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What is a 'mosh pit'? Word of the Week

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11 June, 2012
View from inside a Concert

Mosh pit (noun): The pushing, shoving, punching and kicking crowd in front of a heavy rock or punk band.

If you've ever been to watch a rock, punk or metal band, you'll probably be familiar with mosh pits. If you haven't, then you should definitely try and find a gig or a festival to go to and experience it for yourself!

A classic mosh pit is a group of fans right in the front of the crowd at a music concert who jump around, bash into each other, run around in a big circle, and sometimes throw punches and kicks, without worrying where they land.

The idea is not to hurt other fans, although this usually does happen. People start mosh pits because the music is loud, aggressive, energetic and sometimes violent - so the type of "dancing" that people enjoy doing tends to also be aggressive and energetic.

 

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Origins of moshing

People disagree on exactly when and where mosh pits started up. Most sources point at the punk sub-culture of Los Angeles around 1975 - 1980.  Punks developed a style of dancing which was mostly jumping up and down.  Some punks started crashing into each other, and these groups of "jumpers" turned into mosh pits.

Another type of moshing, called "skanking", grew up around the Second Wave Ska Revival of the 1980s in America. Ska music is based on reggae, but also received a lot of influence from punk and jazz. Skanking is less violent and aggressive, and involves running around in a big circle, often punching and kicking the air.

 

Some mosh pit etiquette

If you happen to find yourself in a mosh pit, here are some things to remember.

  1. You'll probably get hurt, but try not to actively hurt anyone.
  2. If you see someone fall down, help them up.
  3. If you see a lost shoe, pick it up and hold it in the air as you mosh.  Someone will claim it.
  4. If someone is standing at the edge of the pit and doesn't look like they want to mosh, don't drag them in.

 

Where can I find a mosh pit?

You can find mosh pits anywhere where there is live, loud music.  But some cities are more well known for their hardcore music scenes.  Our English school in London are great for the music venues nearby - venues that used to host bands like The Sex Pistols and The Clash.

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