Archive for Monday, June 11, 2012


River City Jules: Ground rules for crowd-surfing

June 11, 2012


My husband might not be as young as he was 20 years ago, and his tolerance for warm beer, deafening music and standing in one place for a long period of time may have diminished some, but at heart he is the same hard-rocking, head-banging, concert-going guy I fell in love with during the final months of Bush’s (dad’s) presidency.

It’s just that now, two shoulder surgeries later, he has a few rules for his fellow rocking, banging concert-goers, rules he shared with me after last month’s pilgrimage to Rock Fest in Kansas City.

“Someone needs to put some restrictions on the crowd-surfing,” he started.

(For my mom: “crowd-surfing” is the act of throwing one’s self onto the outstretched hands of fellow standing-room-only concert patrons with full trust that the crowd will collectively support one, passing one from person to person overhead in an effort to move from the back of the pit to the stage. It almost never works.)

Happy to hear something other than how scantily-clad the women were, I tuned back in to our conversation.

“For starters, there needs to be a weight limit,” he reasoned. “I’m always the tallest one around and I can’t bear the brunt of a 300-pound man overhead while the shorter people around me try in vain to reach him.”

Ever the safety captain and compulsive problem-solver, I piped up.

“Maybe they could do like Disneyland, but instead of a Donald Duck with a sign pointing to a height requirement, it could be a cut-out of Slash pointing to a scale,” I suggested. “Everyone under the weight limit gets a green wristband allowing them to crowd surf.”

My husband rolled his eyes briefly before continuing. I decided to keep my mouth shut.

“It’s not just the heavy lifting, though. It’s their shoe choice.” I knew where this was going. Last year his friend, Steve, was hit in the eye by a crowd surfer’s hiking boot. While Steve wore that black eye as a badge of honor all week, my husband is not as eager to take a boot to the face.

“And they all need to stretch themselves out,” my science guy went on. “The more surface area, the better the weight distribution.”

Diagrams ran through my head, but I kept them there as he went on.

“And if they want to bring their beer, that’s fine,” he conceded, “but they can’t get mad at us if it spills. They’re the ones suspended over the ground holding an open container.”

I repressed the urge to suggest sippy cups while he continued.

“Most of all, I just wish the guy behind me would give me a verbal warning that he’s about to pass a person to me. I hate spending the concert always looking over my shoulder; I want to watch the show.”

Which brought him back to the women.

So take note this summer, crowd-surfers: diet and exercise, flip-flops, splay out, heads up and enjoy the show.

— Julie Dunlap can be reached at


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