Panic! At the Mosh Pit

By: Laura Walker

Spring Fair is like Christmas combined with the Fourth of July—A.K.A. the reason everyone survives fall semester. All Hopkins students live for Spring Fair. For one long weekend in April, Homewood Campus is transformed into a playground for all ages by a student-run organization of forty people.

I could go into intense, overanalyzed detail of the food trucks, beer garden, and all around wonderful weather that blanketed the weekend, but that’s not as interesting of a story as my experience at the Spring Fair concert, featuring: Marian Hill, Shwayze, and Chainsmokers.

If you’re having flashbacks to 2008 while singing, “Love Is Overrated,” then that’s Shwayze. Chainsmokers is a DJ duo, not a dramatic performance of something your parents would highly disapprove of.

Nearly 2,500 tickets were sold to Hopkins students, as well as the general public, and maybe 2,000 people were there. My guess is too many students indulged in the beer garden and were incapable of extending their festivities into the night.

The glorious weather allowed for the concert to be on the practice turf field, which somehow I’m still finding turf beads on my clothes. This practice field is huge and if you’re thinking 2,000 people were able to fill the field, you are wrong. Very wrong.

The field was only a quarter filled in the center surrounding the stage. The “mosh pit,” if you can call it that, was basically half the audience trying to touch the stage.

I, for one, hate crowds. When I’m in too large of a crowd, getting shoved around, I tend to panic and freak out. And telling me to breathe and calm down doesn’t help. On Friday, during Shwayze’s performance, I made a small exception to my rule and migrated through the semi-aggressive crowd to about the third “row” back from the stage.

In my limited mosh pit experience, it’s best to not jump around too much, but not so little that people fall onto you. That was exactly my method on Friday.

To my surprise, I even knew some of Shwayze’s songs to the point where I was remembering the lyrics like it was just yesterday I was dancing to them in middle school.

Then Shwayze ended. It was only about 7:45pm and it wasn’t completely dark. The crowd had settled some and the pungent scent of bodies mixed with beer was prominent in the small space.

And then, just the Chainsmokers name lit up on stage. People lost it. I mean full on excitement, like a golden retriever seeing his owner after a weekend away kind of excitement. The group wasn’t even on the stage yet!

That’s when the pushing started. At first it was like slow waves that you just had to lean a little from side to side, while simultaneously tensing your entire body to ensure you didn’t get knocked over. But the pushing got stronger. A lot stronger. And then nearly unbearable for my fear of being trampled to death.

My best friend was standing next to me, thrashing with the crowd, telling me to “ just breathe!” The air smelled like beer marinating in body heat, there was no “breathing.”

The point of no return, though, happened when the crowd pushed so far that I was still very much vertical, but my feet were no longer on the ground. Maybe it was irrational of me to think that I could’ve been trampled to death or suffocated, but there was no way I was staying to find out.

Grabbing my best friend’s hand, mid-panic, I charged for the outside. It was what I imagine being lost at sea is like; the shore is so close you can feel the dry sand in your hand, but the current is pulling you back in. I’m positive I inflicted some of my own pushing on the crowd, but there was no time to say sorry.

In the twenty-yard climb to the outside of the mosh pit, I was elbowed in the ribs, eye, and stomach and tripped every single step I attempted to take.

Finally reaching the edge of the pit, I flung my best friend and myself out and onto the ground, which explains all the excess turf on my clothing.

The air was easily fifteen degrees colder and smell like a crisp summer night. It was wonderful and exactly where I stayed for

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