When I was 15, mosh pits were my life. Many weekends my friends and I would take the subway out to Bensonhurst, Brooklyn and jump around and flail our arms in a circle and sometimes even punch a guy or jump off the stage. It was all very there’s-no-conflict-in-my-life-but-I-have-ennui-I-guess.
Twelve years later, I still join the occasional mosh pit, and despite what they look like from the outside, there is order to the chaos. In the last one I was in, I was sidechecked and careened to the floor, my purse exploding all over. At least five different moshers stopped what they were doing and helped me recover my belongings. Then we all brushed ourselves off and continued enjoying the show. Isn’t that nice?
However, there are the assholes. The people who think it’s an excuse for an actual fight. While it’s one thing to walk away with a bruise and smile, I can guarantee you that 95% of the audience would like to keep their teeth intact. So here are some tips on how to make the experience pleasant.
1. If you see someone go down, help them. Do not continue trampling someone on the floor. They are not down there because they are “lame” and “can’t handle it,” they are there because sometimes it’s hard to keep your balance when everyone is kicking and jumping around you.
2. Apologize if you actually hurt someone. If you’re already in a mosh pit, you understand there is risk of injury. But there’s a difference between feeling someone’s elbow in your back and getting a fist to the face. Take a second to make sure anyone you hit hard is actually alright.
3. No selfies in the Mosh Pit. Seriously I saw this happen once. A couple took out their phone and IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PIT started taking photos of themselves. Basically, don’t do anything in a mosh pit but mosh.
4. Do not stage dive feet first. You will only kick some poor soul in the head and most likely be dropped on your ass. And do your best to keep your feet up as high as you can.
5. Do not stage dive if no one knows you’re going to do it. Countless times I have seen some youth rush to the stage, jump up, and immediately jump out without grabbing anyone’s attention. This usually happens on larger or oddly-shaped stages, or just when everyone is naturally looking at the lead singer and the stage diver jumps out from the side. All that happens in this situation is that you land on a bunch of people’s heads, risk breaking necks, and either fall to the floor or make everyone have to push you up from their shoulders. The best way to go about it is take a few seconds on the stage, make sure a few people are looking in your direction and know you’re going to jump, and go head-first into their upturned hands.
6. Similarly, don’t try to crowd surf from the back. No one in front of you knows you’re coming.
7. Do not just jump into the tall people. As one tall friend of Uncommon Courtesy says, “just because I am tall does not mean I want you have to look at me like I’m a ham on a cartoon desert island.” Plus, if you aim for one person, that’s just one person trying to support your weight, instead of maybe 5-6 people of average height.
8. Do not actually punch. Fists are made, arms are windmilling, but don’t just jump in and start actually beating people up. I’ve seen people actually single out other moshers and just start punching them, and then act like it’s all part of the scene. Don’t be that guy.