A concert is a live performance, usually of music, before an audience. The music may be performed by a single musician, sometimes then called a recital, or by a musical ensemble, such as an orchestra, a choir, or a musical band. More informal names for a concert include "show" and "gig". Concerts are held in a wide variety of settings or venues, including pubs, nightclubs, houses, barns, dedicated concert halls, large multipurpose buildings, and even sports stadiums. A concert held in a very large venue is sometimes called an arena concert. Regardless of the venue, musicans usually perform on a stage. Before the dominance of recorded music, concerts would be the only opportunity one would generally have to hear musicians play.
There is normally a charge to attend a concert, though many are free. Proceeds benefit the musical group, the owners of the venue, and others involved in putting on the concert, or in some cases to benefit a cause or charity.
A concert tour is a series of concerts by a musician, musical group, or some number of either in different cities or locations.
While the principal reason for a concert is the opportunity for the musicians to perform in front of an audience, even the most purely artistic of endeavors will see gains. Concerts provide the musicians exposure to the public. An attendee will probably see the musicians perform again if the concert was worthwhile. Recording artists usually go on tours to promote record sales and introduce their fans to new musical compositions.
The nature of a concert will vary by musical genre and individual groups in those genres. Concerts by a small jazz combo and a small bluegrass band may have the same order of program, mood, and volume, but vary in music and dress.
Musical groups with large expected audiences can put on very elaborate and expensive affairs. In order to create a memorable and exciting atmosphere and increase the spectacle, the musicians will frequently include additional entertainment devices within their concerts. These tend to include changeable stage lighting effects and various special effect visuals, which include anything from large video screens, inflatables, smoke or dry ice, pyrotechnics, artwork, pre-recorded video, and unusual attire. Activities which may take place during these concerts including dancing, sing-alongs, moshing or head-banging, and crowd-surfing.
Larger concerts involving a greater number of musical groups, especially those that last for multiple days, are known as festivals. Examples include the Woodstock Music and Art Festival, the Newport Jazz Festival, and Cambridge Folk Festival.