Crowd surfer uses a boogie board to crowd surf at “Keeping Warm in a Cold World Tour” on January 4, 2013 in Rancho Cucamonga, CA
(Photo Courtesy: Matthew Saunders)
Crowd surfing is an intimate concert experience only a handful of attendees gets to partake in. That act has been under fire recently following an incident from a concert of punk/emo outfit band Joyce Manor.
To summarize, frontman Barry Johnson confronted a crowd surfer from the stage, asserting that it is unacceptable for a grown man to impose his size on a young girl in the front row.
The incident in question can be seen in full in the following clip (1:00-1:42).
The incident sparked a controversy over social media and breathed new life into an old debate over stage diving’s place in music.
With hip hop artist Rick Ross injuring two 19-year-old boys in a crowd surfing attempt and electronic artist Skrillex in a legal dispute of allegedly giving a fan a stroke from crowd surfing, who can blame Johnson for taking a little precaution?
That being said, there is a proper way to crowd surf without presenting a danger to yourself or the audience.
Before you can engage in the act, you must be fully mentally prepared. Injury via crowd surfing is often due to a person feeling unsure or being forced into the act. You must be fully willing to crowd surf for everyone’s safety.
The most obvious part of the process is getting off the ground.
Many larger venues have barriers for the safety of the crowd. In this case, you can go with the “boost method,” meaning a friend lifts you into the air.
If a venue does not have a barrier, you can climb on stage and jump into the crowd. This is commonly known as a stage dive.
In the event of a stage dive, you must be aware of your surroundings. The crowd surfer must make quick initial eye contact to the area he wishes to dive into while reading the body language of the crowd.
You must also be aware that you are invading the territory of the band and must make haste. The band has a job to do, and if the crowd surfer takes too long, they run the risk of disrupting the band’s performance. The stage is a work area, not a playground.
American Horror Story shows how crowd surfing has made its way to mainstream media (1:03-1:23)
The last and most important step in crowd surfing is being a supporter. It’s everyone’s duty to ensure a safe environment. This includes catching stage divers, picking up fans, being aware of their surroundings, and reporting suspicious activity such as bullying or sexual harassment.
In the event of unnecessary violence or personal violation during a concert, it is important to report the event to security or staff immediately. Don’t be a hero. It’s security’s job to deal with hostile individuals that threaten the safety of the venue.
Music is a liberating form of art and has very few rules. However, no one at a concert should ever feel threatened or afraid for any reason. Stage diving can be an exhilarating experience, but only if everyone is in the same pre-cautious state of mind. Go to a concert, stay safe, but most importantly, have fun.