Stories from the Pit: On Being Short

Now this might end up having to be one of many posts, because I have an endless amount of crazy stories of things that have happened to me while in the pit for shows. I love going to shows because you get to meet and interact with lots of cool people who share similar interests with you, but you also learn something: people can be really rude.

The amount of times I’ve been shoved, pushed past, kicked is countless. It’s all worth it in the end, and the feeling of finally stepping outside after being crushed against other humans for hours on end and that ache in your bones when you wake up the next morning is therapeutic and cathartic in a way.

But unfortunately, as someone who is barely over 5 feet tall – this can get in the way of my enjoyment of a show. Most of my time at a show is spent squirming around between people, trying to strategize a small window where I can see the stage. I love venues where the stage is high off the ground (the main room in Webster Hall in NYC is one of my recent faves) and I’ve seriously considered getting a fake ID simply for the purpose of being allowed on the 21+ balconies at certain venues. I still haven’t tried platform shoes, but believe me, I’ve thought about it.

One of the best options I’ve found to actually being able to see my favorite bands perform is VIP tickets. Especially for some smaller pop punk bands, these tickets really aren’t that much more than the regular GA ticket and are all the more worth it. I’ve gotten to meet bands, hear exclusive acoustic sessions, but most importantly – it grants you early access to the venue and thus I’ve been able to get that coveted spot at the barricade, which is a whole other danger.

One time at Yellowcard show, I witnessed a girl get pushed from behind so hard that the barricade actually leaned forward and she got her foot stuck under its weight. It took a good minute of it pressing down on her foot and screaming at the security before they realized what was happening and lifted it off of her.

The barricade is good for me because it gives me something to cling onto and helps me not get swept away in the crowd. And so as fun as moshing and circle pitting seems, with my petite stature, I usually just thank God that I’ve been able to stake out a good spot and stick with it.

So in summation, here are a few tips for those little ladies like myself in the pit.

1 – Get there early so you can get a spot up front, or VIP tickets if they offer it. If you can’t avoid the middle. I’ve done pretty good at shows when I work my way forward on either the left or right of the stage.

2 – The barricade is your friend. Hold onto it for dear life, and if you can’t – find someone to hold onto. Preferably someone you know.

3 – Duck for crowd surfers when you see security coming towards you. Try to lift them up, but for me, I’m usually so short that I can barely reach them. Protect your neck!

4 – Don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself. I don’t like to do it often, but I’ve asked really tall people to move a little for me sometimes. I paid to go see the show just as much as they did.

5 – Just be pushy in general, sometimes people are not going to be respectful of where you’re standing so make sure to stand your ground.

6 – On the other hand, watch out for other people. The scariest pits I’ve been in have been when I don’t feel like people have my back. It’s always good to make some friends in the pit – especially taller ones – and to feel like you have some other people watching out for you.

To close out this post are some fun injuries that I’ve sustained. In terms of what I’ve seen happen to other people, this is child’s play, although my mother would think otherwise.

The first one was from a Wonder Years show I went to at the Chameleon Club in Lancaster, PA. I was at the barricade and the crowd was pretty crazy. I also seemed to be right in the path of an endless stream of crowd surfers which was a literal pain in the neck. The metal barrier came up to right under my armpits which lead to two huge bruises forming underneath each of my biceps as I got continuously shoved throughout the night. It would be awesome if I were just a bit taller.

The other one is also from the Wonder Years (seeing a pattern here? Not sure if it’s just because they’re the band I’m always going to see or they have violent crowds, I think it’s the former.) at Warped Tour a few summers ago. I was up front but had gotten ripped away from my friends. Some person who didn’t know how to crowd surf and people who didn’t know how to help someone crowd surf somehow resulted in me getting kicked pretty damn hard in the forehead. Not a fun time.

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I’m pretty sure this Vine of mine is when it happened (the reason it cuts off). Sidenote, I use my Vine a lot for recording snippets of concerts so I have a lot of stuff on there. Six seconds is the perfect length to record the atmosphere, some of the song but also not be that asshole who has their phone up for the whole show.

So yeah. Being short can really be a bummer when it comes to concerts. But I’ve figured out ways to make it through, and it’s not going to stop me from going to them anytime soon.

 

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