Going to gigs is perhaps my most favourite pasttime. To be honest, I have no savings whatsoever, because I go to gigs as often as possible, to enjoy music and naturally enjoy my life. However, when I was first thrown into the world of the moshpit, I was taken by surprise at not only the movement within the physical pit, but the reaction towards a girl fighting to stand up and watch her favourite bands play.
Let’s face it, if you’re a girl, and you’re going to be at a metal gig, you’re probably going to be outnumbered. I’m not being sexist, i’m just being honest. When it comes to alternative music, women are not necessarily the target audience, and there naturally seems to be a higher men to women ratio within the moshpit.
This is just a little guide towards surviving the moshpit, and naturally any sort of festival situation.
First off, let’s consider what makes up a moshpit. There’s not any defined areas, of course, but you can easily see them just by looking.
You have the front row, against the barrier. This is where the hardcore fans are going to be. They’ve probably been lining up since well before the night before, just to ensure they’ve got a place to see and hear everything. If you’re in the front row, you’re generally safe. You’ve got a huge line of security watching you, as well as easy access to water, and you’re able to jump out if you’re feeling far too daunted by the situation. From the front row back, however, you might find yourself in a bit of a pickle.
I’m asking for the sake of keeping our right to stand tall in a mosh – don’t complain. Yes, I realise there are hot sweaty men pressing their bodies up against you. Yes, you may get groped. Yes, you may even hear some verbal abuse about why you shouldn’t be there, coz you’re a girl. That’s just life, i’m afraid. But please, don’t complain about it. It’s going to kill everyone’s good time, and you’re going to look like you’re precious. If you’re struggling for air and space, then sure, ask politely “Excuse me, I just need a bit of space for a second.” but don’t be shut down if they respond with a solid “No.”
If you’re coping it from men all around you, before the band even starts playing, there’s one thing I have used on occasion that’s given me some space, and has shut up the people around me. Simply say, rather loudly: “My GOD, my herpes are absolutely SCORCHING today.” Watch the people recoil away from you in horror, you’ll get your space. But only use this technic sparingly!
The next few rows of people behind you are all vying for your spot. They were too lazy to get there early, and they’re trying to push through, as well as being pushed by the natural wave and movement of an audience. People in the middle tend to have some sort of psychological breakdown, where they believe that can intentionally hurt others just because there’s a lot of movement.
If you’re at a metal concert too, there’s going to be punk circles, as well as crowd surfers. If you’re stuck in this front-middle position and you’re not in the mood to fight for your right, then consider moving to the sides.
The front left and right sides, avoiding the middle, are generally the best position to watch from. In this situation, you’ve got enough space to be able to see the band well, and you’re avoiding being kicked in the head by a crowd surfer. The side spots are always full of ‘watchers’, and you might even find some interesting people to chat to in the process, coz they’re there for the same reason as you.
Then naturally, you’ve got the back position that is for the late people, friends or partners brought along against their will, and other people that don’t really mind about seeing the band, they just want to dance.
The back position is a chilled out area. There’s heaps of room, if your little legs are getting tired then you probably have space to sit down. You might also find the older drunken people chilling back in this space, and the friends and partners that were brought along. People tend to look either really bored in this area, or they’ve moved back so they have a chance to get their funk on, and have a bit of a dance.
So that’s the basic components of a mosh pit. These situations may vary, depending on what band you’re seeing.
The most important thing in a mosh pit is always to help your fellow man. I cannot stress this point enough – if you see someone fall down (or get kicked down) you help them up! You pick them up (even if you’re going to lose your coveted spot, yes, you’re human too super-fans) get them on their feet, and make sure they’re okay.
With a huge aray of Summer festivals coming up in the Northern Hemisphere, keep your eye out for your fellow man.
In Australia there are hundreds of festivals that take place over Summer, and of course, people are dropping like flies due to lack of water. So as soon as you arrive at your festival, check out where the free water tanks are, as well as the drink stands. Keeping yourself hydrated may also just be what keeps you from feeling like you’ve woken up in a ditch the next day. It’ll help stop sunstroke too, which is going to be what gets you the most at the end of your festival.
Check out the weather report the night before. If it’s going to be sunny, then stock up on sunblock and avoid getting either really burnt, or a terrible tan from your shirt or bag. If it’s going to rain, then think about maybe taking your wellingtons and one of those terribly unfashionable rain ponchos. You may look ridiculous, but at least you’re not going to be sopping wet, freezing and miserable – you can still enjoy your day! Naturally, don’t bring umbrellas. They’re not going to be allowed in. You can poke someone’s eye out with it.
Make sure to keep food up too – nothing worse than feeling hungry, and having to wait an hour in the heat to get served something that’s probably going to give you food poisoning in the long run anyway.
On that note, try and get to a bathroom before about 4pm in the afternoon. For some reason, the port-a-loos seem to get exceedingly disgusting after 4pm due to high use, and there’s rarely ever any loo paper left. Not a bad idea to come prepared! Put a little square of folded up loo paper in your bag, and you’re set.
So remember these few golden rules:
-Check the weather forecast before your festival
-Keep drinking and eating! Just coz you’re at a concert doesn’t mean you can’t take time to refresh
-Look out for your fellow man. See someone in trouble? Help them. It could mean the difference between life and death in some situations – so don’t assume they’ll be alright.
-Always pick your position in the mosh carefully. It’s going to ensure you’re going to get the experience that you wanted, which is going to impact on how awesome your day is going to be.