Concerts/live music and diabetes

I love going out to see live music and dancing. That's all I lived for before diabetes entered my life 13 years ago). I slowed down going to shows and then pretty much stopped for years. Now I want that part of my life back. It brings me so much happiness that I can't continue going without it. So my question is how do I handle watching and being in control of my diabetes when in the middle of a crowded venue with thousands of people around me? It's not like I want to dip out from 3 rows back from the stage during my favorite song to go check my sugar. I should probably also mention that I have problems with my legs and feet due to neuropathy and I am also worried about standing and being on me feet for a few hours at a time. I know that I will always be a diabetic and that music will play a major role in my life I am just not sure how to make the two coexist. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Why would you need to "dip out" to check your blood sugar. Just check it in 2 seconds and then turn back to the stage!

depending on the show that might not be a problem but when you are surrounded by 70,000 people and its dark and what if I need to take my insulin (use pens)? I am into all kinds of music but favor the jam band scene and people are all over the place dancing and its standing room only.

I've been to concerts and other events with 20,000 - 60,000 people and I just test my blood sugar in my seat. Darkness doesn't matter since the screen is backlit (but then I'm legally blind so may not rely on my vision as much as others to get the drop of blood on the strip). The ones I have been to are always in stadiums so there is seating available, and if I need to sit (I have feet issues, though not due to neuropathy) I just sit even if everyone else is standing. I'm not on MDI, but if I was I'd do shots during intermission or else just refrain from eating so that I wouldn't need to take a shot. I've done shots in dark theatres and on public transit, though, so if it really came down to it and I couldn't get up to leave, I'd probably just do it in my seat...

Hi Mary,
I am in your "scene" a lot. The 70,000 people gig is a lot of people and when there are that many in the crowd I stay out of the front and center and find some space, and just go about my business without much hassle. I prefer smaller venues, but when I get a chance I am heading to Rock am Ring before the bus hits me. LOL

Just do your thing, phones today have flashlights on them so even in the dark you can take care of yourself. I test in the mosh pit all the time. At bigger gigs I would go sit outside the big mosh crowd. I eat before I ever jump in or find a seat in the venue. I will look for you :)

I carb-load like it is exercise. Honestly when I go to shows I'm dancing and moving the whole time, so I may just not cover a snack before I head to the show. How many carbs you don't cover will depend on your body.

I’m usually good for a couple of shows/concerts a year. I do as all the others have suggested. Just test right in your seat. Use your phone light to see if you have to. No one is going to be paying any attention to what you are doing. They will all be focused on the stage. I use pens for fast acting so if I need to dose I can click off the number of units. You don’t really need to see well for that.

The only time I ever ran into a problem was at one concert where I had to have my bag checked before going in. The guy doing the checking grabbed my diabetes kit from my bag and was ready to tear the zipper back to see what was in there. I had visions of needles and used test strips falling all over the place. I yelled “WAIT! DON’T OPEN THAT!” Luckily, he stopped. I explained that it was my diabetes supplies and that I didn’t want to see them scattered all over the sidewalk. There was also a no-outside-food policy. The same guy wanted me to toss my emergency juice bottle and package of crackers. There again, I had to explain myself to this insensitive moron and how I did not go anywhere without those items. My daughters were with me and were upset by all this. They wanted me to complain to management. I didn’t bother.

Do NOT deny yourself the pleasure of going to something that you enjoy so much!
I don't know what to say about problems with standing, but, even if you have to sit, you can still listen.

I don't regularly go to concerts anymore but I did see Steely Dan last month. My general experience is that unlike in the past when concerts were barren of food and drink they are all too happy to sell you expensive stuff now. And my Verio IQ has a light which enables me to test in the dark a feature I really like.

Thank you to everyone for the advice. Just reading what everyone has shared makes me feel more comfortable about the situation. I always go to shows with good friends and they will definitely look out for me. I will just test where I am and not care who sees and if I need anything I am sure my friends will be right there for me. The only thing I won't be able to do is sit haha ha Dancing is something I can't go without while I am there. Though if I am having a serious issue with my sugars or the way I feel I will have to find a less crowded area of the venue to take it easy and still listen to the music I came to enjoy. Thanks again for all of the responses (:


I just saw your post. I'm newly Dxed (3/14), longtime dancer at rock-n-roll
showz (many bands, steady attendance of Grateful Dead, post Grateful Dead, Phish).
I went to my first post-Dx rock-n-roll concert last summer and posted about it. My key comment was

Who would have thought that something as mundane as good blood sugar concentration would so greatly improve my ability to direct the psychedelic energy field coruscating between the band and audience and direct it through my own body, where it just jerked me around like a marionette.

With regard to sugar: The two main issues were that I was exercising a lot but couldn't easily check my BG except during the break. We were standing in the field in the back, not in seats, for one thing. If you have an actual seat, that would help. In the absence of a table or counter, I need to put meter, lancet, med waste film can etc on my lap to do things. Secondly, I can't locate the blood drop in the dark..when I tested during the break, my wife held my phone as a light. I now have a CGM (Dexcom), and the concert was one of the three main motivating factors--I look forward to being able to check it while dancing. I also strongly advise you to bring an ample supply of glucose in your favorite form. For one of the three shows we went to a restaurant beforehand and I over-bolused by a unit or two and had suck on glucose tablets for most of the show---I had just barely enough.

No problems bringing stuff in. I now carry my diacrap---meter, lancets, needles, pen (I'm on pump), glucose tabs, film can for medical waste---in a fanny pack that's always attached when I leave my house or office. The first night, the security guy wanted to search it. I said, "It has diabetes supplies" and started to open it, but the security guy sort of jumped back and said, "Oh...take good care of yourself!" and that was it. No search the other two nights.

Rock out!!!!


You might call the venue, prior to the show and ask for advice. I've worked backstage at a bunch of those events and I know they can get pretty hairy. Usually, if someone starts having a panic attack or if a small child gets swept into the bad zone near the stage, security and bystanders push/pull them over the security fence to safety. They are really good at it. Although, I can say that I have seen huge men (over six feet tall) get pulled down by the crowd (at those metal shows) and trampled to within an inch of their life. Depending on the concert, they might have medics working either stage right or stage left. Be sure to ask. However, make sure that you can get to the medics from where you are at. They have an awful time finding/getting to people in the deep crowd and, honestly, sometimes they wont go in. Period. I wouldn't go in that deep unless you felt really physically confident in your environment. If you dont have enough room to check your bg, then that location might not be a good fit for you. If you must go deep into the crowd, stand with people you trust, some big Harley-Davidson biker guys, or someone - big dudes, who can stand around you and push on the crowd for some space, if you need to check. If I'm deep inside a crowd - that might start maching, or something, I always try to talk to the biggest dudes that I can find and stand by them, if its an option. Big dudes have saved my butt a couple of times in mache pits (spelling?).

Thank you so much for sharing your experience! I never got to see the grateful dead but have been to many post dead shows and I've also been to see phish many times. I don't have a CGM but recently started looking into getting one. I think that would be a great tool to have with me at these types of events. I always carry extra supplies on me and have never had any issues getting them into the show. Who knows maybe our paths will cross at a show someday (:

I think the Freestyle meter has an LED, so in theory you could grab one of those and some strips cheap off ebay, and then use that just for concerts. A CGM would also resolve the problem if you can afford them.

I always go with good friends that would have my back if I needed help in any way. I usually go to see jam bands and attend festivals. I enjoy all kinds of music including metal but don't get to go to those kinds of shows often mostly because most of my concert crew is into the jam band scene (phish, sts9, etc). I plan on going to see many more shows in the future and I am grateful for all the advice I will be sure to keep everything in mind while I take in the shows

I have a freestyle meter since that is what my insurance covers. I am looking into a CGM and I agree that would make life much easier. thanks for your thoughts

CGM would "rock" at shows.

I played in bands during the late 80s (dx 1984...) and went to tons of college rock shows, punk rock shows w/ slam dancing, stage-diving, etc., a few stadium shows but often several nights/ week. I agree a CGM is really useful.

We went to the Replacements about a month ago, had trouble getting into a restaurant and ended up with Chinese, so I had a huge bolus and then was tailing off when we hit the stadium so I had a few 16 oz Grain Belts before showtime and was ok but ended up having one more during warm up band and it was fortunate that my friend snuck through the crowd and got me another one as I was still drifting down to the 60s when the show ended. I think they had some junk food somewhere but it was kind of a zoo so I didn't want to lose a good spot to get ice cream or whatever. It was a pretty good time. Most of the sort of bands I've seen lately (e.g. Mogwai, Black Angels, etc.) tend to play in clubs so I can sort of balance the booze, carbs are there if I need them (beer, margaritas, etc.) but so are no carb options like vodka and soda. I'll have my meter on me but don't usually need it with the CGM. In Minneapolis, I'd run that morning, but got lost and didn't run as far as I'd wanted to and we'd gone out to a bar or two in the afternoon as well so it was pretty action-packed but I just kept at it. I had jelly beans and smarties in my pocket but the beer seemed to hold off the extra dinner bolus.