← Back to main page

headbanging dude

meow1917's Moshpit Etiquette!!

another headbanging dude

So, you'd like to participate in a moshpit. I don't blame you because it's super fun! But there are a lot of misconceptions around it. In addition, not everyone in the pit knows the etiquette all that well. These are all unwritten rules you're expected to follow, but mostly just common sense. I wasn't quite satisfied with any other page on the Web that explained the moshing etiquette so I tried my hand at it myself. :3c

What is moshing? :o

Let's start by what moshing is not: Moshing is not a brawl, nor any other form of violence. Nobody's supposed to get hurt or injured. Moshing is not more dangerous than attending a concert at all. Moshing is a set of aggressive dances performed by the audience of a live performance. It's a way to express the energy and power the aggressive music evokes in you, shared with your fellow concertgoers. It's mostly limited to extreme metal (death, thrash, black etc) and hardcore punk, including grindcore. Due to public misconception of metalheads and punks as violent people, it's viewed as harmful by people outside the scene. Some venues outright ban it and bands of outsider genres like post-hardcore, metalcore, post-grunge and alt-metal (nu metal et al) are known to completely misunderstand it. I personally suggest not attempting to mosh outside metal and hardcore concerts. With that out of the way, let's see what this is all about...


The pit
An open space in front of the stage where the moshing takes place. You can very easily tell it apart at a glance.
You're almost certainly familiar with the solo version of this, since it becomes almost instinctive once you're immersed in the music. The more elaborate version involves bending down a bit, putting your hands on your knees and headbanging in circles to show off your luscious locks. You can do it with someone else by standing face-to-face and putting your hands on each other's shoulders instead. The collective version involves people (often complete strangers) putting your arms on each other's shoulders and headbanging together as a chain.
Slam dancing is what people usually call moshing. It involves the audience running around and indiscriminately slamming into each other and shoving them in arbitrary directions. More on this later.
This is a variant of what is sometimes called the pogo dance. The idea is quite similar, except pogoing is done collectively in the pit. The dancers run and jump up and down in a circle in the pit (sometimes called a circlepit). Quite harmless and lots of fun.
Wall of death
Walls are usually orchestrated impromptu by the band in the middle of a concert, if there's a large moshpit and the crowd appears to be willing. The pit is split into two groups who line up about ten metres away from each other, then break into a stampede towards the opposite group on the band leader's mark. After the collision, the now-reunited crowd instantly begins to mosh. Walls of death are rather rare because they can be dangerous if done by unexperienced moshers, potentially leading to serious trampling injuries.
The invention of this act predates punk or metal. A performer jumps on the audience with the intention to perform a crowdsurf. This is a rather risky move and should only be done from low stages onto willing crowds. Some venues allow audience members to climb the stage to perform stagedives.
Yet another controversial act, involving a person being carried over the stationary crowd from in front of the stage all the way to the back. If you aren't stagediving (you shouldn't), you need to signal someone strong to hoist you up to initiate the surf. Very difficult to pull off with small audiences, very risky with large ones if you don't trust your city's scene. You can take refuge in audacity and bring an inflatable boat to a huge concert to do this safely. One genuine use of this act is transferring injured and/or unconscious people in the middle of the crowd to safety, as paramedics mightn't be able to reach them as quickly.

A line of dancers

How to mosh

More to come...

↑ Back to top