A girl’s guide to mosh pits and crowd surfing

By Ann Beisch, 15, Marymount HS
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It all started about a year ago. I was at a concert for Blink 182 with a bunch of friends who were already in the punk scene. At the time, I wasn’t into punk at all. My taste in music consisted of the Spice Girls, ‘N Sync and bands like that.

I got to the Paladium that day feeling kind of nervous and wondered if I’d fit in with all these punk fans.

Ok, I was dead nervous if you want to know the truth. Would they call me a prep? A jack? Throw stuff at me?

Looking back on that day now I just laugh. It only took a few minutes of listening to the music before I traded my pop rock self for punk. The opening acts, Alkaline Trio and No Motif totally pumped me up.

Everyone got into it and crowded into the mosh pit. In case you’ve never been in a mosh pit before, here’s what happens: People jump around to music and slam against each other, as a form of dancing. Pretty soon, you’re covered in sweat, but it’s not necessarily your own. Depending on the type of music and fans it attracts, moshing can be either fun or rough.

But the crowd for this concert was pretty easy going. My friends and I took one look at each other and then jumped in the mosh pit.

I had the time of my life. It worked almost all too well. By the time Blink came on stage, my friends and I were already crowd surfing.

In case you don’t know, crowd surfing is when you’re lifted into the crowd and people push you above their heads. This involves a lot of strangers touching you, which can feel weird. But you take that chance when you crowd surf.

"Wow," I thought when I was back on the ground again. "That was crazy!" I was having the time of my life.

All that jumping around made me quite thirsty. I bought a bottled water and headed upstairs to the balcony. I looked down and saw the mosh pit. The scene below was unbelievable. It looked totally insane. I couldn’t believe I was a part of that!

The Blink concert marked the start of a new passion for me—crowd surfing and mosh pits. I couldn’t wait to do it again.

I had my chance a few months later at Warped Tour 2001. That concert lasted eight hours and attracted thousands of fans to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The Blink concert seemed like a joke in comparison, because Warped Tour was the tightest thing I’ve ever been to.

The people, bands and even the overpriced lemonade rocked. I was there the whole time and in front of every pit. I couldn’t hold my enthusiasm in, especially when The Ataris, my favorite band in the world, came on.

Since I was right in front of the stage and I was so loud, they actually put me in their home video. They signed my Converse shoes. It was the last time that The Ataris performed together as a group because guitarist Marco Pena quit the band the next day to pursue his own music.

I’ll never forget that day for the rest of my life. Kris Roe, lead singer of The Ataris, actually hugged me!

I’m totally into this scene now, and it surprises me when others cringe at the idea of moshing and crowd surfing.

People who haven’t experienced moshing, like my friend Christine, automatically think of danger and sexual harassment when the word is thrown around. In fact, all of my friends who don’t mosh, think it’s all bad and always bring up Woodstock as an example.

Mosh pits got a bad reputation after the Woodstock concert in July 1999. Five women were allegedly raped at that concert. One of those rapes allegedly happened in the mosh pit. But Woodstock was a completely different situation from local concerts at clubs or even large tours at stadiums.

In my opinion, Woodstock got out of hand because alcohol was readily available, security was lax and the concert lasted for three days.

The reality of moshing and crowd surfing is that it’s all completely voluntary. If you don’t want to do it, you don’t have to. When the crowd gets too rough for your taste, get out of the pit. It’s as simple as that.

During the Warped Tour concert, AFI was one of the first performers out. They are a hard punk rock group. The music pumped everyone up and people started moshing. I joined in the fun and got inside the mosh pit. It was pretty rough in there and I struggled to hold my own.

Then I was pushed to the ground.

I felt paralyzed. People were flying through the air above me. Bodies jumped all around. I thought it was only a matter of seconds before I was trampled to death.

But the kids around me were helpful. They pulled me up and I was fine. Still, the crowd seemed dangerous, so I just left. That’s one thing that you always have the option of doing—walking away. It was way too much for me, but some of my friends, like Nicole, prefer pits when they get rough.

"What’s the point of moshing if it doesn’t get tough? The whole point of moshing is to get with the awesome punk rock," Nicole said.

To each her own, I guess.

All in all, mosh pits are great! They make the whole concert worthwhile because everything just seems to come alive. So don’t hold back. Jump in and rock on!