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Violence and Rock & Roll: Hand in Hand?

People that have been to concerts know what kind of damage goes on, and how many innocent people are hurt by the violence that goes on at these shows. This is something that needs to end. Many people have been punched, kicked, shoved, thrown, hit by flying objects, fallen, trampled, crushed and, sadly in many cases, sexually assaulted. Concert-goers have suffered from concussions, wounds, rape, and death. All this violence can be ended, but its getting worse and worse by the day.

The more the fans get out of hand, the more injuries people will undergo. Many people dont want to go to concerts any more, because of the fact that there is too much hostility. Concerts nowadays are too brutal. This violence needs to end. Even the artists that play at these shows are outraged by this aggression. Even they want to make this end. Concerts get such a band name, because of all the [violence] and everything like that, said Limp Bizkit (a flavor-of-the-month band) guitarist Wes Borland.

Sprains and broken bones resulting from moshing (a violent form of dance in which fans careen off one another) and crowd surfing (a practice in which fans are passed over head by the members of the crowd) have been common at concerts for many years. As many people remember at Woodstock 99 the destruction at the festival was at its peak. This shows how degraded popular culture has become.

The thing that I felt was unfair, in the follow-up in the press, was the demonization of a generation, said guitarist Tom Morello of, a popular band, Rage Against the Machine, There was just this vilification of a whole generation and the bands that they like, based on this concert. I think its ridiculous. (Arizona Republic, 10-3-99) But whos to say that this violent behavior doesnt go on at other concerts? Well, in fact it does. One trend that has occurred at concerts, are the numbers of sexual assaults. Many girls have been groped, sexually harassed, beat, and even in many cases raped.

Just at Woodstock 99 alone there were 8 sex offences, which included an alleged mosh pit rape, which police were aware of. Tom Morello also added that, The one thing that is absolutely unforgivable or unpardonable are the reported sexual assaults. (Arizona Republic; Phoenix; Oct. 3, 1999) The mosh pit scene at a recent Vans Warped Tour show in Asbury Park, N. J. shocked one concert fan, Ashley Barth. She said, Guys were trying to feel up every girl, says the 18-year-old from Yardley, Pa. Some guy tried to put his hand down my pants.

And its not just the boys in the pit, or even the bands that are responsible for the sexualized, aggressive atmosphere. At the same festival, concertgoers say that CD-company employees were holding up a sign that read: Show us your [breasts]—free CD! What these fans need is more respect for each other. [A concert] should be a place that should be safe for anyone of any age or gender to have a great time. Says Tom Morello, of Rage. -Injuries are at their highest level in a decade, according to industry regulator Paul Wertheimer. (USA TODAY, Aug. , 200, n. p. )

But this violence is not something that has become a problem recently. This behavior has been going on for more than 2 decades. Slam dancing (the original form of moshing) stared in Southern California, in 1978. It was first called the Huntington Beach Shuffle. It was a way for the audience to get charged up. But as the music became for hard core so did the shuffle, now called moshing. The nine deaths that happened at a recent Pearl Jam concert were blamed because of a crowd rush in a festival seating area in front of the stage.

At another performance, held by Blink 182, in Washington, a 16 year old collapsed during their show. He was later found unconscious. He now remains in a coma. Fans have become more volatile, fueled by drugs, alcohol, and angst. On July 29, 2000, a fan was stabbed in a mosh pit during a show by NOFX in West Palm Beach, Fla. Its not a happy crowd like it used to be, Says Nina Crowley, director of Mass Mic, a nonprofit advocacy group that fights the censorship of music.

This brutality not just a recent problem, though it may not have been as bad as it used to be, it was still a problem 20 years ago. Some people have a different standpoint. Many people say that this is a way to get charged up. The energy is just so intense that all these people want to do is shove the other fans around. People say that the artists cant stop what these people are doing. That it would be impossible. If these fans want to get hurt, its their choice to get hurt. Its a way of having fun. Kids go to these shows to go crazy.

If we want to listen to music we can pop in a CD. says local fans. Mosh pits are becoming assaultive behaviorbut youre just dancing, says James Macintyre, a child psychologist. Guitarist for some bands such as Sepultura, and Soul Fly, Max Cavalry says that, There are shows where it doesnt even matter whos playing. A band doesnt even need to be onstage. It could be music from the P. A. and they will go for it. But you know, I understand them, too. I went through that stage [where] I didnt care about what bands were playing, I just went there to go crazy, Max said.

All this violence has caused parents to have concern for their kids when they go to concerts. Parents, and kids alike, are afraid to go to these shows, because of the violence that goes on there. Can the fans make this end? Can the artists? Maybe if people didnt get do crazy and thought about their actions, we wouldnt have so much dispute about concerts. Fans at concerts need more respect for the people around them. Maybe if the respect at these concerts increases, the hostility would decrease. Then more people would attend concerts. Then concerts wouldnt get such a bad name.

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