Concerts should be enjoyed, not feared

By Jennifer Meyer

Going to a punk or rock show is an experience like no other.

While the band is playing, the crowd can get pretty crazy. Getting kicked in the head with a combat boot or poked in the eye by a mohawk is part of the thrill of going to shows. But recently, crowd behavior has changed.

Crowd surfing and moshing are no longer the preferred activities for concert-goers. Pushing forward and crushing fans seems to be the new trend. This is not only stupid, but it could actually kill someone.

This phenomenon happened recently at the Local H show at Otto’s Sept. 16. I chose to sit up in the balcony to protect my petite 105-pound frame from the potential mosh pits. However, the mosh pit was not what was to be feared. The weight of the crowd on my back was the threat. The fans in the front row had so many other people leaning and pushing on them that they were bent over the stage. How are fans supposed to enjoy the show with their face smashed into the stage floor?

When singer and guitarist Scott Lucas jumped into the crowd, he ended up falling on the fans because none of them reached up to catch him. They were too busy trying to suffocate the person in front of them.

It is exhilarating to see and hear your idols up close and in person, especially in small venues. Fans expect a good time and want to see a great show, not to get crushed under the pressure of 200 other fans.

When I am at a show, I want to move around and enjoy the band, not have imprints of the stage on my chest. I don’t want to be crushed and suffocated, and I feel no need to do this to other people. This behavior does not make sense and I have never seen anything like it at other concerts. This pushing nonsense angers me, and I want an explanation for it.

This behavior can be deadly. The crowd at a 1996 show in Ireland crushed Bernadette O’Brien, a 17-year-old Smashing Pumpkins fan, to death. According to, she was crushed so badly she suffered a heart attack.

Crowds should not be getting so out of control that they end up killing other fans. It is shows like these that give rock music a bad reputation and discourage venues from booking certain bands.

While in such close proximity to others, some also find it necessary to smoke a cigarette and drink when they are smashed between people. So not only do fans need to fear suffocation, they need to worry about liquor being spilled on them and then someone else lighting them on fire with their cigarette.

Some say, “Don’t go to concerts if you can’t handle being in the crowd.” Getting crushed to death and suffering heart attacks are not consequences of seeing a show or part of the crowd experience. Attitudes like this have no place in the rock community.

If this continues, more fans will be dying at shows. The media will falsely place the blame on the band and the venue, which will already be dealing with lawsuits.

Fans need to take responsibility for their behavior. Have respect for the band, as well as for other fans. The bands don’t want anyone dying at their concerts.

Shows should be places to go to escape regular life and to have fun. Fans should not fear for their lives when they are in the front row, or anywhere for that matter. This ludicrous behavior makes rock fans look ignorant and brainless.

What ever happened to the mosh pit, the dancing and flailing? Why, of all things, is it being replaced by pushing forward and crushing people, leaving them no possibility to move anywhere, and for no apparent reason? It’s ridiculous.

If you feel the need to crush other fans at concerts, do everyone a favor and stay home. I paid to see a good band, not to suffer a heart attack.

Columns reflect the opinion of the author and not necessarily that of the Northern Star staff.