Are Heavy Metal Concerts Too Dangerous?
As I was going through my Bi-Monthly issue of Revolver Magazine, I stumbled across the article of, "Are Heavy Metal Concerts Too Dangerous?" You know what? That is a really good question to ask. I have been to over 250 concerts and counting (Honestly not surprised I am not deaf). I have walked away with a broken toe, bruised body, ripped shirts, and crazy head aches from tons of headbanging. It does go to question, are Metal Shows Too Brutal?
Let's give it a little background. I have participated in tons of mosh pits and crowd surfing. I have been dropped flat on my back, trampled in the pit, received an extremely large black eye, and broke a toe. What do these all have in common? They were all done at Heavy Metal concerts. The black eye was at Mushroomhead, broken toe at Atreyu/Lacuna Coil, trampled at Slipknot/Hatebreed, dropped at Killswitch Engage. Are these things considered dangerous? Yes, but is it always like this? No.
Most concert attendees go to concerts to see their favorite music live and have a good time. When it comes to concerts, Metal shows have a tendency to get extremely crazy. Performers like Jamey Jasta (Hatebreed) command the audience members to create, "The Wall of Death." This is where the audience on the floor is split side to side, and when the music gets rollin', the crowd runs at each other like a game of football (minus a helmet and proper padding).
No one really made a deal about such activity until Woodstock '99, where a festival that was originally about peace and love, turned into destruction and mass chaos. This could be blamed on the horrible conditions of the concert setting with about 200,000 in attendance! Over 100 degree temps, with little to no shade. Bottles of water were $4, and slices of Pizza were $12! The end result? Attendees tore down lighting rigs, burned sound equipment, raided vendors and stole food and band merchandise and more. Many were injured and even some allegations of sexual assault were reported. From this point forward, festivals and concerts were changed forever.
"It was dangerous to be around. The whole scene was scary. There were just waves of hatred bouncing around the place. It was clear we had to get out of there.... It was like a concentration camp. To get in, you get frisked to make sure you're not bringing in any water or food that would prevent you from buying from their outrageously priced booths. You wallow around in garbage and human waste. There was a palpable mood of anger." -Kurt Loder (MTV)-
Since that event, proper security has been booked for events, and many things go into consideration before booking an event. Laws were enacted to prevent wrong doings, such as proper amount of restrooms to accommodate the amount of people. Then the incident that recently occurred with Randy Blythe (Lamb of God) occured, and then the whole thing came up again.
Ultimately, it comes to the concert goers on how things are handled. In a mosh pit, if someone falls down, you pick them up. If someone falls from crowd surfing, you pick them up and toss them back in. The cool thing cool about metal show, is that we are all there to enjoy the show and release the aggression of our everyday lives in the pit. Once in awhile, you will get the idiot that wants to spoil the fun, but we just get security on him, and he is out.
In the end, are heavy metal shows too dangerous? I give it a yes and no. It is ultimately up to you on how you act at the show. Want to be in the pit? Then rush in and start rockin' and be prepared to suffer the risk! Don't want to be part of it? Hang out in the back and enjoy the show. One way or the other, metal shows are a damn good time.