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Stage diving is the act of climbing onto the stage at a rock concert and jumping straight into the crowd, or falling backward into the crowd, usually into a mosh pit or slam dance pit, where hopefully folks will be receptive to your jump and catch you. The practice of stage diving became especially popular during the punk rock period when mosh pits were commonly found. Musician Iggy Pop is credited as being one of the first musicians to stage dive, where his audience would catch him. A similar or related practice is crowd surfing, where the crowd passes a person back and forth over their heads. If the musician is crowd surfing, he eventually is passed back to the front of the crowd so he can climb back on stage.
It can certainly be argued that stage diving is a fairly aggressive and pretty risky act, especially if you’re not a band member. First off, if you jump off a high stage and people do not catch you, broken bones and concussions can be the result. In a highly energized mosh pit, you might very well get trampled under the feet of head bangers or slam dancers, or just the enthusiastic crowds at the front.
Second, with large concerts in large venues, security may be tight. Many bands specify having a barrier erected between the band and the stage. It is usually several feet away from the stage and may be patrolled by security members. Trying to get over or under this barrier might result in your eviction from a concert.
Lastly, not all concerts are suited to stage diving. It is typically done in concerns that are either heavy metal or hardcore rock of other sorts. Don’t attempt stage diving at a Celine Dion concert. There is no mosh pit to catch you, and you’re likely instead to be caught by security, or if you do get on stage fall quite flat on your head.
There are plenty of Internet discussions on the appropriate venues to try stage diving. Many suggest smaller venues with minimal security. Some also recommend diving off of stages that are fairly low, so chance of injury is minimal, if you aren’t caught by moshers. For the hardcore practitioners of stage diving, higher stages, and higher security may be part of the challenge, and they insist that even though the risk is greater, the rewards of a successful stage dive are much greater too.
Though it is a practice that you’ll see in many concerts, it certainly cannot be recommended as an activity of choice. The potential for injury is too great. Despite this warning, or perhaps because of it, stage divers continue to practice what can only be described as an extreme activity. If you want to avoid being leaped upon at a concert where stage divers are likely to try jumping into the crowd, avoid the front and middle of the mosh pit.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is stage diving and where did it originate?
Stage diving is the act of jumping from a stage into an audience, typically during a live music performance. It is a form of crowd interaction that emerged from the punk and hardcore scenes in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The practice is often associated with the energetic and rebellious spirit of these genres. While it's difficult to pinpoint the exact origin, it became a notable element of live shows in venues like CBGB in New York City, which was a hub for punk bands.
Is stage diving dangerous?
Yes, stage diving can be dangerous for both the diver and the audience members. There is a risk of injury from falls, collisions, or being dropped. Despite the communal trust involved in catching a stage diver, accidents can happen. Venues and artists often discourage the practice due to liability concerns and the potential for harm. Audience members should always be aware of their surroundings at concerts where stage diving might occur.
How do performers and venues typically handle stage diving?
Performers and venues have varying policies on stage diving. Some artists encourage it as part of the concert experience, while others discourage it due to safety concerns. Venues may have explicit rules against stage diving and crowd surfing, often posted in visible areas or announced before performances. Security personnel are usually on hand to enforce these rules and to assist in keeping the event safe for all attendees.
What are some alternatives to stage diving that are safer for audiences and performers?
For a safer concert experience that still involves audience interaction, performers might opt for crowd participation through sing-alongs, clapping, or waving hands. Some artists walk into the crowd or invite audience members onto the stage to dance or sing. These alternatives maintain the connection between the performer and the audience while minimizing the risk of injury associated with stage diving and crowd surfing.
Have there been any notable incidents or accidents related to stage diving?
There have been several notable incidents involving stage diving. In some cases, artists have faced legal action due to injuries caused by stage diving. For example, in 2014, the lead singer of Fishbone, Angelo Moore, was sued after a stage dive resulted in a concertgoer's injuries. It's important for both artists and fans to be mindful of the risks and to prioritize safety during live performances.