Whether it’s a house concert, music festival or the Fremont Theater, one thing is for certain: people will be moshing.
The Cambridge English Dictionary defines the word “Mosh” as “to dance energetically and violently at a rock concert.” Here in San Luis Obispo, it goes beyond just rock concerts — this dance style can happen with any genre of music.
When looking at moshing from a scientific lens, there is a close comparison in movement between subjects in a “mosh pit” and molecules in a given space. People moving around in a mosh pit can be understood using the same principles of gas molecules moving around in space.
The Atlantic provided a further explanation on this behavior in an article on collective behavior: Research conducted on the behavioral movements of a “mosh pit” has been used to better understand riots and responses to disasters. National Geographic explained that scientists have been using concert footage to understand these responses during excited and chaotic states.
One undeniable fact about moshing is the risk of injury and other dangers that come along with it. Injuries can range from minor things, such as a bloody nose, to those more extreme (some have even torn an ACL). Yet, despite the risks, students continuously engage in moshing.
“Consensual aggression” is how business administration junior Lyle Rumon described the behaviors in a mosh. He believes mosh pits are a place where people go to let loose, enjoy music and sweat.
Theatre arts freshman at Cuesta College Issac Garcia said, “I feel like I go to these shows to let some emotions out.” Garcia has been moshing for around four years. Although he has sustained minor injuries, bloody noses, scratches and hurt toes, “it’s all just part of the process,” he said.
There are always protective measures people can take to avoid injuries while moshing. Rumon advised that people keep their elbows down and be aware of their surroundings. Wearing protective shoes is highly encouraged.
There seems to be a certain etiquette or even sportsmanship that is practiced within mosh pits in SLO.
“Anytime anyone falls, everyone jumps in to pick them back up,” kinesiology junior Aiden Luey said. “You’re pushing to show love.”
Luey described the typical mosh crowd as “All good people who are there for music and to meet cool people.”
The moshing community seems to play a major part in drawing people to the crowd at shows. Some could even argue that it is a safe place to be aggressive.
“I think it’s just the fun of it,” Garcia said. “It’s just kind of fun to include people and have them pushing each other randomly out of nowhere and I think that’s what makes me want to go back … it’s just the people, having fun with strangers.”
While the mosh pit seems to be a chaotic and reckless place, it has a deep-rooted love from local concertgoers, connecting people to the music scene and one another in San Luis Obispo.