In the days following the terrible attacks in Paris, many inhabitants of the capital of France posted “Je suis en terrasse” on social media. An echo of January’s “Je Suis Charlie” movement, but also a way to pay to pay tribute to the people that were killed, many while enjoying their time at a restaurant or café terrace. Paris is not only the city of love, but also the city of people-watching on charming terraces with an espresso, a croissant and the faint song of a chansonnier down the street. In a way, the killing at cafés, a music venue and a football stadium hit Paris and its heart, but by going to cafés en masse Parisians showed the terrorists and the rest of the world that their values are stronger than fear and aren’t taken away easily.
Quite on the contrary, many bands – including U2, Rudimental and Years & Years – have cancelled their shows in Paris, or, like Eagles of Death Metal and Foo Fighters, aren’t playing any of their remaining European shows. Even at the QMU this developments is noticeable: Walk the Moon should have been performing on the 24th November, but have also cancelled their upcoming European tour. Whether made out of respect for those affected by the tragic events or out of fear, these decisions should be respected. However, I think it would be amazingly powerful if bands and concertgoers would together take over Twitter with the hashtag “Je suis en concert”. In times like these, creating and enjoying music is perhaps more important than ever.
If there’s a sentiment in society that concert halls aren’t safe anymore, what other places will we avoid going to? Sport events? (Super)markets? Schools? Museums? Cinemas? Shopping centres? Perhaps it’s better to just stay home as much as possible, until everything has calmed down… right? But when will that be? By continuing to do all the things we love to do, we resist living in the fear-stricken, divided society terrorists are so desperate to create. Of course, feeling safe is most important. No band or audience member should continue performing or going to concerts just to ‘make a point’ against violence and hatred. It’s not about ‘winning’ or ‘losing’ against terrorists, it’s about cherishing values you find important. Or to quote Eagles of Death Metal, “Vive la musique”.