Crowdkilling in Hardcore Music
DISCLIAMER: This is not scientific research. All results were given voluntarily and anonymously with their consent and knowledge about this post. I do not know who gave what answer.
This post has no agenda and is simply an exploration.
This post includes language that some readers may find offensive.
I’ve been going to gigs since I was about 14. Over the years the music has changed somewhat, but it’s always been in that alternative/rock sort of area (mostly). A couple of years ago I began to delve into the sub-genre of hardcore music. Since then I’ve been to lots of hardcore shows and seen even more set videos from hardcore bands. One of the things that these videos do focus on is the actions of the crowd and their reactions to the songs, predominantly during the breakdowns – the hardest bits of the song that really get you right in your core. This usually results in the crowd moshing harder than they have for the rest of the song and they really get swept up with the music, but sometimes, it goes further than just moshing and turns to crowdkilling.
For those who don't know what crowdkilling is, it is when someone hardcore dances along the the boarder of the mosh pit with at a hardcore/metalcore show the intent of hitting the crowd. It is different to usual hardcore dancing or moshing.
To me, crowdkilling is overly violent. Yes, the music does elicit anger and power and the music and shows provide an environment to release this – it’s a great stress reliever - but when you begin to release that anger onto other people, this is where to me it crosses a line.I decided I wanted to know what the people who were actually apart of the hardcore scene really thought about crowdkilling (because i am a nerdy, nosy werido psych student). I’ve heard a lot of opinions from others irl and online in the past, mostly of the idea that crowdkilling was unnecessary, but those were largely from my own friendship groups and circles – people who have similar ideas to me – so what if that was just the main opinion that I hear because of my similar circles?
I decided to search the term “crowdkilling” on twitter and see what I could find. I’d say that there was a good mix of both people hating on crowdkilling and supporting it. Those who were showing their support for crowdkilling largely said that crowdkilling was part of the show and those who didn’t like it were ‘pussies’. One user tweeted “Why people acting surprised about crowdkilling at hardcore shows that’s just the way it’s been” with another saying “Metalheads only hate crowdkilling because theyre pussies”.
Those who were saying they didn’t like crowdkilling were mostly just saying that they hate it, not much more. One user tweeted “Crowdkilling is wack as fuck.” and another said “Crowdkilling is fucking dumb, my dudes.”
However, another thing that I did notice was the conversation around the hardcore scene ‘dying’ – about less and less people seemingly coming to shows. A lot of people were attributing this decline to crowdkilling, saying that people were no longer attending and supporting live hardcore shows out of fear of getting hit. One tweet I found actually stated that “crowdkilling put me off hardcore shows. So unnecessary”. Another said “Maybe people would show up to local metal shows if they weren’t getting physically abused. Just sayin’.” and someone else tweeted that “crowdkilling has devolved into air killing now that nobody comes to hardcore shows”. After looking through all these tweets, I decided that I wanted a more distinct answer about people’s opinions. The opinions on twitter were good, but some people may not share their opinions due to not wanting to cause a stir. So, I created a survey on surveyplanet.com and posted it on my twitter. I got 11 answers from this, but I wanted more. I thought the best way to get opinions from the right people was to post it in a Facebook group dedicated to hardcore. I found one – UKHC (actual relevant stuff) – joined it and posted the link in there too.I got 201 answers from the Facebook group. I was half expecting them to delete my post and tell me to piss off, but they didn’t so, yey.
Here’s a breakdown of the results:
In the survey I asked 22 questions – 18 yes or no questions and 4 long answer questions. These long answer questions allow the participants to go into further depth and express their opinions in more complexity. For those questions I have identified key themes and ideas that come through. In this post, I will select the main themes to discuss.After going through the results, I got rid of 7 participants and their answers as they were clearly just people taking the piss and were not helpful to this survey at all. This left me with 205 participants.
For the first question I started by asking what their gender was. This would make it easy for me to see any difference in male and female experiences and ideas. The results show that of those who answered 166 people were males (81%) 35 were female (17%) and 4 people decided they would prefer not to specify (2%).
From this you can see a huge difference in male to female participation which may be parallel to the ratio of males to females who would actively claim to be part of the hardcore scene and attend hardcore shows. Literature that has explored the female role in alternative music (Mullaney 2007, Lahickey 1997) has noted that it is male dominated, which these results support.
For question two I continued to procure some demographic information and asked for their age using general age groups. The majority of people said that they were between the ages of 18-24, making up 53.7% of the participants, with the next biggest group being 25-34 with 35.6% of people in this category. Together, these made up 89.3% of people. Additionally, no one over the age of 54 took part.
From this you can see that the majority of people who took part were below 35 years of age, noting that this is a relatively young demographic.
To continue the demographic questions, question 3 was “Where are you from?”The majority of people who answered were from England, with 160 of the 205 participants selecting this option making up 78% of people.
16 people selected the “other” option saying that they were from Germany, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania, Spain, South Africa, Belgium, The Netherlands, Australia and Chechnya.This means that only 4 participants were from outside of Europe.
Question 4, “What genre(s) of music do you listen to?” was there to make sure that my target demographic was being obtained. 195 of the 205 participants showed that they did listen to hardcore.
Those that didn’t indicate that they listen to similar genres such as Punk and Heavy Metal.
This question was again used to determine my target demographic was being obtained. 99% of participants said that they did attend live shows, with only 2 people selecting no for this question.
Those that selected no were not detrimental to this survey. They still gave helpful answers, even if giving less detail than others in the long answer questions.
Question 6 follows on from question 5. The two people that said no to question 5 did not answer this question.The most common answer for this question was attendance of 1-2 shows per month, with 52.2% of people selecting this option.
Question 7 was very similar. A good majority of hardcore shows are by local bands, so I wanted to gauge the amount of people who were seeing local bands vs only going to see bigger touring bands. 93.2% of people said that they did attend shows by local bands.
The Nitty-gritty Stuff
A gender imbalance in alternative music is something that this survey has already picked up on. The answers to question 1 do suggest that there is a substantial imbalance with a larger number of males answering this survey.
However, this question is about a perceived imbalance. 72.7% of people did in fact say that yes, there was an imbalance, with more males attending live shows than females.
I am very interested in further researching into why this is – although some answers in this survey do present a small glimpse into this.
This question was a pre-curser to question 10.199 people said that they were aware of what crowdkilling was, with only 6 selecting no.
Of those 6, most turned to google for a definition in order to get an understanding to continue with this survey.
This is the first of the 4 long answer questions. As stated before, these allow the participants to go into further depth and express their opinions in more complexity.This question asked the participants to explain what crowdkilling was in their own words. 185 people answered this with 20 people deciding not to answer.
The key themes that emerge from this question were:
Examples of the answers for “Crowdkilling consists of moshing at those who do not wish to participate” include:
“Dafties just going absolute berserk on folk in the crowd. Proper showing off and that, usually means there's jags of people stood up against the back wall of a venue and a few hard boys stood up front flailing like fuck. Like moshing but shitter” – Participant 16
“crowd killing is where you attack loads of people for fun when they aren't looking” – Participant 31
“Purposefully directing aggression towards members of the crowd who are not actively moshing, usually minding their own business watching a band. Usually throwing fists, or often whole bodies at other audience members.” – Participant 103
“Attacking people who don't want to be attacked” – Participant 179
The general idea with answers in this category is that crowdkilling is when people mosh at others who have chosen not to take part in the mosh pit, either in a bid to involve them (through violence), just because they can or for other, unknown reasons.
Examples of answers for “Crowdkilling is done by those with in intent to hurt others” include:
“Crowdkilling is an action in which the crowd adhere to a call to then act in a more vicious way than just a usual moshpit (if that makes sense), with intent to hurt” – Participant 3
“Beating the shit outta of people at the fringes.” – Participant 85
“Purposely/blindly targeting audience members with punching, kicking etc., who may not wish to participate in ‘moshing’. Pretty dumb. Usually people with issues / people wanting to look hard.” – Participant 127
“Intentionally striking or kicking intending to cause harm to an audience member during a breakdown of a song” – Participant 201
The main idea with this category is that crowdkilling is an action that people undertake in order to case harm to others on purpose. A lot of answers included that this was unnecessary violence.
Examples for the answers to “Those who said they didn’t like crowdkilling at shows” include:
“I hate it. The reason I stopped going to as many shows. I've been going since about 2001, and they used to be rough, but you could easily avoid it, because it was at least respectful and crowdkilling wasn't a thing. People nowadays think it's fine to ping people in the head and they get away with it. I think that YouTube has a big part to play. More cameras at show seems to make people act like more of a dickhead because they want to be seen or whatever. The thing I hate most is that people kick off if people retaliate! So I'm supposed to get punched in the head despite being out of the way and be okay with it, but if I punch you in the head for punching me, I'M out of order?! Nah. Fuck that.” – Participant 34
“crowd killing is an act, usually performed by an absolute bell piece. Said bell piece takes the violence out of the pit (where it belongs) and takes it to the people who have chosen to not be in the pit.” – Participant 102
“oddballs running the perimeter of the pit to strike those around the edge” – Participant 148
“Macho idiots punching people cause they’re too soft to actually fight anyone.” – Participant 205
The main idea of this category suggests that those who do crowdkill are simply idiots – otherwise called “dick” “insecure kids” and “dumbass” in the answers.
The last category I’m going to give examples for is “It is an extension of “moshing”’. Examples of answers for this category include:
“Crowd killing is an extension of moshing that involves hitting the side of the crowd. It’s separate from moshing and isn’t in the same category.” – Participant 41
“Moshing in an aggressive manner towards others in, or surrounding, the pit. Most often occurs during a beatdown part in a song.” – Participant 94
“Essentially an extension of moshing where instead of just throwing punches/kicks at the air you throw them at people. Often not done as hard as it looks, sometimes people hurt bad though.” – Participant 131
“Hardcore dancing but heavier, people punching and kicking” – Participant 158
The main idea of this category is that crowdkilling is a more extreme version of moshing. Therefore, while violent, it is expected at a show, especially at shows considered “harder” such as beatdown. It suggests that it is simply an evolution of moshing, not innate violence.I would also like to address the conflicting opinion. Participant 185 said “Crowd killing is the act of moshing directly into the crowd who are not participating in the designated moshing area. I would say it is less prominent in the present day compared to the 2013-2015. I'd go as far to say that it doesn't happen anymore, and if it does it is to people they know.” This is completely the opposite of what every other participant who answered has said; others say it is in fact increasing in prominence.
This next question is to assess the prominence of crowdkilling at shows. 192 people of the 205 said that they had witnessed crowdkilling occurring at at least one live show.
This suggests that the answer to question 10 from participant 185 is incorrect in the idea that crowdkilling no longer occurs.
This question is another precursor question, this time for question 13. 46.8% of people said that crowdkilling is acceptable at shows, with the remainder (53.2%) saying no.
Question 13 will look at why these answers were given.
This is the second of the 4 long answer questions. This question asked the participants to explain why they do/don’t think crowdkilling is acceptable. 192 answered this question, whereas 13 did not answer. The key themes that emerge from this question were split into 3 categories: Yes – crowdkilling is acceptable, No – crowdkilling isn’t acceptable and Yes & No.
First, I’ll talk about the subcategories for the “No” category. Examples of the answers for “Just no” include:
“Punk and hardcore shows should be a welcoming and safe environment. Sure moshing and crowd surfing can lead to people accidentally getting hurt, but being a dick and going out of your way to interfere with someone at a show through "crowdkilling" is not on in my opinion.” – Participant 23
“Aggression is not allowed in safe's places of punk culture” – Participant 98
“It's about respect. I don't go to gigs to get hurt and go in the pit as I don't want to be involved that way. I go there to enjoy live music. The people doing this are going out their way to hurt other people and are stopping people's enjoyment.” – Participant 142
“Hitting anyone unprovoked is assault. Plain and simple. Seem people leave a pit and just start hitting anyone. Also hardcore and punk is supposed to be inclusive. The fear of being attacked at random would however put people off” – Participant 193
The overwhelming theme of this category is that excessive violence is not tolerated by these people, whether at a show or not. They think it is reducing the inclusivity that hardcore should provide and reducing the safe community that they believe it should be. They believe this is the reason that “no one wants to come to shows anymore”.
Some examples of answers for the subcategory “Feeling Unsafe/Uncomfortable” include:
“Crowd members should at no point feel unsafe or in danger while attempting to enjoy a show, no matter the genre or type of crowd.” – Participant 2
“Reinforces the overly macho vibe of hardcore and makes shows feel unwelcoming and unsafe for women/girls especially (but probably lots of men and boys too). It’s also often targeted. I accept the risk of being hurt in the pit but guys going and hitting women purposely is the same as guys attacking women in any situation.” – Participant 49
“Venues are a safe place, risking violence and injury because you want to be the kid known as the beatdown king is boring and 2010” – Participant 86
“A hardcore show should be a place where nobody should have to fear for their physical safety. Of course, there’s always a little ‘damage’, but having severe concussions or a broken jaw is not fun anymore.” – Participant 173
The big theme of this subcategory is that crowdkilling is making shows an uncomfortable space due to potentially being hurt as the violence is no longer kept in the mosh pit. Lots of people in this category also said that they go to shows less often due to the fact that they might get hurt.
Some examples of answers from the subcategory “They think it’s idiotic” include:
“Just a bit daft innit, im from an era where everyone would be up the front screaming the lyrics with the frontman, mic grabbing etc. Guess im old.” – Participant 20
“There are rules: get in the pit and expect to get hurt in some way (if at all). Everyone that just wants to see the show should be able to do so without being on edge if someone is going to suckerpunch them. It's the dumbest thing ever (next to headwalking).” – Participant 46
“There is a fine line between getting involved at a hardcore show, dancing/moshing etc and purposely target people who are clearly trying to stay away from the ‘pit’ - the latter is a dick move. “Don’t go to shows if you don’t want to get hurt” is not an acceptable response either. I have been attending hardcore shows since 2009 and it has been an issue as long as I’ve been in ‘the scene’ and it’s still as stupid as it was back then” – Participant 127
“Get a fucking hobby, join a gym and stop (potentially) hurting people who paid the same as you did to get into the show - comes to mind. If a person exhibits that behaviour in public, you would be arrested, hands down. people will often be put off and worried. There has become a standard of - stand well away from the front in case someone starts karate kicking randomly. I stopped playing "fight" at primary school, some adults should really let that sink in.” – Participant 190
As the name of the subcategory suggests, these people believe crowdkilling is unacceptable and unnecessary. A good portion of these people state that they’re older or have been in the hardcore scene for a good while. They note that it’s the younger generation that they see crowdkilling and say that its due to these select few that they’re enjoying live shows less and less.
Next, I’ll explore some of the subcategories for “Yes”. Some examples of answers for the subcategory of “Yes” include:
“100%. All people who have crowdkilled me before have been lovely and polite. Between mates at a local show there is nothing better.” – Participant 27
“It is the only good mosh” – Participant 48
“Hardcore evolved from punk as chaotic, unpredictable, intense, And very DIY. All of which are core values. What people term “crowdkilling” is simply another integration of all these values, and simply adds to what makes these live shows so memorable. Nobody should ever go into these shows looking to hurt somebody, but the danger that comes with this dancing shouldn’t be criticised when it’s truly HC at its roots. If people keep criticising/changing definitions of “crowdkilling” it’ll come to a point where everybody stands still, doesn’t adopt these core values and that’s where hardcore stagnates” – Participant 82
“If you dont want to get hit, dont go near the pit. Reaaally simple.” – Participant 199
The big idea in this subcategory is that if people want to do it, they should do it. These people believe that crowdkilling is just another form of hardcore dancing, and therefore another way to enjoy the music. They also suggest that if you want to steer clear of the violence then that is what you should do and can do as there are safe places to stand where you don’t have to be involved.
In the subcategory “Dependent on the show” these are a few examples of answers:
“It depends on the genre, the band and what to expect. If I saw a youth crew punk band and got crowdkilled I'd not be too happy but if I'm going to a beatdown show then I'm expecting it and that's fine” – Participant 29
“I believe it’s only acceptable at a show which associates to “crowdkilling” such as hardcore/beatdown, or even other genres like deathcore and slam. I don’t believe it’s acceptable at any other type of shows” – Participant 75
“I would like to clarify within reason it is acceptable. If you were going to see a moder band classed as "beatdown" or has elements of "beatdown"/slow break downs. I would expect crowd killing, for example bands like Nasty, Desolated, Malevolence etc. I would not expect crowd killing at say a Turnstile or Higher Power show” – Participant 177
“It's contextual. It wouldn't be acceptable at a lot of shows but you go to a show with extreme/aggressive music where bands have names like cold blooded murder, I wouldn't be shocked at some extreme/aggressive behaviours.” – Participant 195
These answers largely mentioned beatdown as a subgenre in which they would pretty much expect crowdkilling to occur and not blink an eye. However, at other shows, including other genres of hardcore, they would not expect crowdkilling to occur due to the distinct difference of less aggressive music.
The last subcategory for “Yes” I’m going to explore is the subcategory of “You should expect it”. A few examples of answers in this subcategory are:
“If you go to a show where crowd killing happens, expect it to happen or get the FUCK away from the pit.” – Participant 25
“It’s happened as long as hardcore has been a thing yet before they just laughed about broken bones n injuries now they cry on the internet.” – Participant 41
“It’s called HARD core for a reason” – Participant 114
“Thats literally how hardcore shows work. Dont like it then fuck off an listen to title fight” – Participant 137
This subcategory is separate to the “Yes” subcategory as the answers go the extra mile to say that it should be there and it is not going to change, so that’s that, basically. They believe in shows being a place to relieve their pent-up anger and are an angry environment for a reason. They also reiterate that if you don’t want to be apart of it you can stand elsewhere, with some going as far as to say you shouldn’t come at all if you don’t want to be hurt.
The category of “Yes & No” is mainly the topic of people agreeing with moshing but disagreeing with stepping it up to crowdkilling. Examples of these answer include:
“Everyone’s there trying to enjoy it and obviously if you’re in the mosh pit you’re into that kind of vibe at a show. If you’re on the edge/outside it then you’re trying not to get involved and it’s not fair that other people end up kicking you/ pushing you around more than you want to be. It should be contained in the mosh pit as much as possible” – Participant 8
“If you want to mosh and hurt other people in a moshpit go for it but those members of the audience who just want to watch the show in peace without getting hurt should be allowed to; crowdkilling is about targeting those choosing not to put themselves in the firing line of the mosh pit but are subjected to violence anyway” – Participant 43
“I do not agree people should have participate if they want to just watch the show, by all means have fun in the pit and if people want to get involved they will join in” – Participant 91
“If it's your mates you're doing it to, & they know you're doing it to them for a laugh, if they have no problem with that then fair enough, crack on! If you want to pit/spinkick/windmill/whatever, then fine! Go as fucking crazy as you want! Just don't go out of your way to hit others who blatantly don't want to get involved for a reason, just let them enjoy the show & have a good time, supporting the scene exactly like you're there to do!” –
A lot of these answers also add that if you get caught in the crossfire of the pit then that’s your fault, and that if someone hits you by accident then it’s their responsibility to apologise and make sure you are okay. Additionally, some add that if there is someone crowdkilling they should be spoken to or asked to leave.
Question 14 is “Have you participated in crowdkilling before?” 74 people (36.1%) said that they had participated, and 131 people (63.9%) said that they hadn’t.
This suggests that those who are actively crowdkilling are the minority in the scene.
This question follows on from question 14, asking whether they would want to participate in crowdkilling if they haven’t already. 193 people answered, with 12 not answering, presumably as they were part of the 74 people who said they already do crowdkill. 67 people said that they would participate in the future, with 126 saying that they would not.
From this we see a drop of 5 people saying before that they have not crowdkilled, to those saying they would not crowdkill in the future, suggesting that 5 people would do if they had the chance – presumably they just haven’t had the chance to yet.
This question turns to ask about the experience of those who have been on the receiving end of crowdkilling. 138 people (67.3%) said that they had been on the receiving end of excessive violence at a show before, with 67 (32.7%) saying that they had not.
However, from these simple results, we do not yet know whether they have never been crowdkilled before, or whether they just do not deem this as excessive.
Question 17 aims to answer this unknown area of the results from question 16. 137 people answered this question, with 68 choosing not to answer. The categories for this question are broken down into 4 areas: injuries, actions, those who are not bothered by crowdkilling and those who expressed that they are not happy with those who crowdkill at shows.
First, lets look into the answers given for the “Injuries” subcategory. This category contains all of the injuries reported in the answers to question 17. The most common of these were broken noses, black eyes and broken bones (other than nose).
Some of the examples of answers from this subcategory include:
“I've been kicked square in the face and had my jaw dislocated twice on separate occasions when taking photos, been elbowed in the tits, clapped round the ear, couple of bloody noses etc” – Participant 70
“I actually went to see desolated on their last tour and got taken out by someone’s foot during the first show, had to have my lip stitched back together and everything. Think it’s vile when people want to go enjoy the show but are just getting hurt. Hence the reason I attend less shows now.” – Participant 110
“Loads of times. Broken bones, busted mouth, black eyes, knock outs. I wouldn't stand where I was if I wasn't prepared to take the hit.” – Participant 181
“I had someone leap on my back and start choking me at a show. After I fought them to get off me, I was bleeding from scratch marks on my back” – Participant 184
Secondly, we’ll look into the subcategory of “Actions”. The most common of those reported was being punched – in the face or elsewhere on the body – with reference to general moshing and being kicked in the face close behind.
Some of the examples for these answers include:
“Too many times to really elaborate. Watching a band minding my own business then an air max 97 is wrapped round my chops. It sucks” – Participant 40
“I was taking photos of Knuckledust and got punched in the head 5 times in the space of a minute, it was amazing.” – Participant 48
“I once got jumped by two guys while I was standing up against a wall at a show. They both ran at me and straight-up punched me several times in face and stomach. This was right at the end of the show and so almost immediately a lot of the people in attendance confronted them about this, a couple of guys even tried to start a fight with them outside the venue because of it.” – Participant 101
“I was at the barrier for Malevolence and I got punched in the face from behind (left and right) by two guys (they hooked me from behind) When I turned around, they and 2 of their mates jumped at me to try and start on me. I was on my own and they were crazy aggro when I told them that we are at a hardcore show and all there for the same reason. They were scum. They weren’t dancing to the music, they were looking to hit people without repercussion. Disgusting.” – Participant 126
None of these actions or injuries were a surprise to me, it’s all what I expected to see in these answers. However, some did surprise me, which I noted down in the “Extras” category under “Specific Miscellaneous”.
There were 8 answers in this subcategory, with these included:
“I have been punched in the face several times, slammed into and been physically used to throw at other people when it has been more male dominated” – Participant 3
“Got put through a drum kit was pretty jokes” – Participant 92
“Black eyes, bruises, had my head smashed against a PA, been trampled on by stage divers, once got launched out of a fire exit door” – Participant 162
“I've been at a show where the crowd retreated to the corridor/doorway because a few people started throwing chairs, bit silly in my eyes.” – Participant 195
I thought that these are notably more violent than the others, actions which I never would’ve thought about happening at a show.
Another category is the “Not bothered by crowdkilling” category. This includes subcategories of “Those who crowdkill”, “Those who aren’t bothered” (the most common theme in this category) and those who “Enjoy crowdkilling”.
Some examples of these include:
“Was great, more crowdkillers needed” – Participant 13
“i am the one who knocks” – Participant 31
“When seeing XviciousX I must have lost count of the amount of times I got crowdkilled, it’s never personal” – Participant 136
“My mates broke my nose a few times, but I wasn't angry about it.” – Participant 164
The fourth main category is those who “Expressed that they are not happy with those who crowdkill at shows”. The subcategories are that they “Noted it as excessive” and stated that it “Ruined the night”
Examples of these answers include:
“I was assaulted at a show for protecting my girlfriend” – Participant 86
“I have been on the receiving end of behaviour that if done outside of a show would be classified as violence, in the same way that what takes place in a boxing ring is permissible but would be classified as violence outside it.” - Participant 95
“I have experienced crowdkilling at several shows, often interfering with my own enjoyment of the show because I have to constantly be prepared to protect myself from injury” – Participant 103
“Punched in the side of the head by a guy spinning with his eyes closed punching the air around the crowd. I was singing along at the time and it ruined the night for me” – Participant 127
This question follows on from the last one. I asked, “Do you believe that crowdkilling negatively effects your live music experience?” 108 people (52.7%) said yes, and 97 people (47.3%) said no.
I find this interesting. With the majority of people saying that it does make their experience of live music worse, yet the minority of people carrying out the actions, why are we not, as a scene, acting upon this? I know that a lot of people say that it is part of the hardcore scene, but with the majority of people disliking it, surely there are steps that can be taken to reduce it and keep it contained?
Although the majority of people said that it negatively effects their experience at gigs, only 25.9% of people said that it would affect their choice to attend shows. 74.1% of people said that it does not affect their choice to attend.
This follows on from question 19, asking those who said yes to elaborate. Not only those who said yes answered this question, so I split it into three categories; Yes, No and Yes&No.
The “Yes” category splits down into 8 subthemes, the most common two being that they “won’t go, period” and that their decision is affected due to “fear of injury”.
Some examples of these include:
“I feel that I will be targeted if I got to heavy hardcore shows as I’m not some mega built hardcore guy, it’s extremely intimidating knowing that anyone could be injured no matter where you are standing in the crowd” – Participant 11
“I can't be arsed with these pricks” – Participant 34
“I don’t go to shows to be unnecessarily attacked.” – Participant 139
“I'm getting on, I've attended shows for 10+ years so I don't want to be sporting bruises or broken bones when going to work/around my family. Kids today seem a lot more aggressive than ever in the pit trying to see who is the hardest.” – Participant 177
They show a range from worrying about their safety to seeing injury as a nuisance and hindrance, rather than something that causes anxiety.
The “No” category splits down into 7 subcategories, the most common being “No”, that “There are safe places to stand” and “No, but I still don’t like it”.
Some example of these include:
“There's idiots everywhere, if I don't want to participate in a pit I'll stand nearer the back usually don't get shoved as much but you still get people that do it” – Participant 45
“Doesn't bother me, also I join in” – Participant 67
“It doesn’t, I’ll still go, but I will absolutely condemn anyone who tries to pull this shit off. They
are insecure little babies and are a total waste of oxygen.” – Participant 133
“BECAUSE IF I DIDN'T LIKE THAT STUFF KICKING OFF I WOULDN'T FUCKING GO" – Participant 162
The category of “Yes & No” splits into 3 subthemes: “Yes & No”, “Dependent on the band” (the most common) and “Dependent on the venue”.
Examples of answers for these categories include:
“I’ll actively choose not to go see certain shows if I think certain people will attend or if certain bands are on the lineup where people tend to crowdkill” – Paticipant 49
“I refuse to go to any beat down shows bc those lads are scary” – Participant 109
“In some atmospheres, it can be expected, even part of the show and one you can brush off. But on most occasions, it interferes with the ability to enjoy the music and more importantly express oneself with dancing (without turning that aggression towards attendees)” – Participant 157
“Sometimes, I consider what the pit will be like before I purchase tickets, or don't mosh to bands at which I know I might die, I try to avoid shows which are purely beatdown although they seem rarer now than few years ago I think quite a lot of the audience shifted towards original, groovy and heavy hardcore” – Participant 164
The big theme that comes through in these is that beatdown is the main genre that people avoid, if they avoid any at all. They may still see bands from other subgenres of hardcore, but as crowdkilling is more prevalent at beatdown shows, those are the ones that are going to feel the hit from people not wanting to attend.
Question 21 aimed to ask about this gender imbalance in hardcore one more time. 85.9% of people said that more males crowdkill than females.
This is a huge majority, which adds to the clear gender imbalance that this survey has already pointed out.
I would like to in the future, maybe explore this gender imbalance in another survey similar to this one.
I finished up the survey with the question “Do you agree with the statement ‘crowdkilling is killing the hardcore scene’?” This is something that I saw on twitter quite a lot.
The majority of people disagreed with this however. 136 people (66.3%) said that they disagreed with this statement, with 69 people (33.7%) agreeing.
This correlates with the answers to question 19 with the majority of people saying that crowdkilling did not affect their choice to attend live shows.
Something else that I wanted to address from the survey was the expression of aggression towards me as the researcher that surfaced for no apparent reason. For questions 13, 17 and 20 at least 1 answer that I got was rather aggressive. This is not including any participants that were deleted. Although this was an online survey, to get the link to partake you had to get it from either my twitter or the link that I posted on the Facebook group – both avenues show my name and face connected to the link through my profiles. The people taking part in this survey are aware that I will be reading these, and of who I am, but I don’t know who they are. Nevertheless, this didn’t stop some participants.
In question 13 participants 174 and 175 answered the question with this:
“I’m gonna mosh you out you pussy” – Participant 174
“You shouldn’t discuss moshing on the internet you melt” – Participant 175
Although they aren’t as bad a they could be, I have some pointers: “mosh me out” is a threat. You are threatening to hit me at a show. This could really affect me if I didn’t have thick skin – I have no idea who this threat is from, but they know me. If they were serious about this, it could be very scary for a female especially at a male dominated show in a male dominated genre.
Secondly, to participant 175, you are answering the questions. The other answers given were genuine answers, which is why they weren’t deleted with the other 7. If you shouldn’t discuss crowdkilling online, then I don’t see why this participant felt the need to contribute.
In question 17, participants 199 and 159 answered with this:
“99% of hardcore kids in a pit are all mates having fun. Someone gets hit you take it on the chin its rarely ever intentional targeting and if it is the person is always apprehended by the crowd and thrown out. I've seen it countless times. As soon as a fight breaks out or a dickhead appears he is removed. The problem with stuff like this is you have no idea what this scene is about. What going to shows is like, have no interest really in the music and have never or are yet to understand the passion people in the scene have for the bands. Hardcore is about the energy, expression and release of anger or any other bullshit from the outside world. One of the main issues with the scene is people just appearing and thinking they know everything about it from browsing youtube videos and facebook for 5 minutes. Get off your computer/phone and go to a show.” – Participant 199
“Excessive violence never happens at shows and if you went to any you could work that out for yourself” – Participant 159
To these I have to say: I do go to shows. I support local hardcore bands and touring hardcore bands, as well as lots of other bands (including local) from other genres. I pay for travel and hotels just to see some bands and support them at shows. I am friends with people in local hardcore bands. I am very aware of what the scene is about, and that aggression is at its core, I just disagree with coming out of the show with a broken nose while standing at the back by the bar.
In question 20 participant 65 said this:
“The classic line goes... “if you go to a show and you get hit and you’re guna cry about it, you’re a bitch don’t go to the show” if you don’t know what that’s from you shouldn’t be doing a dissertation on it LOL. But in all seriousness people need to learn to stand in safer places if they really don’t want to get bumped into. Simple” – Participant 65
This is not for a dissertation, I am not doing a dissertation on crowdkilling. But the main point is, what’s the need to be this passive aggressive? The question would be answered without that section of aggression. I don’t know if people don’t think about the person who is on the other end or whether this is simply malicious, but either way its not cool to be a dick.
The main things that I’ve learned from this survey are:
There does seem to be a gender imbalance in the hardcore scene, despite some saying that this isn’t true.
It is only the minority in the scene that crowdkill and agree with crowdkilling. Despite this, there doesn’t seem to be much going on to combat overly excessive violence at the shows which most people would not expect crowdkilling to occur.
There are a lot more people than I thought that would rather not go to a show to see a band that they liked than see the band with the possibility of being crowdkilled.
Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below. What do you think about crowdkilling? What do you think about this type of post? Should I do more?
Thank you to everyone who took part in this survey! Every answer was extremely helpful and very interesting. Thank you to Natalie for letting me use your images in this post (don't forget to follow her over on Instagram and check out her work!), and thank you to YOU for reading this! I hope some of you found this interesting, I really loved doing this research so much (I’m actually the biggest nerd). I will be posting another piece about my experience throughout doing this research next week, so don’t forget to check that out!
Lahickey, Beth. 1997. All ages: Reflections on straight edge. Huntington Beach, CA: Revelation Books
Mullaney, Jamie. (2007). “Unity Admirable But Not Necessarily Heeded” Going Rates and Gender Boundaries in the Straight Edge Hardcore Music Scene. Gender & Society – GENDER SOC. 21. 384-408. 10.1177/0891243207299615.
Thanks for reading! If you liked that, subscribe down below to be notified by e-mail whenever I post!
You can also follow me on social media via the buttons in the header (and the footer!)