Organizers want fans to rock out more respectfully.

Japan’s annual five-day-long Rock in Japan Fes. 2023 took place on August 5, 6, 11, 12, and 13, with a myriad of Japanese music acts both soft and hard. It’s understandable that fans would be excited for a music festival on such a large scale, especially now that the restrictions on audiences moving around, shouting, or cheering during shows that were in place for much of the coronavirus pandemic have been lifted.

But some fans went a little too far when their mosh circles on August 6 resulted in four attendees fracturing their ribs. People both in and out of the pit were injured, organizers reported, and despite festival staff efforts to expel fans responsible for starting the pits or causing injuries, more injuries were reported. An official statement from the organizers condemning the turn of events, posted on the Rock in Japan Fes. official website, says:

“To be honest, it takes a lot of effort to stop a circle pit, and even more to expel people from the festival. We need to allocate a lot of staff to do so, and it’s hard on them. It also costs us financially. We do all this for the sake of everyone’s safety and well-being.

Rock in Japan is proudly one of Japan’s biggest music festivals. There are many fans that are used to attending festivals, but there are also a lot of first-timers. That’s the type of environment that’s most dangerous for circle pits. Despite our repeated efforts to discourage circle pits, they happened anyway and resulted in four people fracturing their ribs.”

The specific acts during which the circle pits occurred weren’t named, but it was reported that there were multiple occurrences. It’s also worth noting that while the festival is called Rock in Japan, not all of the acts are considered rock music; it’s understandable that there would be many in the audience not accustomed to mosh pits.

▼ “Please, stop! I’m just here for Kyary Pamyu Pamyu!”

Japanese netizens reacted to the official announcement with their own thoughts and observations:

“Is this a special case, or does this happen every year and they only decided to announce [the injuries] this year? I see a lot of moshing at other Japanese music festivals, so I’d expect it happens there, too.”
“I’d understand if the fractures happened in the mosh pit, but I do think there are some people that take the pits a bit too far. They suck more people into the pit and do things like flail their arms around and kick.”
“Those are some pretty serious injuries even for a festival. If I’m being honest, I think they let off the offenders too easily by simply kicking them out.”

No mosh-related follow-up statement was posted by the organizers after the first, so it seems the warning may have had its intended effect. Next year’s festival will last ten days, though, so fans had better be ready to follow the rules–or at least prepare for the worst!

Sources: Rock in Japan Fes. via My Game News Flash
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