Attending a concert, or “show” is an important part of many teenagers’ lives. Music can represent the center of teen culture, and concerts are often the only acceptable or available social activity. They can represent new found freedom for a teen, and an opportunity for them to express their individuality. However, the thought of allowing one’s child to attend a concert gives many parents serious anxiety. The thought of dropping their son or daughter off in a strange location, and leaving them surrounded by crowds of weird-looking strangers may seem dangerous. There are other fears too: about drugs, crowds out of control, exposure to sinister influences of other young adults. But almost all parents these days probably have fond memories of their first concerts and wouldn’t want to deprive their kids of the same experience, so when the day comes that the bird needs to leave the nest for an outing into the counterculture, here are some tips to consider:
1. Have your teen go with one of their friends that you trust, or with a “cooler” family friend that they wouldn’t mind going to the show with. Having a friend with you at a concert is a must, especially one you can count on! Concerts can be overwhelming experiences for a new concert-goer, especially a large festival or arena show. It’s good to have a friend to rely on when things get intense.
2. If you are driving your son or daughter to the concert, make sure that you have an agreed upon and easy-to-find meeting place after the show. Make sure you have an agreed-upon time as well, but know in advance that it will probably be late. Most concerts are not early-bird affairs, and your teen is not going to want to leave early. Don’t count on being able to reach them on their cell phones, in the bustle of crowds it’s easy to loose items from pockets. It’s also hard to hear a phone ring! You may also want to insist on driving them if you are concerned that they or their friends may be drinking or using drugs at the concert. It’s always better to have a drunk teenager in the backseat than behind the wheel.
3. Make sure that your teen is dressed appropriately. Many concerts are outdoors and expose concerts goers to sun all day and cool temperatures at night. Also “general admission” shows tend to generate a great deal of contact with strangers, and often have “pits” where the dancing can get boisterous. Good shoes are a must. Clothing that may seem “cute” at home may bring unwanted attention, or simply be uncomfortable while standing for long periods of time in a large group. Remind your teen that it’s a concert, not a dance or club.
4. Make sure that they eat and drink water before they go. Food and even water can be expensive at a concert, and often you won’t be able to leave your “spot” once you’ve secured it. It can get hot and sweaty at a good show, and it’s a good idea to have a full stomach and be well hydrated. Additionally, if your teen might need any prescription medication during the concert, such as an asthma inhaler, make sure they take it with them.
5. Check out the band and venue before you agree to let your child go to the concert. It may be a fairly mellow affair that you can gladly agree to, but you might not want your child to experience the “wall of death” at the Lamb of God show just yet. Check out live videos of your child’s favorite band or festival on YouTube to get an idea of what to expect and take a look at the band’s website as well before you say yes.
6. Use common sense. If your gut tells you the risks are too great, then put your foot down. The 3-day “world’s largest” rave, whose adverts are surrounded by little dancing mushrooms probably isn’t the best place to drop off your child for the weekend. You will probably have to let go of some your judgments, because, yes, that probably is a tattoo on the lead singer’s neck and, no, I really can’t tell you why they dress like that. If you “got it,” then it probably wouldn’t be cool anyway.
Check out these links for more concert tips and discussions by parents of their experiences with concerts: