5 Things I Learned From Attending A 3-Day Metal Concert


1. In an environment of international identity and musical diversity, our stereotypical steely guards fell immediately. Metal and to some extent hardcore considered antisocial. Everyone made eye contact with each, everyone wanted to talk with each other and smile and give high fives and hugs. To come out of the bash without having learned someones name was a sign that you might not have cared to learn about someone or loathed humanity in general. This was a beautiful amalgam of different nationalities, ethnicities, languages, personal beliefs, age and gender groups.

2. The mosh pit is an area of fragile but powerful chaotic energy which bounces seamlessly off of one another. To think of the pit as a violent waste of space is ignorant. Fists and legs cut through the air, fire crackers popped and danced on the floor, band members played in the pit while the audience ran circles around them and yelled the lyrics to their faces. Bodies piled on top of another by the stage and people flew off the stage performing 180 degree spins midair onto people heads, but no one was hurt from my knowledge. The general understanding between the audience of the chaotic nature that surrounded them called for a certain etiquette that spoke without words. To keep the violence in the middle, pick up those that fall to the floor and a myriad of other unspoken gestures that kept the action fun, energetic, and generally safe for everyone.

3. Musicians are people as well who enjoy the music as much as performing it. These groups were not hanging out backstage all night in a VIP section until their set time. They operated the merch tables, spoke with fans, hung out at the bar, watched other bands play. They were just as receptive to others speaking with them and learning about others. I personally spoke with Weekend Nachos singer Jon about White Castle and the Midwest for 15 minutes while we waited for the band Ilsa to perform their matinee set. There were no egos, only a community that grew stronger over the weekend.

4. Music is a universal language. I spoke with people from Australia and Finland and New Orleans who could all immediately speak to each other about metal and hardcore. No matter what color or country we were all here to watch our favorite bands play. Socially, people spent less on beer and more on merch and music records. Someone’s favorite LP became a topic of discussion, and it was never a boring affair. Our accents were strong and indecipherable but we could hum guitar riffs and drum fills with ease and clarity.

5. There was a place for women and straight edge people at the bash. No one stood out for being different. While I personally drank and smoked marijuana, I was content to hang out with those that didn’t, and most did not mind my choices. For those that walked away it never became an issue when we ran into each other later. Women occupied many places in the during the bash as musicians, photographers, record label owners, merch managers, family members of the bands, even mothers who wanted to hang out with their kids during the bash and see their favorite bands from the 90s (remember that was 20 years ago). It was a beautiful affair, nothing was questioned, only love. And when you stand on stage staring at the eyes of people jumping on each other wanting to the shout the lyrics into the microphone, there is not barrier. We are one all that matters is the music.

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