Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Amid Chaos, There Are Still Rules

A couple of weeks ago I attended the Rockstar Mayhem Fest. While there I got to see bands like The Devil Wears Prada, Anthrax, As I Lay Dying, Motorhead, Slayer, and the headliner of the show, Slipknot.

This is NOT your grandfather's metal!

The venue in which this event was being held is an outdoor one so, once you have entered the main gates, there is still a distance one must walk before getting to the main stage. Along the way I spotted several people which, I can only assume, were once participants of a mosh pit. Bloodied faces, EMTs rushing by with people in wheelchairs. Jesus Christ! What kind of fucking mess did I get myself into!?

I make my way to a side stage and watch The Devil Wears Prada and Anthrax, whereupon I see several more people limping, staggering, and crawling out of the main crowd. Plastic glasses filled with beer (hopefully) or piss (probably) are being thrown into the air into the midst of the crowd. It was obvious that this was no place for someone with a heart condition.

The melee ends and everyone begins to make their way over to the main stage area. My "seat" was on the lawn. I use the term seat loosely as only someone who had a death wish or no sense of self preservation would be sitting during this concert. Practically 200 yards of lawn becomes a most pit by the end of the night.

Me to co-worker: "How was your weekend?"
Co-worker to me: "Good. Just relaxed around the house. You?"
Me to co-worker: "Oh, I was in a mosh pit. Usual weekend."

Yours truly was lucky enough to be by/near/in/around/part of one. So many slashes...but with the shifting of the crowd it was hard to tell where you would be from one minute to the next.

It was then, being the sociologist that I am, began to notice something happening in what appeared to be chaos. There are rules when you're involved in a mosh pit and you are expected to know and observe these rules when you are by/near/in/around/part of one. You can even Google "moshpit rules" and you'll find several posts listing various rules.

One that you'll find posted on most every list of rules is that you help up those who are knocked down. Things happen...it's organized chaos. People are going to fall. If you spot someone, you are expected to help them up. If you're along the perimeter of the pit you are expected to help up those who are pushed to the edge. You're also partiality responsible for protecting those who are outside of the pit.

Observe Rule #1

Usually the wikiHow pages are filled with useless shit, but the one about How to Mosh in a Mosh Pit is actually pretty decent. Check it out and tell me what you think.

Finally - if you've NEVER heard Slipknot before...here is a video, thanks to my sister, from the concert I attended. Enjoy!