Long before the word was invented, public stagediving took place during the first Dutch concert by The Rolling Stones at the Kurhaus of Scheveningen on August 8, 1964. There had been riots with such acts as Elvis Presley, PJ Proby and of course Beatlemania and Easyfever. What sets this apart is the band members are now joining in. There is footage of the Pretty Things actively causing a riot in you guessed it the Netherlands not long after the Rolling Stones incident
Many musicians have made stage diving a part of their stage act. Jim Morrison was an early performer known for having jumped into the crowd at several concerts. Iggy Pop is often credited with popularizing stage diving in popular rock music. Initially seen as confrontational and extreme, stage diving has become common at hardcore punk and thrash metal performances.
CHECK OUT IGGY HERE AT 3.46 IN COMMAND OF THE AUDIENCE
Iggy Pop may have invented crowd surfing at 1970’s Cincinnati Summer Pop Festival (Midsummer Rock Festival). Bruce Springsteen appears in the first documented video of crowd surfing in his 1980 Rock concert at Arizona State University, in Tempe, Arizona during his live performance of “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out”. In early 1980 Peter Gabriel was reported to have crowd surfed during performances of ‘ Games Without Frontiers’ by falling into his audience “crucifix style” and then being passed around.  During a later tour in 1982 Gabriel also crowd surfed during performances of ‘Lay Your Hands on Me‘. The rear sleeve of his 1983 album Plays Live,recorded in during Gabriel’s 1982 tour, features a photograph of him crowd surfing, although the image has been rotated 90 degrees so Gabriel appears to be standing.
“Iggy Pop had jumped into an audience prior to me,” Gabriel explained to Mark Blake, “but he hadn’t done that thing of lying on the hands and being carried around by the audience. I had the idea from a game you did with a therapy group where you had to fall backwards. and trust the person behind to catch you. I was always interested in closing the gap between the performer and the audience. At an open-air show in Chicago I was passed around and returned to the stage minus every piece of clothing except my underpants. There was an edge to doing it and part of you was praying you’d get back to the stage in one piece.”
The first official video release to depict Gabriel crowd surfing was POV, a concert video released in 1990 and produced by Martin Scorsese. When Billy Joel crowdsurfed in a concert during his 1987 concert tour of the Soviet Union, bandmate Kevin Dukes described it as the “Peter Gabriel flop”.
Jim Morrison famously would jump into the crowd and writhe onstage when he went into one of his shamanistic trances. There is very funny video footage of an escorting police officer onstage wondering what the hell was going on whilst watching Jim writhing in seeming agony at his feet. There is also the infamous Miami University gig when he joined the audience for a dance around the auditorium before allegedly flashing his penis onstage. Here is the original Rolling Stone account of the incident
“While Collier was rapping, Morrison was in action, pushing people around the stage, bellowing, and acting as if he were masturbating, Collier recounts; but Collier did not see Morrison liberate his penis, he stresses. Other observers told Collier that Morrison had exposed himself, but Collier himself missed it. Between shoving matches, Morrison would grab the mike and shout out more about revolution. But the rest of the band, organist Ray Manzarek, guitarist Rob Krieger and drummer John Densmore, were playing at such ear-bending volume and intensity that little could be heard of the rap.There was some more tug-of-war with the microphone, then Morrison went one way, shoving more people around, and Collier went the other, ripping out amplifier cords (“the lead guitar was mesmerizing the audience”) and kicking in drumheads to silence the music. Morrison managed to push Collier’s brother off the stage into the audience, according to Collier. Then the vinyltrousered singer made the mistake of hitting on a colleague of Collier’s named Larry Pizzi who holds a black belt in karate. As soon as Pizzi felt the rock-singer grab at him from behind, he grabbed Morrison by the arms and flipped him head over heels in a perfect are off the front edge of the stage into the audience, who scrambled out of the path of the falling star.”
Some stage diving and crowd surfing went awry. Kurt Cobain would often not end up in the crowd but on Dave Grohls drums. I personally ended up in hospital in 1991 in Brisbane when the crowd didn’t catch me and I ended up almost breaking my collarbone. Jimmy Barnes broke his front teeth at Newcastle Workers when the crowd parted just before he landed. The front cover of the Lime Spiders Live at the Esplanade 2007 release features a stage diver at the the Espy
There have been serious injuries and death as well and it is a touchy subject with a lot of authorities. Personally in the Lime Spiders we saw some horrendously stupid stage diving. Laughable but terrifying at the same time
On 20 August 2010, Charles Haddon, the lead singer of English synthpop band Ou Est Le Swimming Pool, died after a performance at Pukkelpop, Belgium. He committed suicide by jumping from a telecommunications mast in the backstage artists’ parking area. Haddon was reported to have been distressed after he feared he had seriously injured a young girl earlier after a stagedive.
In 2012, singer Randy Blythe of American heavy metal band Lamb of God was indicted on (and later acquitted of) charges of manslaughter relating to the death of a fan in the Czech Republic after the fan was injured after being pushed off the stage.
In February 2014, federal judge Jan E. DuBois ruled that Fishbone had to pay $1.4 million to a woman who broke her skull and collarbone during a 2010 concert in Philadelphia when Angelo Moore stage-dove and landed on top of her.
Another fatal stage diving incident occurred in May 2014 in New York City during a performance of the metalcore band Miss May I. Although the fan was able to walk away after falling from the stage, the concert was cut short after he fainted. He later died in the hospital