Five Easy Steps to Mosh Pit Survival

Step One:

Identify mosh pit and possible dangers. There are many genres of music that produce mosh pits, however; there are three basic styles of mosh pits, each with its own dynamic and therefore dangers.

Hard Core Mosh Pit:
Music: Loud, angry and screaming.
Consists of large skin heads with forearms the size of an average persons neck,
windmills�the act of spinning ones arms violently while running in circles to create maximum damage; and lots of raspy screaming voices, large men slamming into one another and thrashing.

Punk Mosh Pit:
Music: Fast drum beat accompanied by rebellious and/or politically charged
lyrics. Lots of crowd sing-a-longs.
Consists of many spiked and pierced individuals, plenty of arm and leg thrashing as well as synchronized jumping and finger pointing (especially middle fingers and ‘rock on’ [first and pinky fingers]).

Ska Mosh Pit:
Music: Reggae or punk beat with a horn section peppered with plenty of ‘yeahs’
‘heys’ and ‘ois’.
Consists of skanking�the act of lifting ones knees and kicking out ones legs
while thrashing arms and body to the beat; spinning, jumping and general
pushing also included.

Step Two:

Remember general mosh pit rules. These include: never let your hands get pinioned to your sides, keep your elbows out to fend off unwanted roughness, as well as to propel yourself forward through the crowd; secure a spot for your feet to prevent falling over, steer clear of anyone without a shirt on (sweaty skin heads are just no fun), and remember that shoving is always an option. Never at any rough point should you stick your tongue out, you are liable to bite it off, and never crouch or bend down, you might not come back up.

Step Three:

Courtesy might seem like a foreign concept in such an environment, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Moshers have a deep and unspoken respect for one another. So logically, if you are entering a mosh pit, remember your manners, that is: don’t be the asshole who gets rough in a ‘calm’ area, if people wanted to get pushed around they would move to a circle or ‘rough’ area; if someone falls clear a small area for them and help them up, getting trampled is no fun; if you decide you don’t like the band that is playing leave the pit, don’t shout obnoxious comments or attempt to beat up the fans, that’s just rude. First and foremost, always sing if you know the lyrics, get rough and have fun!

Step Four:

Be prepared for mosh pit phenomena. Phenomena can be defined as the events that occur uniquely within a mosh pit, or specific mosh pit style. Any and all phenomena can occur in any pit, so always be aware. The following are some common phenomena in their indigenous styles of mosh pits.

Ska Pit:
Flying Elbows! Those skanking around you will most probably be throwing their elbows back in your direction, make sure to steer clear and never stand behind a person more than five inches taller than you or you could leave the pit with a broken nose.
Spinners. If you’re standing on the edge of a circle beware of people who grab hands and spin. Eventually you’ll either get pummeled by a fly-by spinner or wind up as a catcher when the two finally let go.

Punk Pit:
Wall of Death. If you are participating in this event, remember to keep your arms up and keep up with the charging crowd and pray you don’t get trampled!
Circle Pit. A circle pit is one of the most adrenaline inducing mosh activities, while engaged in a mash of people running in a frantic circle while thrashing arms and legs and creating general havoc remember these simple rules: keep moving, when you need to exit move towards the edge and thrash your way out and remember to keep your arms up.

Hard Core Pit:
Crush! This is not an activity for the claustrophobic, if you are inclined to close contact paranoia and notice a crush coming on, leave! If you get caught in a crush of people above all else, stay on your feet. Try to flow in the direction of the crowd. Do not panic if you are lifted off the ground, step on peoples legs if you must until the crowd thins. Be aware of your surroundings, this is possibly one of the most dangerous moshes.
Crowd Surfers. If a crowd surfer is over head help with the support and shove forward with all your strength. If you intend to participate do not ask the six foot eight inch, 250 pound man who as just lifted twelve people to lift you; that’s just rude. Try not to flail, remember that you surf at your own risk and have a very good chance of falling.

Step Five

Be prepared, not stressed. A good mosher is aware, but not paranoid. As with any endeavor, practice makes perfect, so get out there and mosh as much as possible! Go to as many shows as you can, look for new experiences and try out a different scene every once in a while. Even the most dedicated punk rocker should go and experience the hard core scene, at least once or twice. Remember that moshing isn’t about disgruntled youth just being rebellious (although that’s part of it), it demands a respect for others and a dedication to music and the culture that music creates. So be open minded, look for new opportunities; have your pop culture friends come to a hard core show, and make your punk rocker buddies experience the thrill of a ska pit. Moshing was designed to bring people closer (not just physically), release pent up emotions and celebrate the inspiration that the music awakens in each person. Get out there and create some chaos!

Warning: Author is not in any way responsible for any injuries and/or emotional scarring due to the moshing activities listed. The aforementioned description and advice is the result of the author’s personal moshing experience and is subject to interpretation and change.

19 thoughts on “Five Easy Steps to Mosh Pit Survival”

  1. Great column. I’ve had limited experience in the mosh pit, but those that I’ve had were fun as hell. Rancid and Finch were my most memorable. It never fails that you’ve got that one asshole pushing and shoving people around like a badass, and knocking them down on purpose. Play nice, it’s all about the love people! Crowd surfers annoy me though. Sure, it looks cool, but being the person who’s not crowd surfing and getting kicked in the head sucks.

  2. This is perhaps the best examples of the rules of a mosh pit I have seen to date. I try to explain in details to my friends what it is all about, but no one ever wants to try it with me. Maybe you should put up a step about bringing friends along too 🙂 Good work…

  3. If you have braces, GET A MOUTH GAURD!! you will will look silly, but trust me on this.

    Getting hit in the mouth in the pit will happen to you eventually. Imagine that with sharp metal attached to you teeth!

    I have gone through this already, it is not fun. What would normally be a small bruise and a only a little blood, turned into a full-out gushing lip gash. Ruined the concert for me, got my t-shirt bloody.

    If you have braces, stay out of the pit, or be very careful. If you have a mouth gaurd, then power to you. Go do it.

  4. cool column this is really good for first time mosh pitters. i love the pit but being black i sum time get sum fucking shit off sum skin head

  5. This rocks! Im going to a HIm concert soon and I really didn’t wanna get totally battered this has helped me so much!

  6. what the fuck about the metal moshpits??? fuck this bullshit punk, u kids cant mosh, ur just afraid of getting pushed so u punch people away, little bitches.

  7. some important rule :

    never say : ” Dude this is the best moshpit ever! ”

    unless it’s a slayer moshpit

  8. dude, do you ACTUALLY have the live video of when the fans do the wall of death? i saw it and i was amased at the carnage that was shown..if you can find it or if ya have it..send it to my e-mail address..(PLEASE)…-CHEERS-..see ya in the pit…-Adam “UpStaRt”

  9. wow, thanks for the feedback guys. i realized i missed a lot of stuff, this was only meant to be a brief reveiw of moshing. glad I could help some newbies out!!

    keep coming back to the site, I plan to have a sequel article coming out soon. and if you havent already checked out the forums please do!

    keep reading….thanks!!

  10. God help me I was caught in some where between a crush and a wall of death at a New Found Glory show on the 7th in Randalls Island. I’m the worst type of person for a mosh pit, a short little girl with long hair and no idea what I should have done at all, but now I’m going to learn my stuff to keep myself from being trapled and fallen upon like I was (a crowd surfer fell on my face, followed by those trying to hold her up). This is a big help, saftey wise, and if I hadn’t paniced and started thrashing when i began to fall i might have come out a little bit better.

  11. Yeah, moshing is fun and all if you’re safe. My girlfriend and I did have a problem with a crowd surfer one time though. This guy must have surfed like fifty times, no joke. We were in the front row, so whenever he jumped, he would always hit my gf in the head. One time he actually knocked her out, and I had to hold her up, amid all the rocking going on. Sometimes he would land on her back and jump back on stage, just to fuckin’ jump again. Needless to say, every time this inconsiderate fuck jumped, I would punch him and slam him into the ground. And no one stopped me, because they saw what an asshole he was. We ripped off his shirt, and also gave him indian rug burns. What’s the lesson to all of this? If you are surfing, don’t be an asshole, and watch out for what you are doing. I’m sure my friend and I made his night somewhat shitty, which is what we planned on doing. Keep in mind that if I could have got a good hold on the fucker, I would have beat his ass into a pulp. The other people didn’t mind either, considering he was doing the same thing to other people. Even one of the band members shoved him off the stage because he saw that he knocked out my gf (thanks to Twisted Method for doing this). Fuck crowd surfing, and if this happens again, I will do the same with no hesitation. That’s all I gotta say, have fun moshing though!

  12. hey… wat are slayer mosh pits like anyone…im going to see them and slipknot in 9 days and im kinda worried about the pits….dont wanna die….

    please repsond:)

  13. @mathew:

    I’m gonna be at Slayer on Friday in Cardiff. I guess you’ve already been now, but for the uninitiated, a Slayer pit is frickin’ mental. I’ve been moshing for 10 years (never seen a mosh without diving in), and that was the most hardcore. The only pit that gets more extreme during the guitar solos!

  14. i saw slayer and slipknot on the 6th. it was immense, had such a good pit of hatebreed and the slayer pit was utter anihalation. my mate got as rib broke lucky bish. anyone else go?

  15. i just went to my first real concert (True North/Blood Brothers/Against Me) and i was totally freaked out by the moshing. I got in the middle of it with my friends but got out quick once I started having a panic attack. It seemed like so much fun, and I’m angry at myself for not being able to handle it. Any advice for getting over the initial shock/fear/panic?

  16. I just went to a pennywise gig and watched the fans in the mosh pit. It was a trip. I mentioned to my boyfriend (who had been moshing) how hardcore it looks. He told me ” Its all about the release.”

    Awesome therepy. I was almost ready to get down there and mosh. It was cool.

    Most information I have read is so negative. Glad to see something positive.

    Thanks!

  17. A good trick is to work your way up. My first pit was at a free show last summer. It was to lucna Coil. Well that was a good starter this summer i went to a drowning pool concert and when they played bodies there were over 200 people in ONE pit. It was insaine. If that was my first pit i would have got my ass kicked. Luckyly it wasnt so I only came out with a newly peirced lip. (spiked braclet)

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