Expressions #11: Too much too young?

PicMonkey Collage

Happy

My children are lucky. Whilst we’re not well-off, we are able to afford occasional extravagances. My children are also blessed with an over-excited Dad, who spent one morning back in October refreshing his screen, determined to secure tickets for One Direction at Wembley stadium. The date rolled around last Sunday, and together with 79,996 girls and their Mums we made our way to Wembley stadium.

I was never allowed to go to gigs and concerts when I was young. The Manchester Apollo was a hive of criminal activity and any young girl going within a 5 mile radius was guaranteed to suffer a terrible fate at the hands of someone indescribable. If you believed what my Dad believed. So I stayed at home, envious, while my 16 year old friends went to see Prefab Sprout, Aztec Camera, and Duran Duran. My first gig was at Wembley stadium, and I was 24. Rod Stewart. Since then I’ve done the O2, Wembley Arena, Brixton Academy, and the V festivals. It’s the norm for teenagers to go to music festivals now, and if I’m ever going to get over my panic when mine head off to Glastonbury, I figure I need to break myself in gradually. So accompanying them to their first gig seemed like a good first step.

And she was so happy. Excited for weeks, the thrill built during the concert, until she was standing on her seat singing every word. Probably things have changed since 1983. Concerts are well-marshalled, unseated areas are limited, with plenty of space to move around, and actually, a big venue is probably safer than a smaller, local gig. There are those who will say that the hordes of 10 year olds (and younger) shouldn’t be at events like this, that it’s too soon, dangerous, something to be reserved until adulthood. The queues of Dads waiting for their daughters outside at 10.30pm would say otherwise.

The comments on this Instagram post made me wonder, as people declared we were making her a memory she’d never forget. What do you think? Would you take your young children to a big music event? And how old would they have to be before you’d let them go it alone?

 

 

33 thoughts on “Expressions #11: Too much too young?”

  1. really interesting post. I was (I think!) 11 or 12 for my first concert and it was at the Manchester G-Mex (as it was called then) and was to see Take That. I wasn’t really into TakeThat but my cousin who is three years older was, so our mums got tickets for us to go.

    I remember being excited and thinking what an amazing treat it was as it was not only a concert but also on a school night!! I remember what seemed like a HUGE queue to get in and being allowed to choose a poster from the street sellers outside.

    since then I’ve been to loads of concerts, at various ages. I’ve been to gigs at 14/15 on the manchester appollo with a friend (and dad dutifully dropped us off and picked us up!) on my own at 20 (to see Elton John who was amazing) and to much smaller venues that hold a few hundred with my husband.

    It’s something that is a long way off for my children but I will be keen to encourage a love of music – whether it be pop or something less mainstream; there is something quite amazing about hearing live music performed. Personally the gigs I most remember have been those at smaller venues (Paolo Nutini was beyond amazing!) but like you say, are probably the ones least suited to children – lots of alcohol, fewer marshalls and easier to get knocked over.

    I’d be interested to know what the comments were on the IG picture – I’m struggling to think of anything negative that could be said about it!

    I hope all enjoyed the one direciton concert – my niece saw them last year (13 I think and she went with friends whilst her mum and partner had a meal in town and met them afterwards) and my other two neices (7 & 11) go to see them with their mum later this year.

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    • Agreed. Brixton Academy has been a brilliant – if rather lairy – venue for me, but I’d never take the kids there or teens. The comments weren’t negative – someone said that we were creating a day she’d remember for the rest of her life, and that she hadn’t been allowed to go and see Take That when she was young. It just made me think about my childhood, and whether 9 and 6 was too young to go to a gig.

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  2. I finally got a photo where you can’t see 99 thousand chicken pox! *cheers at self*

    My eldest daughter went to gigs from the age of 16 onwards alone with her friends and has managed that without any incidents – phew. I like taking younger ones to gigs as it’s a good experience – and they’ll be a bit savvier twhen they do end up going alone for the first time!

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    • Yay!

      It makes sense on so many other things too – the more they get to do – supervised – when they’re young, the more they’ll know how to handle it once they’re off doing it by themselves.

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  3. You’ve got me thinking now…. I saw Bros (the shame) when I was probably 15 (?) I took my younger sister and her friend, that’s my excuse anyway. Edinburgh Playhouse, pretty tame venue for that one! But, I went to see INXS in Glasgow with a group of friends, we got a coach through on our own, I reckon I must have been 16? Fabulous concert ๐Ÿ™‚ Thinking about it now I’m quite surprised that my mother, who was otherwise quite strict, let me go! I think concerts are such an amazing experience, and I would take my oldest (8 in a few days) to a good venue in the next couple of years if there was something he wanted to see. I think that you’ve made such a fantastic memory for GG here, she won’t forget going, or that you took her. Brilliant x

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  4. Oh I bet she had a great time! I took my daughter to see Olly Murs when she was 7, we were right at the front and she loved it (even if she wasn’t quite tall enough to see over the barrier properly!!)

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  5. My Dad took me to my first concert when I was 10. It was Rick Astley at a Wembley Arena. Even now I can vividly remember it and I have a rubbish long term memory. Second gig was a couple of years later and Dad took me again to Wembley this time to see Wet Wet Wet (and my obsession with Marti Pellow was born). I can’t wait to take my girls because of the fantastic memories I have of those first concerts. However, the memories of getting a coach to Knebworth to see Oasis in a field with 150,000 other people at 15yrs old make me hesitant to let them go alone! If my mother had realised exactly where we were going she’d have had a fit…

    Excited to discover your linky and I look forward to linking up again xx

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  6. I think it is a good idea to take them when they are young, a great experience. I first went to a concert about 16 by myself and then to a lot of festivals from 18 to mid 20s when the small ones came along

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  7. Really lovely photo and post. I was 16 when I went to my first gig – an indie band in the town hall. I went to A LOT of gigs after that, usually at small to medium size venues and sometimes even on my own. We took my eldest to his first gig in year 4, on a school night, to see my favourite band, The Levellers. He enjoyed it. We took my younger son to see The Levellers in year 4 too. A couple of weeks ago we all did our first festival together and it was a fantastic experience for all of us.

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  8. Ours have been to gigs from about 14 without a parent in the audience with them – but they’ve been delivered to the venue and picked up afterwards. My daughter was 2 when she went to her first Glastonbury though!
    My first gig was The Damned at 15 years old at Rock City in Nottingham by train with my mate. Although I was fine and had an epic time, I’d rather break them in gently and let them learn the ropes under supervision before releasing them. And I’d be mortified if they even suggested going to anywhere with an over 18 policy and alcohol!! ๐Ÿ˜€

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  9. Firstly, what lovely pics and definitely one for the memory bank ๐Ÿ™‚ In answer to your qs I started going to gigs at Uni inNorwich and local venues at about 13 with friends to see bands like EMF, Carter, Manics etc and this has continued into my elder years, albeit different locations. E has mentioned she would like to see The Killers one day but I fear they may be no longer by the time she is actually allowed into some venues – she is currently nearly 8. She did me proud atCamp Bestival last summer though joining me at the barrier for Scroobius Pip vs Dan le Sac and refused to wear her cans! When she’s older I’d like to think I would let her go to the smaller venues with friends – although if our music tastes remain the same I’ll be up front with them ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  10. I think its great to take them to the concert really, its true it is something they will remember and such an exciting moment for them! I don’t see it as any different than taking them to anywhere else, eg taking to Disney on Ice or something when they are little. You are going along with them while they are young, and these days it is so safe as you say. My kids have not been to any concerts but at 5 and under they are not so interested yet, my husband gets to buy priority tickets through his work so if anything does come up in future that they would enjoy we’ll definitely take them it’s such a fun evening out especially as its not something you get to do every week!

    I went to a couple as a teenager and we were allowed to go alone, we went to see s club 7 (this was more my sister and her friends taste! lol) and Gabrielle. There was a party on the pier concert at the beach near us one year so we went and sat out there at about 6am to secure our seats early. We were only about 14 but were in a group of friends so it was fine. Actually while we were sat there on the beach that morning someone discovered a dead body floating in!!!! So it was a little more eventful than normal :/ But I think its fine to let kids go off and experience stuff on their own or with friends as they get older. Obviously once my kid get a bit bigger I might worry and change my mind!

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  11. I was in college already when I first saw my first concert. Most of the ones that i want to go to when I was younger was a bit punk for my age so I am not allowed to attend in any of them. No one bought it for me. Bought the tickets from my allowance and had a blast. Its a local band

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  12. My big worry was that by letting my girl have all these experiences when she was young would mean that she would be into more extreme things by the time she was in her twenties. The opposite has happened. As far as she is concerned, she’ been there, done that, and is now more than ready to hold down a sensible job and get herself fit and healthy – stuff that only became a real concern for me 10 years later!

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    • Wow! What a wonderful comment to read. I have exactly this fear. I imagined them seeking more and more extreme experiences in order to get the same thrill as they get older. How wonderful to know that it isn’t necessarily going to be the case! Thank you x

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  13. i think i need to do this with Beth, im not a fan of crowds so have struggled ..although we have some events in the forests near us and i did go and see Beautiful South #epic

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    • I was majorly impressed by the crowd control Jaime. Considering there were 80,000 people there I never once felt worried about the children. I gripped hands a little harder on the way out to the tube, but even there, the police had it under control. I would have loved to see the Beautiful South – I know every single word!

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  14. We took our daughters to their first concert aged 9 to see Busted, McFly & V. They loved it & we’ve been to quite a few since then. I think it’s a great way to make memories with the kids & let them have fun at the same time. Happy to hear that GG had a fabulous time.

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  15. I have friends who took their 4 and 5 yr olds to see 1D. I think it’s down to the parent as to when they think they are ready. It’s a bit like going to the pantomine but on a much grander scale LOL. My first gig was to see Ant and Dec back when they were popstars LOL!

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  16. I would imagine you were very cool parents that night!!i think both of your children are old enough to enjoy a gig especially a wholesome one like 1D – assuming there was no swearing or sexual content .i have been to gigs where the language has been awful and children have been present!
    I wish my Mum had taken me to see Wham when she went – and to think I was the Wham fan and she was the Duran Duran one grrrr will never let that one go!! x

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  17. Really interesting post, as we had a similar dilemma but with my six year old! Three of her friends – and their mothers – were going to the 1D gig in Wembley. But one of their mother’s is very poorly & wanting to do things whilst she can with her daughter. And I totally understand that, and I like to think we live for the moment, but we are in a fortunate position where we can – hopefully – pace our experiences out over our/her life. However, my girl just saw it as “they are going, why can’t I?” But she is only six!! In her mind she is a “huge” 1D fan, but the reality is she probably knows four songs and enjoys a good dance to any sort of music. Whilst we did contemplate the concert (me more than DadTired) we also contemplated our child; would she really appreciate the experience? Could this be ‘held back’ as it were to share with others at a later time? How would she physically cope as coming home from Wembley after the concert would mean she wouldn’t be in bed before midnight! I think it’s a great experience at 10 years old, one she would remember & would want to share with her parent(s), and I can’t wait to take my child to that magical concert where she is so very excited. For me, I think 10 is a perfect age to start, six is still a tad too young!

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    • I do share that concern, that it’s such a big deal, and will they actually remember anything about it. It’s hard, when their friends are doing things though, isn’t it?

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