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Surviving the pit: a music lover's guide to success

Jul. 16, 2018
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Summer is live music season, no matter what kind of tunes are currently your grove. There is no better way to experience live music than to brave the crowds, the elements, and everything in between to fight your way to the front of the crowd. Here lies a realm often referred to as ‘the pit’: a sweaty cesspool of reckless abandon where the most devoted fans come to worship their musical idols. Undoubtedly, bad behavior manifests in the less-supervised environments, but there’s fun to be had when you’re nestled like a sardine amongst the other 150,000 fans who came to see an artist that y’all adore! Don’t hold back, you absolutely should indulge in the bliss that is bred by seeing your favorite artists up close and in the flesh—but here are five suggestions for surviving your pit experience.

  1. Fill that water bottle. Once you’re in, you’re in! If you and your friends procure some prime real estate in the pit where everyone can see the stage, you’re not going to want to abandon your post or get separated. Make sure you fill all your available containers to the max. Invest in a hydration pack, because your body will need the maximum amount of fluid to boogie all day in the sun! If you’re supposed to be drinking a minimum of three liters of water per day, consider the fluid you’ll be losing through a whole lot of sweaty groovin’! Fill up at every available opportunity, and carry as much water with you when adventuring as possible. Additionally, for every alcoholic beverage you may consume, it’s proper practice to chase it with at least eight ounces of water to preserve your body’s natural hydration level!
  2. Closed-toe shoes. Okay, so you came out with the crew to get down and dirty; no denying that, but you could also step on glass or pee-pee or cactus or any number of other unpleasant and undesirable things! Remember the golden rule of footwear: if you can’t wear them all the way home, you can’t wear them out! Comfortable shoes are a baseline necessity, and you’re going to be quite sad if your blisters are the reason you can’t get wild for your favorite artist. Heels, wedges, or boots might look fierce as hell, but if you can’t comfortably adorn them for over six hours, they’re not worth it. Furthermore, it doesn’t hurt to invest in some insoles to protect you from back pain and discomfort in your joints, or just for a little added comfort. You can get inserts for your sneakers at any drug store or supermarket.
  3. Establish a meet-up spot. If you’re in a group, it’s always beneficial to establish a spot that you’re all familiar with to gravitate toward if you suddenly realize you’re lost as hell and don’t know where any of your friends are. Most large events will not have the luxury of dependable cell phone reception or readily available wireless data, so phones may not be a reliable source of communication. The best meeting spot will be stationary with three points of reference and oddly specific. For example: “Our meeting spot is in front of Entrance B, to the left of the Korean BBQ food truck, closest to the light pole.” Once you’ve established a good spot, agree to meet up at the nearest hour, so if you get lost at 7:43, you go to the meetup spot at 8:00 and wait until 8:05 for all parties to show up. If the rest of the squad doesn’t make it by 8:05, reconvene at 9:00. This will prevent any confusion bred by delayed text messages being sent later than intended if service is not available.
  4. Protect ya neck. People are going to be crowd-surfing, you’ll be pressed against loud speakers, you’ll be exposed to bright sunlight, artists may unexpectedly stage dive, and spontaneous and erratically violent mosh pits may erupt. This is all a part of the experience, and while it really does complete the scene, it can also pose a major threat. In order to be prepared to confront these and other unanticipated threats to your safety, have your hands free and ready to catch whatever is being thrown at you! That’s why it’s best to keep your phone in your pockets and be generally aware of your surroundings! Ear plugs are your best friend, even if you’re too far back to be blasted by a bass cannon. Always use sunscreen, even if you think you don’t need it. It never hurts to be a little over-prepared. 
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Sometimes when you’re having a really great time, things can get out of hand. Please remember that there are people who are contracted by the event curators to keep you safe and protected from anything that inhibits your ability to have the best time. If someone is sick or has ingested too many substances, or if someone is making you feel uncomfortable, alert the event staff immediately! Familiarize yourself with the signs of a person in distress, because it is very likely that you may run into someone who is having a bad time. There are always uniformed security guards, medical staff, harm reduction workers, and police officers ready to help you confront the realities of concert attendance. You will not be in trouble for asking for assistance, even if someone has been engaged in illegal activity prior to the point at which someone is in dire need of assistance. Since time immemorial, drugs and alcohol have been a part of the live music experience, and there are certainly unintended consequences which will never cease to be a huge bummer for everyone involved. If you see something worthy of concern, say something to someone who can help you! You could save a life or at least get someone the help they need.

Stay hydrated, care for one another, and most importantly, enjoy!