By Ashley Aron
Slam/hardcore dancing, pitting, moshing — whatever you call it, it’s a trademark of the live music culture. Genres from metal to pop punk all have crowds that are visibly excited but, across the different scenes, there are some guidelines to maintaining a safe and fun environment.
· If you are more focused on the band than the pit, or you’re not able to stay aware of your surroundings, hang back a little bit. There’s nothing wrong with being in the back of the venue when things get rough. If you just came to casually watch the bands, avoid the area towards the front where the pit will probably form.
· Dress appropriately. If you’re wearing a dress and heels or any type of sandal/flip-flop, save yourself the broken toes and hang back. Highly recommended mosh attire: lace-up sneakers, a shirt you can sweat in, and pants that won’t fall down at the slightest movement.
· Outsmart the asshole who tries to steal your valuables. Keep your phone and wallet in a pocket that zips or buttons closed, or hide extra cash in your shoe (tie it tight!). A good trick for keys is to loop them through your shoelaces before tying them, then sliding the key through the top part of your laces. Ladies, wear a sports bra. It’s one of the best places to keep your phone, cash, and ID.
· Keep your fist ready…but not to fight. While there really isn’t any sort of personal space in a crowd that feels like a game of human Tetris, you can help maintain the difference between mosh bros and concertgoers. If you’re on the edge of the pit, keep your hand in a fist and pointed towards where the action is. This way, if someone gets a little too out of hand, they’ll hit your fist instead of your face.
· People will fall down, and you should help them up. It’s inevitable that someone will get knocked over and he or she will end up on the ground. In this case, it’s of the utmost importance that you get them back on their feet ASAP. There can never be too many people offering a hand to help someone back up in a constantly moving crowd.
· If someone is injured, make it a priority to get him or her out quickly. There’s a very high chance someone’s injury will require immediate removal from the pit. This summer, I was at a show in Poughkeepsie when someone’s fist decided to introduce itself to the top of my skull, and I went DOWN. The surrounding people helped me up immediately and security was A+ in getting me out of the crowd when they realized I was delirious (major shout out to The Chance Theatre). It’s people like that who make the pit a safer place. Injuries are inevitable, but quick responses and helpful concertgoers make the painful experience way easier.
Whether the concert is a bunch of dads rocking out to an old cover band in a bar or college kids getting rowdy at The Lost Horizon, just use your common sense and go with the flow. The general rule is: don’t be a douche, be a dude!