Have you heard of “That Guitar Man”? If you live outside NYC, you may not have.
He is David Ippolito, and he has been entertaining crowds of NYC parks with his folk songs for the past ten years. He’s been reviewed by outlets such as the New York Times and Parade Magazine and is known for drawing large crowds at Central Park with his mix of original songs and cover songs from the great folk singers. Recently, however, he hit a sour note among NYC parents after he shushed young fans at two of his concerts. When parents complained, he was fired from his long-term gig at Hudson River Park. Now Ippolito is lashing out, not only at the park, but also at today’s parents.
The NY Daily News reports that on June 24th, the singer asked a father in the audience to keep his child quiet:
“I used my standard line,” said Ippolito, who told the parent, “I think he’s getting a little bit late for the playground.”
A few days later, Ippolito was informed that a complaint was filed from a man who said he and his child had been kicked out of his show. On July 15, a few children were running around near the cable wires where the band played, and Ippolito again asked the children to be quiet. He later told a reporter, “They were running back and forth right in front of us. These incredibly inconsiderate people were letting their kids do gymnastics as we played.”
Soon after, Ippolito was told he was no longer welcome back to play at the park, and he feels that the parents are to blame.
“There are rude and inconsiderate and entitled people, and there always have been. If the Hudson River Park Trust is going to acquiesce to these people, who wants to work for them anyway? You remember when you read a while back in People magazine about ‘The Me Generation? They grew up and (had) kids. They’re raising the next generation of rude people.”
One one hand, is it the best decision to let young children run around on cable wires? Probably not. But would the kids’ voices drown out a concert? I tend to doubt it, unless the performer is singing a capella. A concert is not a solemn event so I really don’t see anything strange with letting kids run around and enjoy the music. Most musical performers will agree that any audience is erratic at best and the show must go on. Simply, the fact that he felt the need to single out the parents of the so-called loud children seems a little preachy to me.
The park’s statement on the firing were straightforward: “Our decision was in response to repeated complaints from park users that (he) made them feel unwelcome and embarrassed them by singling them out over an open mic when they or their children made noise in the park.”
If my kids were being obviously loud and rambunctious, of course, I’d ask them to stop, but let’s keep in mind this was a park in the summertime. Did he not expect children to be there? It wasn’t church or a business meeting. I really don’t see anything inherently wrong with it. How many loud adults have you witnessed at concerts?
Perhaps he had worn out his welcome long before these two incidents. From his statements, he already seemed sick of playing the venue for all the ‘entitled people,’ yet he probably forgot that as a performer and an artist, he served those ‘entitled people’.
What do you think? Should he have shushed the kids? Should he have been fired? Do you let your kids run around at summer concerts in the park?