British Columbia

Concert phone ban: When comedian Chris Rock says blackout, he means blackout

Former Saturday Night Live comedian Chris Rock is telling his fans to leave their cellphones behind, or lock them away, or their night out won't be so funny.

Zero tolerance: Anyone caught using a cellphone in the venue will be 'immediately ejected'

Chris Rock is serious about no cellphone interruptions at his Vancouver show on Sept. 14. All fans will be forced to lock their devices in special pouches, or get out. (Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

Former Saturday Night Live comedian Chris Rock is telling his fans to leave their cellphones behind, or lock them away, or their night out won't be so funny.

Fans heading to his Sept. 14 Total Blackout performance in Vancouver will have to stow their phones and any electronic devices in individual Yondr pouches, which will be locked until the end of the evening.

The soft pouch is given to each person to slip their phone inside. It is then secured by staff and can't be opened until after the show.

For those desperate to use the device, there are unlocking stations outside the main auditorium. But anybody caught cheating is ejected, say warnings on the Total Blackout tour website.

"We appreciate your co-operation in creating a phone-free viewing experience," says the written warning, under a black and white image of the comedian, framed with smoke.

Phone-free concerts are touted as a way to cut down on illegal filming, non-stop selfies and other distractions that can take away from the performance.

The Thursday night show at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports centre will be the first instance of Vancouver fan being forced to stow their electronics, but probably not the last.

When Chris Rock performs all concertgoers are required to stow their cellphones in a locking Yondr pouch. (CBC )

Irritation created invention

LiveNation spokesperson Sandra Merz told Vancouver media that the phone-free rule is a policy on Chris Rock's tour.

But concertgoers can expect it will become more common as everywhere from schools to theatres look for ways to get rid of the distractions of digital devices.

Performers including Adele, Rihanna, Alicia Keys,  Louis C.K., Guns N' Roses and Dave Chappelle have already used the controversial Yondr pouches to stop people from tweeting or photographing at their shows

Yondr innovator Graham Dugoni founded his company in 2015 after developing a product that makes phone-free live events possible.

The technology gets mixed reactions from fans.

Some ticket-buyers question whether they should be treated like they are in a classroom at a concert, but others have welcomed the experience after finding it more pleasant than they thought to be forced to unplug.

Locking up student phones

6 years ago
Duration 2:26
Yondr, a lockable pouch that controls cell phone use in concerts, has become a tool for schools


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