Is there a set rule for performers to arrive before or after the crowd? Or, is it up to each performer's choice?
Note: I am not asking about festivals, but just concerts.
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There are plenty of reasons for performers to turn up hours before a concert. They might even be there all day rehearsing. Mostly there's a sound check an hour or two before the concert. Often there is a make-up call.
On the other hand, I've seen performers turn up with literally a minute to spare.
And anything in between. If there are no other constraints probably most people would choose to be at the venue about 30-60 minutes before the concert.
I guess, the answer depends on what you mean by arrive and whether it is to appear on stage or in the same city/building.
Assuming, we talk about appearing on stage, I experienced the the following for classical music performances: