Dance of death: are the days of the moshpit numbered?

From the Guardian

In an attempt to make punk, rock and metal gigs less intimidating for female fans, many bands are banning moshpits and introducing ‘safe spaces’ instead

Is the moshpit on the way out? Photograph: Andrew Benge/Getty Images

My teenage years were spent getting bashed around in beer-fuelled moshpits. My long hair would get pulled, my cardigan torn, my arms bruised … and I loved it. They were the most liberating spaces in the world; places where I could be aggressive and lose a self-consciousness that often felt oppressive. It felt great to be thrashing around, holding my ground in a mass of mostly male bodies.

In hardcore and metal scenes, a lively moshpit is still the real indicator of a successful show. But rock has been changing over the past couple of years – notably by listening to women within its factions. Punk has long claimed to be about community while, at the same time, managing to marginalise minorities. Yet the scene does now seem to be actually changing. DIY punk groups such as PWR BTTM, Diet Cig and Adult Mom have introduced safe spaces at their shows – and moshpits have often been the first casualties.

“At least at our shows, we’re trying to create a safer space, and, right now, I can’t see a way to have moshing that’s completely respectful of everyone there,” says Diet Cig’s Alex Luciano. “We get to feel safe on the stage, and we want to extend that feeling to our audience.” And there is something undeniably warm about being in these spaces. When I went to my first PWR BTTM show last year in London, everyone was dancing and laughing, and it felt like a party more than a gig. A very masculine type of aggression is being rejected here, in order that minorities – women, trans people, people of colour and so on – are able to feel free.

Such bold moves hark back to the days of “riot grrl” in the 90s where the war cry demanded “girls to the front” as a reaction against the macho punk scene. Even within metal and hardcore – where moshing is a crucial part of the live experience – these arguments are becoming less alien, and women’s stories have helped make bands and male audience members understand what it’s like to be a female rock fan.

Read more here

What do you think? Still moshing? Share your stories, we’d love to hear…..

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