You’re in the front row, and your favorite song comes on. Suddenly you’re surrounded by people who are violently pushing and shoving. You try to get away from them. But as the song builds up, more and more people start joining in on the pushing. And now you can’t find your way out of the crowd. You’re stuck in a mosh pit. How can you escape without getting hurt?
According to the Oxford Dictionary, a mosh pit, or moshing, is “a style of dance that is violent and involves jumping up and down, while deliberately colliding with other dancers.” That is, it’s a chaotic dance with the potential to get hurt. And we’re not just talking bumps and bruises, there have been at least nine mosh-related deaths over the past couple decades.
So what should you do if you get stuck in one? Are there any unwritten rules? Where is the safest place to go?
Mosh pits commonly happen right in front of the stage, behind the barriers set up to prevent people from climbing onto the stage. These barriers are strong. And typically, they’re raised so crowd controllers can keep an eye on the mosh pit and see anyone in trouble.
According to the Crowd Management Strategies organization, between 1998 and 2008, 10,000 injuries happened in mosh pits. They also estimate that there can be 100-200 injuries during major festivals due to moshing.
Moshing is a way to heighten your enjoyment of your favorite music with a natural endorphin and adrenaline rush. So follow these steps so you can safely enjoy it. Or safely escape.
Step 1. Go With the Flow
Ideally, moshers move in a circle. So when you’re being swarmed, follow the flow of people by spiraling towards the center. Don’t fight the flow of the action. The center is where you are least likely to be hurt. If you’re stuck in the flow and can’t reach the center, keep going in circles and try to stay behind a taller person. They are the least likely to fall back on you.
Step 2. Don’t crowd-surf
As fun as it might look on TV, crowd-surfing is extremely dangerous and you could get seriously injured or killed. Many people have died or become permanently disabled due to crowd-surfing. If you fall and someone doesn’t catch you, the concrete floor will. And that won’t be a soft landing.
Step 3. Wait It Out
If you can’t make your way out and are stuck in the spiral of people, wait it out. The song will eventually end, and the mosh pit will calm down. That’s when you make your move out of there.
Step 4. Learn how to mosh
There are a few general rules you need to follow to enjoy a mosh pit. First, finish your drink or leave it on your seat. Don’t bring it with you, or you’ll spill it over other moshers. Second, wait for an opening to jump in. Don’t force your way in. It could start a fight if you push the wrong person.
Once you’re in, jump up and down in place. Or do a lap around the pit following the flow of people. Keep your hands open and arms around chest level to avoid elbowing and injuring others around you. You will more than likely bump into people, and that’s OK. They’ll be expecting it, as should you. Just remember you are there to have fun and not hurt anyone.
Keep pace with the music and the rest of the mosh. There will be highs and lows of the song. Take time to catch your breath and be ready to dance harder when the beat drops.
Step 5. Watch out for each other
Make sure to help people up if they’ve fallen to the ground. Allow people to exit if they are trying to get out.
In 2007, at a Travis Scott concert, a man was pushed from a third-story balcony and dragged on stage. He suffered fractured vertebrae, a broken left wrist, and fractured his right ankle. Later a video was released showing Scott encouraging a fan to jump into the crowd below.
Step 6. Stay Safe
The safest place to be is in the middle of the venue. Typically mosh pits occur near the front of the stage. But they can happen anywhere. If you are going to join a mosh pit, just keep these steps in mind. The point is to have fun, but you need to be aware that you might sustain minor injuries.
The concert is over, and you are exiting the building when suddenly the escalator speeds up out of control. What do you do now?
- “Travis Scott Sued By Fan Who Says Concert Injury Paralyzed Him (Published 2017)“. 2017. Nytimes.Com.
- “Survival Tips For Moshing | Tess Safe And Trained” Laws, Steve. 2021.. Safeandtrained.Com.
- “What To Know About “Moshing” And Concert Injuries – Goldstein And Bashner“.Bashner, Goldstein. 2017.
- “Return Of The Music Festival Mosh Pit In 2021. “. 2021. Festival Pro.
- “Mosh Pit Or Death Pit? “. ABC News.