Hardcore music fans driving away crowd, killing scene

By Victor Dixon, Editor-in-Chief

The culture of local alternative music is losing its value as a safe space.

Wichita’s alt scene is home to many different music-based subcultures, such as punk, grunge, emo, metal, thrash and several others. You will often find a diverse mix of bands that align with different genres at each local concert, but a problem arises when some members of the community make said concerts unsafe or uncomfortable for others.

Moshing is a style of dance that includes running and jumping around, typically into other people. It is often found within these music subcultures, along with the expectation that you might get injured by moshing. But it is equally acceptable to have audience members that do not want to mosh or for a venue to not allow moshing.

People can choose not to mosh for any number of reasons, whether it be because they don’t want to get hurt, they don’t want to touch anyone, or they simply aren’t feeling like it at that moment.

This is why most mosh pits often naturally fall into a structure where there is a circle in front of the stage for moshing and a barrier of people on the edge that catch people who fall and direct them back to the middle or out to the edge. The rest of the room outside of the circle consists of people who do not intend to mosh at that instant.

This approach is pretty widespread and works well for making sure everyone can have fun and enjoy the music in their own way, even when things get rough. But an issue arises when people partake in something called crowd killing.

This is when moshers knowingly and recklessly target people who are inside and on the edge of the pit by punching and kicking, which can easily lead to people getting seriously hurt, the band’s equipment being broken, or the venue itself being damaged in some way.

The main culprits of crowd killing, I’ve found, are often people who show up for metal bands and proceed to carry that same energy into other bands’ sets, even if it is not welcome.

These occurrences are a dangerous reality for the scene, as they can drive away younger/newer people or even make certain venues and bands no longer want to associate with each other because of the actions of the audience.

During my time in the scene, I have found that almost every alternative group believes in being kind and welcoming over everything else. This behavior doesn’t reflect that, so let’s go back to our roots.

PHOTO: Courtesy photo, Unsplash