Mosh Pit or Death Pit?

Taking in a live concert may be more dangerous than one might expect -- especially when you consider the risk of getting kicked in the face by a flaying crowd surfer or stage diver.

As many as 50 concertgoers at New Jersey's Bamboozle Festival this weekend reportedly sought medical attention after a mosh pit got out of hand.

Witnesses reported seeing several of the 70,000 attendants treating bloody noses and worse, getting carried out on stretchers.

"There is no way to crowd surf or stage dive safely consistently," said Paul Wertheimer, president of Crowd Management Strategies Inc., the only organization that tracks concert crowd safety incidents. "People go up [surfing] and stay up but more often than not they fall on people. They can die."


The dangers of mosh pits are alarming, according to concert safety experts and emergency medical professionals, who told that the most injuries incurred from mosh pits aren't actually by the moshers but by innocent bystanders.

Mosh Pit Injuries Can Be Extensive, Fatal

There have been nine mosh-related deaths recorded between 1994 and 2006, according to Wertheimer, who added that there very well may be more that have gone unreported.

At a 2007 Smashing Pumpkins concert in Vancouver, a 20-year-old concertgoer collapsed in a mosh pit and later died, according to Wertheimer's records.


The number of injuries is far greater: Crowd Management Strategies estimates that 10,000 people have been injured in and around mosh pits in the last decade.

At a University of Central Florida concert in April, four concertgoers were rushed to the hospital with broken bones after being crushed in what Wertheimer calls "mosh pit chaos" and at the 1999 Woodstock festival first aid casualties were in the ten thousands.

"A festival where moshing is prevalent, like Bamboozle, is likely to generate 100 to 200 mosh-related injuries requiring first aid or hospital care," said Wertheimer, who makes estimates based on the approximate number of mosh concerts and the general number of people injured at the events. "Smaller concerts, from 500 to 5,000 [attendees] will generate six to 40 first aid casualties or injuries."

Messages left by for the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, the presiding body over the Bamboozle Festival, were not immediately returned.

And the types of injuries that music fans can suffer are serious and can be paralyzing or even fatal, said Dr. Michael Gerardi, the director of the Pediatric Emergency Medicine for the Atlantic Health System in New Jersey.

"You can fall from six or seven feet and that's enough to break or hurt your neck," said Gerardi. "You can sustain facial injuries and break your nose or injure your eye from hitting a belt buckle or a piece of jewelry on your way down."

"If you land the wrong way you could snap your neck," added Gerardi.

Not surprisingly broken bones are the most likely, said Gerardi, who noted that most of the floors at concerts are concrete and do not provide a padded landing spot for moshers.

Insuring Moshing, Diving Fans

"Mosh pits are an interesting problem," said James Chippendale, the president of CSI Entertainment Insurance, a brokerage firm for more than 3,000 concerts and festivals nationwide. "They're very tough to control and can break out anytime anywhere."

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