Guidelines for safer moshing environments

Although mosh pits remain prime viewing areas at concerts and music festivals there have been a considerable number of serious incidents and deaths.

Definitions

  • Moshing: to engage in uninhibited activities near the stage at a rock concert.
  • Mosh pit: audience area in front of the stage where moshing takes place.
  • Stage barrier: also known as a crowd barrier or punter barrier – a barrier placed in front of the stage to prevent patrons accessing the stage. Barriers must be able withstand considerable pressure and have a raised area to enable crowd controllers to observe the crowd and extract people that may be in distress.
  • Pit: area between the stage and crowd barrier. The area occupied by the stage crowd controllers.

Major issues

There are two major areas of concern for mosh pit safety:

  • crowd surfing
  • crushing.

Stage diving is another problematic activity but this appears to have lost popularity following serious injuries to high profile performers and large lawsuits from injured patrons.

There are some indisputable facts about mosh pits:

  • crowd surfing is dangerous
  • many people have been killed and many more have been permanently disabled due to activities in these areas
  • the size of the crowd is not relevant. Major injuries have occurred at relatively small events with 500 or less people.

Crowd surfing has become an accepted thing for many people and this group will not readily accept change.

Recommendations for mosh pit safety

Since 2001, concert organisers have implemented several strategies to reduce harm related to mosh pits. These measures have resulted in a reduction in the number of injuries at concerts and events.

It is strongly recommended that the following procedures are implemented at all concerts. Failure to do so may result in serious financial consequences in the event of a subsequent injury and claim from an injured patron.

  • Patrons must be advised that crowd surfing is dangerous and will not be tolerated. Appropriate signs and announcements prior to the start of each event and set are recommended.
  • Mosh pits are high risk, with physical pressures, small and fragile people should not benter mosh pits.  
  • Patrons at the stage barrier must be monitored and water administered to those in need.
  • Hosing/drenching of mosh pit patrons is not recommended as this creates a humid effect in the already hot environment but light spraying with potable water is recommended when patrons are obviously hot.
  • First aid should be located adjacent to the stage crowd barrier.
  • Patrons should be advised that:
    • mosh pits are dangerous
    • they should be considerate to those around them
    • if they notice someone in trouble, they should lend assistance and seek help from a crowd controller or first aid officer.
  • Crowd controllers must be familiar with mosh pit environments.
  • Performers, crowd control and event managers must monitor the situation and be prepared to stop the event in the interests of safety. Safety must always be the first consideration.
  • Identify the person with the ultimate responsibility for safety prior to the event.
  • Ensure that there is an adequate distance between the stage barrier and stage to allow crowd controllers to operate effectively – no less than 1.5 metres.
  • There must be no protrusions from the stage that will injure people crashing into the pit.
  • The crowd barrier must be an approved type and must be checked for finger entrapment and sharp protrusions.

Outdoor summer events

It is strongly recommended that events comply with the Guidelines for concerts, events and organised gatherings 2009 (PDF 3.12MB) with particular attention given to the issues listed below for outdoor summer events.

Dousing station

Dousing stations should be established. These are simply locations where patrons can be sprayed with potable water; simple reticulation fittings arranged to produce a fine spray or mist through which patrons walk is all that is required but some more elaborate arrangements are often provided as part of advertising promotions.

Hard standing areas with adequate drainage are recommended to avoid slushy ground.

Care needs to be taken to dispose of the wastewater in an appropriate matter.

Drinking water

Free drinking water should be available at specific areas including near the venue entrance/s and in close proximity but not within mosh pits. Patrons should not be required to access drinking water at hand wash basins in toilet facilities.

Shade

Shade must be provided to allow some relief from hot sun but care needs to be given so that additional climbing hazards are not introduced.

More information

  • For information about organising an event, or information related to a public building, contact the relevant local government Environmental Health Services where the event or building is located. Refer to the online local government directory for contact details. Ask to speak to an Environmental Health Officer. 
  • For events or public buildings located in Kings Park, Rottnest Island, or locations not within a local government district, contact the Environmental Health Directorate by emailing Public.Events@health.wa.gov.au or call 9222 2000

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Public Health