How People Perceive the Colors of The Lights at Concerts

silhouettes of concert crowd in front of bright stage lights

Nowadays, we see a lot of lightings at the concerts. Why? Because they work. They are visually influencing your mood as you are listening to the concert. We perceive colors as mood and as an example we have the yellow color which induces you a positive state of mind, meanwhile, the white color of the lights on a black blackground will actually create the contrast, which is a good fact, but it will add a monotone atmosphere to the crowd. Of course, this is not always applying, depending on the „weight” of the artist that is performing. Here Iam reffering to the difference between AC/DC and Kelly Family, a major one.

concert-lights-backgrounds-wallpapersFirstly, to get an introduction about how stage lightings work, we have to understand their general functions, which are four: Visibility, Motivation, Composition and Mood. They all have a social connection, shaping the listener’s view concerning the aimed concert.

Starting with visibility, we understand by this that people must have a clear view, as clear as possible, and in most of the cases, it’s not about being clear, but about following the target as a stage manager. And of course, there are lights that should not be seen all the time, so they play a lot with your eyes. Actually, a good stage manager makes you do what he wants. To have a more definite impression about it, think about Djing with lights, and there is a term for that called „VJ” (Video Jockey), but it is not the same, because it is about projections, not lightings.

Then, it comes the motivation. The designer has to make the light look natural, and be realistic for the people, be it day or night. It must be conserved and well thought even if the setting is non-realistic. In such cases, the light must be appropriate to the performance’s context in order to not create confusionamong the people that are participating.

The composition reffers to the highlightings that aim people’s attention towards one single character, or more. The designer has to know when and where the highlight is necessary. The quality of the composition can be observed in the deep moments of the concerts, when an instrument solo is played.

One of the most important things, in social and other domains are the mood, including here, in setting a scene for the people, and influencing them. You must make them think. We must have in mind that lights can also play a role in building the character. I give you an example, DUBFIREis playing The Live Hybrid (Click for Video) . Here, the lights are essential for him in transmitting the right message to the listeners.

I give you an example that has to do with the mood of the listeners. If there is a combination between the colors YELLOW, RED and BLUE, then you actually transmit to the people OPTIMISM and EMOTIONAL fragility, PHYSICAL COURAGE , and lastly COMMUNICATION and CALM. These combinations shape people’s view at a concert, having the crowd that they need, as lightings designers. The colors written in caps lock from above are just a group of colors that would work at a Jazz Concert. They offer you the atmosphere you need. People are optimistic, they are deeply emotional, they have the courage to digest the music, and Jazz must be felt. Finally, they are communicating and also calm because of the lights.


To conclude, a complete stage cannot exist without the proper lightings. You can see exemplified above the major role they play in the relationship with the listeners. Shaping, giving people what they want. A thing is sure. The combination between music and lightings will become more and more complex, because people’s experience also evolve and they will need more as music will become more complicated.

Written by Hidi Lorand Ferenc (Journalism 3rd Year)



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