Moshing & Crowdsurfing Prohibited when Gigs Resume

A new set of guidelines detailing the reopening of the live music industry say that moshing and crowdsurfing are “violations of social distancing”.

Safety experts have announced the temporary prohibition of moshing and crowdsurfing during the coronavirus pandemic when the live music industry eventually reopens.

While this is not entirely surprising news, a guide from the Event Safety Alliance published this week has laid out plans on how to keep both fans and venue employees safe once gigs return, and it’s clear things are going to look very different once we can all get back to watching our favourite bands. For starters, the typical behaviour you would expect to see at a punk, rock, metal or hardcore show is seemingly banned for now.

The full, 29-page guide – which is titled The Event Safety Alliance Reopening Guide – states:

A few obvious changes will be necessary whenever GA [general admission] events do reopen. Patrons cannot all stand at the front of the stage like they are accustomed; moshing and crowd surfing are violations of social distancing per se and must be absolutely prohibited during this pandemic; even hallways and smoking areas where patrons congregate will have to be monitored to enforce health policies.”

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Some “simple ways” to remind attendees of social distancing once they’re at a show involve “high conspicuity gaff tape on the floor of an indoor space”, “rope barriers and stanchions or bike rack to physically separate patrons”, “open areas patrolled by workers”, and messaging to gig-goers before and during the event – not only electronically and through signs, but also by the performer during their gig.

The guide also features advice on when it’s legal and “reasonably safe” to reopen venues, hygiene practices, sanitising entires venues, queuing, contactless payments when buying merch or food and drink, and much more.

This news follows last week’s BBC report that suggests that gigs and festivals in the UK likely won’t be happening until 2021.

Cambridge University lecturer Dr Chris Smith admitted he couldn’t even see social-distancing working in a live setting, saying: “How on earth would we ever have a system that was enforceable where you said, ‘You can go to a rock concert and watch Ed Sheeran but you’ve got to stand two metres apart?’ Everyone would just laugh.

“You’ve got to think about the bigger picture, which is how do most people get to and get into the venue [at the same time]? If you suddenly have to start telling people, ‘You can’t all go to the loo together.’ Can you imagine the carnage?”