I have had a long time love affair with music. It is just something that always seemed to be there when I needed it most. Like Eric Church sings, "It's funny how a melody sounds like a memory," I can associate a snippet in time to a plethora of songs. The first three beats can take me way back to a time when nothing in my life mattered, except for finishing homework before dark, so I could gather my friends to make music videos for my most recent favorite hit, in the backyard, with a borrowed VHS video camera. I've grown a lot since then, and have evolved into a self-proclaimed live music junkie, where nothing, not even the kids, will get in my way of an opportunity to see an artist I love perform my favorite memories live. That's right, not even the kids. So what do I do with them while I am practically touring alongside my favorite rock stars as they perform on stage? Why, I bring the kids with me. In fact, most of my kids attended their first concert pre-birth, and definitely all had their first live music experience before their first birthdays.
While some of you will disagree with my choice to see a show with my kids in tow, I've got some pretty good reasons as to why it is one of the best ideas ever.
1. People at Concerts Have Your Back
In today's world it is very difficult to shelter our kids from the negativity that exists in our world. My 6 year old daughter came home from school recently, discussing the procedure for a lock-down drill. A Lock. Down. Drill. Because today, we have to worry about deranged human beings, kids and adults alike, walking into a public forum with the intent to cause harm. The mass shooting at Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas really hit home. I bring my kids to events like that. I actually had family attending the event. But a lunatic can just as easily walk into my child's school and perform just as deadly an action. And that is a place where she should feel most safe, next to home. In Vegas, people were running for their lives, but they did not run past the hurt or fallen. The stories that came out of that disaster are ones that resonate love and compassion. Being there for one another, that is what music is all about.
2. It is a Soul Bonding and Soul Lifting Experience
When you enter a music venue, something really magical happens. You instantly gain the comradery of thousands of other people. People go to concerts to feel the love, and man, even in the wake of tragedy, the love remains. There is nothing more worthy of exposing your kids to than the feeling of "togetherness" that exists in a music venue. That feeling when you are belting out the lyrics of that one song that gets everyone going, and you turn to see a smiling, head bobbing stranger mouthing the same words as you. A high five is exchanged and a bond is created. Even if for a moment.
They get to dance. And dance like no one is watching. We've all done that sometime in our lives, and you have to admit, it's an exhilarating feeling. My littlest one cannot help but move when the music starts. She dances from the start of a set until the encore. It is a beautiful thing to watch, but even more inspiring to see others join in and rediscover the freedom that comes with letting the music take over. That is something positive worth exposing your kids to.
3. Most Venues Give Kid Ticket Prices (and some are even free!)
I would not recommend spending a lofty $75 of your hard earned dollars to bring a kid to a concert. Especially with all the unknowns that could possibly happen with a child. Granted I'm promoting bringing your children to live music events, I do not think spending an entire paycheck for them to attend is smart. In fact, it's pretty, well, dumb. At that point, you may as well make it an adult night out and pay a sitter. On the flip side, many promoters and venues offer kid ticket prices, if a child does not need a seat, they usually do not have to be a paid ticket holder! This situation is a win-win. You can even get away with bringing kid-friendly food to the venue to keep your little one from getting antsy. In most cases, security is more lenient when you have a kid with you. I have never run into problems bringing in Goldfish, fruitsnack, or juice boxes to avoid the costly (and extremely unhealthy) concessions at a show. You get to see your show, and give your kids a really memorable, live music experience without breaking the bank.
I am not going to deny that there are some negative aspects to concert going, but common sense would tell any parent to keep their kids safe and away from certain situations. I do not recommend entering the mosh pit with a child at your side, or bringing your children to see an artist that you know has a tendency to throw some indecent acts into their performance (like those artists that bite heads off of birds, ugh). But taking them along to see some singer-songwriter performers, or artists that are sure to send out positive vibes has so many benefits and could actually be beneficial. Outdoor venues seem to be the most appropriate, for you have more space to avoid the riff-raff and they also provide opportunity for more movement and less chance to bother a serious concert goer. Just play it safe, and be prepared. And if you're lucky like me, they will love it so much that they will be able to sleep right through the noise when they have had enough!