I’ve been to my share of rock and metal shows. My buddy and I would often try to weasel our way between the crammed bodies to be at the very front of the stage. Oftentimes when the crowd is feeling the music just right, things can get pretty crazy. People begin to bounce off each other and the crowd intensity matches the performance of the band on stage.
I’ve always enjoyed a good mosh pit. It is fun to push people around, and to be pushed around. There’s this unspoken rule of thumb if a person falls down, you pick that person back up and get right back into it. Mosh pit etiquette was never something I’ve picked up during my first concert. I had to learn it over time while attending show after show. Every band, crowd and venue is different which makes every show a new experience every time.
One of the worst mosh pits I’ve ever been in was at a music and arts festival in rural Alberta. My buddy and I wanted to be front and centre for when A Perfect Circle was headlining, so we reserved our spot right before an opening ska/punk band hit the stage. I’m not sure if it was the hot weather or the fact we were surrounded by 18 to early 20-something-year-olds who were either high, drunk or both. But as soon as the ska band began to play, the crowd became extremely hostile. The mass of bodies were crushing us up against the rails. Girls were tossed in the air while being groped in the midst of crowd-surfing. Guys were punching and elbowing their way to get to the front of the stage. I got elbowed in the face and lost a good pair of sunglasses. My buddy was busy putting himself between the tsunami of morons and a girl at the rails who was barely five feet tall to prevent her from being crushed to death. Her boyfriend managed to maneuver through the chaos to take over protective duties, and then my buddy yelled to me,
“Let’s get the hell out of here!”
It probably took us a good five minutes to shove and punch our way out of that mess while avoiding having a sweat-covered, crowd-surfing millennial carcass thrown on top of our heads, but we managed to get out alive with only a few scratches. I don’t even remember the quality of the band’s performance, I only remember having contempt towards the idiotic fans and fearing for my life in the process.
It seems as though life is a lot like a giant mosh pit. You’re surrounded by people who all have different walks of life, world-views and values. It’s easy to get along with everyone when the music, or life in general, is calm. But once life starts to pick up speed, the people around you react accordingly. Some will bounce around with you. Some will pick you up when you fall down. Some will stand with you at the sidelines when you’ve decide you had enough pushing around. And some are only there to cause problems and stir up the pit.
In every mosh pit I’ve ever been in, the most important thing to do was to continuously be aware of my surroundings and stand my ground. On the occasions when I wasn’t paying attention or planting my feet properly, I would get knocked down and trampled over.
Life is full of people who will lie to you, manipulate you, push you around or tear you down and want nothing more than to see you fall and be trampled underfoot. If someone pushes you, push back – but be courteous and pick that person back up if they fall.
Stand your ground. Stand up for what you believe in. And as the cliche says, stand for something, or fall for anything.