Skip to main content

Concert Events with Autistic Loved Ones can be a thrilling experience filled with electrifying music, vibrant crowds, and unforgettable moments. However, for individuals on the autism spectrum and their families, the sensory overload and unpredictable environment of a concert can pose significant challenges. With thoughtful preparation and understanding, concert events can be enjoyable for autistic individuals and their loved ones. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you navigate this experience.

As a crowd controller with neurodiverse friends and families, it has been gratifying working with concertgoers who experience sensory overload on what should be one of the most amazing experiences of their lives. Because I live with people who experience these things, I find it easy to spot the early signs and help guide people through the experience with minimal disruption to their amazing night out.

Here are some of the things I have learned…

Understanding the Challenges

Sensory Sensitivities: Concerts are loud, visually stimulating, and crowded, which can be overwhelming for someone with autism. Bright lights, loud noises, and physical proximity to others can trigger anxiety or sensory overload.

Unpredictability: The dynamic and sometimes chaotic nature of concerts can be stressful. Unfamiliar environments and unexpected changes in routines can cause discomfort.

Social Interactions: Navigating social interactions in a crowded space can be daunting. Understanding personal space and managing social cues in such environments can be difficult.

Preparation is Key

Research the Venue: Familiarize yourself with the concert venue in advance. Look for information about seating arrangements, accessibility features, and quiet areas. Some venues offer sensory-friendly accommodations, such as designated quiet zones or sensory kits.

Choose the Right Concert: Select concerts with a manageable sensory load. Acoustic or classical music events may be more suitable than rock or pop concerts. Some artists and venues host sensory-friendly performances with adjusted lighting and sound levels.

Create a Social Story: Develop a social story outlining what to expect at the concert. Include details about the venue, the sequence of events, and coping strategies for sensory overload. This can help set expectations and reduce anxiety.

Plan for Comfort: Bring comfort items such as noise-canceling headphones, earplugs, sunglasses, or fidget toys. These can help manage sensory input and provide a sense of security.

Strategies During the Concert

Arrive Early: Arriving early allows time to acclimate to the environment before it gets crowded. It also provides an opportunity to find your seats and identify quiet areas if needed.

Identify Safe Zones: Locate quiet areas or sensory-friendly spaces where your loved one can retreat if the environment becomes overwhelming. Knowing there’s a safe space can be reassuring.

Communicate with Staff: Inform venue staff about your needs. Many venues are accommodating and willing to help ensure a comfortable experience. Don’t hesitate to ask for assistance with seating, navigating the venue, or accessing quiet areas.

Take Breaks: Plan for breaks during the concert. Stepping out for a few minutes can help manage sensory overload and reduce anxiety.

After the Concert

Debrief and Reflect: After the concert, discuss the experience. Talk about what was enjoyable and what could be improved for future events. This reflection can help in planning future outings and building positive associations.

Celebrate Small Wins: Acknowledge and celebrate the small victories, whether it’s successfully navigating the crowd or enjoying a favorite song. Positive reinforcement can build confidence for future outings.

Building Positive Experiences

Start Small: Begin with smaller, less crowded events to build comfort and familiarity. Gradually work up to larger concerts as confidence grows.

Leverage Support Networks: Connect with support groups or online communities for advice and shared experiences. Many families have found success through community support and shared strategies.

Advocate for Inclusion: Encourage venues and event organizers to consider the needs of autistic individuals. Advocate for sensory-friendly performances and inclusive practices to make concert experiences more accessible.


Attending a concert with an autistic loved one requires thoughtful planning and proactive strategies, but the rewards of sharing a joyful experience are well worth the effort. By understanding the challenges and preparing effectively, you can create memorable and enjoyable concert experiences that cater to the unique needs of your autistic loved one. With patience, flexibility, and advocacy, concert events can become a cherished activity for the whole family.

Earle Webber

I am a digital communicator and creator who works within the event management and security industry.

Leave a Reply