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Going to a Rock Show? Leave the Kids Home

By jeannesager |

rock-concertIt wasn’t Dave Matthews cursing that bugged me. It wasn’t even the three-and-a-half-year-old in the next row listening to Dave Matthews curse that bugged me.

It was listening to said three-and-a-half-year-old’s mom tell the woman beside me “oh yeah, and I have a one-year-old at home!” So you had a babysitter and you chose to drag your toddler to a late night rock show? Are you kidding me?

In terms of sheer inappropriateness, they could have done worse than DMB, it’s true. But we were under the pavilion, not out on the wide-open lawn, and Dave and co did not stop spinning out samples of Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King until well after eleven (that’s eleven P.M., mind you).

The child was dead on her feet exhausted, the air was heavy with pot smoke, and the high percentage of people in and around her parents were either high or drunk. That included the heavily stoned woman beside me who kept leaping to her feet and trying to dance with the child (who I’ll wager she didn’t know – based on the conversations going back and forth) in the aisles. This when she wasn’t high fiving . . . everyone . . . and falling over me trying to find a purse that was supposedly under me (like I told her, it wasn’t).

Rescued from the pothead, the little girl cuddled on mom’s lap before her parents finally opted to pull out their immense backpack carrier, which dad strapped on. Mom placed her inside and dad was stuck with a big hump on his back, which he had to turn outward into the aisle – only to be instructed time and again to clear the aisles by a performing arts center staffer. And through none of it did the child sleep. She tried. You could see her eyes slipping shut, and then someone would scream “we love you Dave,” or a loud crescendo would burst forth from the stage and her eyes would snap open again.

In other words, dad was miserable too – he wasn’t able to fit into his seat with a big thing on his back, and he couldn’t very well dance or have fun.

The little girl just wanted to go home. Heck, I wanted to go home, where my daughter may or may not have been asleep but was certainly having quiet time in her room after a bath. She didn’t have to deal with crazy strangers. She didn’t have to try to sit within the seat allotted her by virtue of a ticket for a four-plus-hour show. What’s more, her ears were safe from noise that is considered hazardous to adult ears (anything over 80 decibels is bad for you – rock concerts are usually around 150).

If dad was miserable and the kid was miserable, what’s the point? Don’t you go to a concert to . . . gasp . . . have fun and rock out?

A day time concert where you can set up far from the music, I can see, but would you bring your kid to a late night rock concert?

Image: ehow

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About jeannesager



Jeanne Sager is a freelance writer and photographer living in upstate New York with her husband and daughter, Jillian. She maintains a blog of her award-winning columns at

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0 thoughts on “Going to a Rock Show? Leave the Kids Home

  1. Jen C says:

    You know that lady thought she was super-cool for bringing the kid. Don’t we all know people who want to be the hip, edgy mom?

  2. Kaz says:

    I so wanted to bring my daughter to see Paul McCartney, but we decided 5 yrs old was still a bit too young. I just worry about running out of time to see Paul (whom she is a big fan of).

    While we were there, we saw a father and son (boy was maybe 8 or so – I know, not a toddler) a few rows in front of us having the time of their life enjoying the tunes together. At the end of the night, the son gave his father a big hug. I hope I get a chance to take my daughter to a McCartney show.

    btw – we were 22nd row (loud!) and the boy had earplug to help him enjoy the show without damaging his ears.

    I also can remember going with my dad and sister to a David Cassidy show as a toddler (am I dating myself?) and falling asleep during the show.

  3. kristen h says:

    We were thinking of taking our 4 year old to a They Might Be Giants concert that’s geared towards families, but decided against it due to the late night factor. Those parents sound like they are disconnected from reality.

  4. PlumbLucky says:

    It would actually work well for our boy (his bedtime is around 10…he’s a year…if he’s down at 10, he’s up at 6; if he’s down at 8, he’s up at 4, and so on and so forth…) right now, but much older? Um, no. And there is no way I’d bring him to an indoor rock concert (too much smoke, legal or illegal). Outdoor, maybe…but the overwhelming gut feeling here is “not so much”.

  5. fletcher says:

    Rock concerts are normally around 100 – 115 dB. If they were 125dB or over, you’d not be able to hear them, because they’d be beyond the threshold of pain, and your ears would just be conveying harsh distorted noise. A couple of seconds of noise at 150dB would equal eternal deafness for you, as well as blood from your ruptured eardrums pouring down your neck.

  6. Huh? says:

    I wouldn’t categorize Dave Matthews as “rock”, and I wouldn’t subject my child to his music regardless of the time.

    Poor kid.

  7. Barb says:

    Kristen, in my city, They Might Be Giants are playing two shows–a 4 p.m. for families (we’re taking our kids) and a later show for adults. I think that is so cool! My 6-year-old loves their kiddie music AND their other stuff, so I’m hoping for a nice mix of both (it’s next month).

    As far as the blog topic–meh, so what? If you’d be uncomfortable taking your children to a Dave Matthews show, then don’t.

  8. Manjari says:

    I feel bad for the kid. Sounds miserable.

  9. Cali Mom says:

    OK, I personally wouldn’t bring my toddler to a late-night rock concert, but this post sounds judgmental to me. Maybe the kid likes DMB on the radio at home, and the parents thought it was a good idea, not realizing how tired their kid would be. Maybe they hadn’t been to a concert in a long time (lord knows I haven’t) and forgot to nasty details. Poor planning – sure. But how many of us haven’t made some kind of judgment error at one time or another.

  10. Cali Mom says:

    Sorry, I meant “forgot the nasty details.”

  11. GP says:

    @ Huh? right on!

    We bring our toddler to the lawn at shows that are over by 1030 or 11…it’s OK for her to be up late once in a while. A little ambient pot smoke never hurt anybody. Of course, she is well-behaved and actually fell asleep at one show!

  12. beth says:

    been there done that as much as my 9 year old loved being ther with her ear plaug in like mom…
    Mom just could not deal with the drunks near her and mom without alchol or drugs in her system had to engage a drunk,becouse the drunk was out of line …all ended well when mom realized it was time to go home before the 9 year olds favorite song and guess what the nine year old agreed. Said to say with or with out the child in tow I’m over stupid drunks and maybe late night concerts where they are encouraged to run wild damn I’m old:-(

  13. Mistress_Scorpio says:

    Ugh, I had to stop reading your description of this poor kid at the concert, it was making me crazy. So unfair to their child…

  14. Hamilton Doula says:

    The first show my son went to was Bob Dylan and The Dead at 5 mths. We stayed back on the lawn and danced with him in a carrier. He’s been to many different kinds of shows: out door punk shows in the afternoon, gigs at small clubs late at night, large outdoor venues late at night and festival shows. He loves music. My husband works in the music industry so it’s pretty normal to have our sons with us.

    Around 2 years old we hung out at an outdoor hardcore show, we stuck to the periphery and played and danced together. At 18 mths he went to see Arcade Fire (at a small club, it was moments before they became what all the hip people were listening to, so it was lucky to see them in such a small space) and Kieran got onstage when the opener was setting up and played drums for a little while.

    He went to see Marky Ramone last week at a festival show in town.

    For louder shows or indoor club shows we use earphones to cancel out some of the sound. Most of the time he hears what we hear, though we tend to hang back a bit.

    I think that if music is important in your family, having a kid tag along to rock shows, even ones late at night, is fine. You have to be prepared to deal with cranky kids but that can happen in the afternoon as easily as at 11pm. I don’t care so much about the pot smoking, it’s usually never right up next to us, and frankly, exposure to the exhaust fumes day in and day out in our neighbourhood are far more toxic than the occasional whiff of ganja!

    And, yeah Cali Mom, totally judgmental post.

  15. [...] Going to a Concert? Leave the Kids Home [Babble] farkItButton(“Cuban+Linx+-+Collapse+the+Walls”, [...]

  16. Marj says:

    I think daytime shows are best for families. I even saw kids at an Ozzy show…but it was over by evening. Late night sounds exhausting for kids and parents. Not to mention a lot of people get rowdier when the sun goes down, even at rock concerts.

  17. says:

    kids remember concerts for the rest of their lives…TAKE THEM!

  18. Matt says:

    Sounds like jeannesager should have stayed home.

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