How to spot a mosh pit or stampede forming at an event. What to do if you’re caught in the chaos

HOUSTON – Concertgoer Angel Rodriguez described the moment the deadly stampede and mosh pit started during the Astroworld Festival on Friday, Nov. 5.

“It was just so hard to breathe. We were packed like sardines,” said Rodriguez.

Nafeh Saemdahr said to prevent being trampled and squished, he went against the grain.

“The minute Travis started performing, it’s like people stopped seeing in front of them. They were running, they were going crazy and pushing and everything. So, I thought smart. I said I don’t want to be in front where all of the danger is, I just stayed in the back,” Saemdahr said.

Most people who attend concerts and festivals don’t plan to be entangled in a mosh pit or a stampede, but if you happen to find yourself in a crowd of chaos, injury experts say there are some ways to help protect yourself.

Injury specialist Dr. Rami Hashish agrees that you should stay back if you see a stampede, and strongly advises against running with the crowd.

“Your emotions and everything that you’re dealing with are now really dictated by the large group of people around you,” Hashish said.

If you find yourself in a mosh pit, Hashish said to immediately start protecting your head.

“More than 50%, 60% of the injuries that people sustain from mosh pits are to the head,” Hashish said.

He adds it’s important for festival-goers to be aware of signs that a mosh pit may form.

“Louder music, brighter lights, more synchronized motion -- all of those are indications that it’s getting rowdier,” Hashish said.

As proven this past weekend after eight people were killed, and dozens hurt, rowdy crowds can lead to injury and even death.

“It’s just sad those people lost their lives. They were just trying to have fun that night,” Rodriguez said.

Hashish said it’s also important to identify exit strategies the moment you arrive at a venue so that if danger strikes and crowds are obstructing your vision, you have a mental note of how to escape.

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