Ten Rules of Mosh Pit Etiquette

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Dave Watt

4. Respect that not everyone is there for the pit
Recognize who does and does not want to be involved. It should be clear from their proximity to the pit and whether or not it seems to invite them or scare them. There's no shame in not wanting to mosh. Not everyone wants to wake covered in bruises or take multiple heels to the kidneys. Always remember that elbowing someone with and without breasts are entirely different things, height differentials drastically change the individual experience, and some people actually want to watch the show for whatever reason.

3. Try to keep tempo and pace with those around you
If you're not prepared for the quick-footed barrage brought on by a band's driving uptempo sections, wait for the slower, heavier sections where you can draw out the aggression in larger bursts. The pace can rise and fall both with the band's compositions and with the makeup of the pit itself. While sporadic increases in speed and intensity will crop up if an audience knows what's coming, often natural lulls occur as the people catch their breath, slowly realizing getting punched in the lungs while running in circles can be physically tiring. It's best to try to pace yourself according to the flow of the pit as a whole, otherwise it's easy to lose control over your own movement.

2. Don't make it or take it personal
Elbows fly everywhere and aren't intended for anyone in particular. Don't get upset if someone accidentally gets you in the breadbasket or whatever. By the same token, don't target anyone explicitly for whatever reason. This is the joy of fighting other human beings without the unnecessary emotions like anger or loathing.

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Dave Watt

1. Respect the venue staff
One of the biggest jobs of the bouncers and venue staff is to keep fights out of their club. If a place is being kind enough to allow some contained acts of violence in the context of slam-dancing, the least you can do is show the staff respect. If they're in the pit with you, it's to keep it safe and make sure there are no injuries. Don't agitate or involve them, and if they remove you from the circle, they have a good reason. Getting pissy about being pulled from crowdsurfing and the like is not necessary. Keep it sane and the staff will likely not bother you. They're just trying to keep everything above board.

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3 comments
Karl Richards
Karl Richards

I go into mosh pits so that I do not have to adhere to etiquette.

Steve787
Steve787

Missing rule:  Elbows go both ways.  Don't get angry when you get back what you are giving.

codynix
codynix

Bonus rule: Don't fart in the pit.

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