if you’ve attended a recent concert or music festival, you may have noticed a shift in the scene. The change agent? Generation Z, those born between 1997 and 2012.

Reasons why Gen Z Isn’t Drinking at Concerts

So what’s the buzz about Generation Z and concert venues? Well, it appears that the youngest generation of concert-goers is drinking less at these events than their predecessors. Let’s dive into some of the reasons Gen Z isn’t drinking at concerts.

Health Conscious Habits

Today’s Generation Z is more health-conscious than any generation before it. This cohort is more aware of what they put in their bodies and the impacts on both physical and mental health. This generation has grown up with the internet and an abundance of information at their fingertips, leading them to be more cautious and informed about the potential detriment of excessive alcohol consumption.

Focus on Experience

For Generation Z, the concert experience is much more about the music and less about the peripheral activities. They are more likely to spend their money on VIP experiences, merchandise, or better seats than on alcohol. They see concerts as a chance to connect with the music and the artists, and to create memorable experiences that don’t necessarily involve drinking.

Gen Z is Smoking More Marijuana Than Any Other Generation

The elephant in the room. A major reason Gen Z isn’t drinking is that they are much more likely to prefer smoking marijuana to consuming alcohol. Of people aged 18-24, a staggering 69% of them prefer smoking marijuana over consuming alcohol. While excessive marijuana consumption has its own fair share of pitfalls, when compared to the destructiveness of alcohol, it makes sense that Gen Z would prefer its usage to alcohol when considering the purported health benefits that have been ascribed to cannabis use.

The most obvious reason for this consumption of marijuana is that Gen Z is also the generation that has come of age when marijuana has been legalized in many states. Even in states where legalization has not occurred, the overall sentiment around marijuana and its use has changed dramatically from being stigmatized heavily by America’s anti-drug campaigns to an era where “medical cannabis” is a thing.

Changing Social Norms

While Gen Z isn’t drinking nearly as much, society’s view on alcohol is also changing. While drinking is still seen as a social activity, the idea that one needs to drink to have fun is becoming less prevalent. This is reflected in the rise of sober, or ‘dry’ bars, alcohol-free events, and the growing popularity of non-alcoholic beverages.

So, what does this mean for concert venues and event organizers? To cater to this new wave of concert-goers, many venues are diversifying their offerings, including adding more non-alcoholic options, healthier food choices, and VIP experiences. Some are even partnering with local businesses to offer unique products and experiences that appeal to this demographic.

The concert experience is becoming more about the music and less about the drinks, and that’s something we can all raise a glass to.

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