Back in the day, when going to a punk rock gig was a genuinely dangerous thing to do, were there barriers or security separating the crowd from the band? Of course not. I am sure even the biggest of security guards would think twice about standing in front of GG Allin or Circle One. But nowadays, shows tend to be much tamer, yet we have a barrier and 5 foot gap filled with security guards.
Though, of course, they are placed there in the interest of health and safety by helping kids get down from crowd surfing (often shortly before kicking them out of the venue). However, attending various shows, you occasionally find the bands or venues that don’t enforce these rules. Californian superhero punk/ska band The Aquabats play shows in the UK that are on a small enough scale that there is no need to have security, and this makes the shows a hundred times better due to the increased crowd participation and involvement. [And even after throwing three 12 year old kids into the waiting crowd to surf them back to their parents at the side of the venue there is no worry that they will come to harm. And not to mention punk legends Fugazi led by Minor Threat’s Ian MacKaye, straight up refused to play shows if there was a barrier present at the venue as he wanted to be as close to as crowd as possible so he can involve them. In the instance of someone causing trouble at their shows, the band personally escorted the individual out and refunded them. All without using any security.