Audience members moshing in front of the stage at a concert
GenreLive punk rock and heavy metal
OriginEarly 1980s, California and Washington, D.C., United States

Moshing is a style of dance in which participants push or slam into each other, typically performed in "aggressive" live music. Moshing usually happens in the center of the crowd, generally closer to the stage,[1] in an area called the "pit". It is intended to be energetic and full of body contact.

The dance style originated in the hardcore punk scenes of California and Washington, D.C. around 1980. Through the 1980s it spread to other branches of punk rock as well as thrash metal and grunge, which exposed it to the mainstream. Since then, moshing has occasionally been performed to energetic music within a wide variety of genres, including alternative rock, EDM and hip hop, while remaining a staple at punk and heavy metal shows.

Variations of moshing exist, including "pogoing", "circle pits", and "wall of death". Dancing can be done alone as well as in groups. Some moshers, known as crowd killers, swing their arms back and forth and move their legs in a rhythmic fashion.

While moshing is seen as a form of positive fan feedback or expression of enjoyment,[2][3] it has also drawn criticism over dangerous excesses occurring in offshoots. Injuries have been reported in mosh pits, and a few deaths have occurred in "Wall of Death" moshing, an offshoot that developed when fans at thrash metal shows adopted punk-style slamdancing.[4][5][6][7]



The term mosh came into use in the early 1980s American hardcore scene in Washington, D.C. Early on, the dance was frequently spelled mash in fanzines and record liner notes, but pronounced mosh, as in the 1982 song "Total Mash" by the D.C.-based hardcore band Scream. H.R. of the band Bad Brains, regarded as a band that "put moshing on the map,"[8] used the term mash in lyrics and in concert stage banter to both incite and to describe the aggressive and often violent dancing of the scene. To "mash it up" was to go wild with the frenzy of the music. Due to his Jamaican-accented pronunciation of the word, fans heard this as mosh instead.[9]

By the mid-1980s, the term was appearing in print with its current spelling. By the time thrash metal band Anthrax used the term in their song "Caught in a Mosh",[10] the word was already a mainstay of hardcore and thrash scenes. Scott Ian and Charlie Benante of Anthrax and S.O.D. have both been credited with the term originating from Vinnie Stigma of the New York hardcore band Agnostic Front. Through the mainstream success of bands like Anthrax, Stormtroopers of Death, and multiple thrash metal bands in the late 1980's the term came into the popular vernacular.[citation needed]


Crowdsurfing over a mosh pit.

The first dance identifiable as moshing may have originated in Orange County, California, during the first wave of American hardcore.[11] Examples of this early moshing can be seen in the documentaries Another State of Mind, Urban Struggle, The Decline of Western Civilization, and American Hardcore, as well as footage from the shows of the era. Dave Wood, an avid concert-goer and roadie of The Weirdos, popularized moshing at a show at The Roxy in 1977. The show at The Roxy is said to have been the first to have a mosh pit. At the time California hardcore punk bands such as the Circle Jerks, Black Flag, Fear and Dead Kennedys were popular in Orange County.[citation needed]

Crossover into mainstream genres

By the end of the 1980s, the initial wave of American hardcore punk had waned and split into other subgenres. The Seattle-based grunge movement was among the many styles of music that directly evolved from hardcore.[citation needed] Through the mainstream success of several grunge bands, the word mosh entered the popular North American vocabulary and the dance spread to many other music genres.[citation needed] According to John Linnell of They Might Be Giants, "it didn’t matter what kind of music you were playing or what kind of band you were; everybody moshed to everything. It was just kind of the enforced rule of going to concerts."[12]


Variations of moshing exist, and can be done alone as well as in groups. Variations on the traditional mosh include "pogoing", "circle pits" (where the participants bump and jostle each other as they run along the circular perimeter of the pit) and the more extreme "wall of death" (where the crowd splits into two groups that run at each other). Some moshers swing their arms back and forth and move their legs in a rhythmic fashion.[citation needed]

Other Languages
বাংলা: মোশিং
čeština: Moshing
dansk: Moshing
eesti: Mosh
español: Mosh
فارسی: ماشینگ
français: Mosh
italiano: Mosh
Nederlands: Moshen
日本語: モッシュ
norsk: Mosh
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Slam
polski: Mosh
português: Mosh
română: Moshing
русский: Слэм
suomi: Moshing
svenska: Mosh
українська: Слем (рок-концерт)
中文: 衝撞