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Monday 19 July 2010

From Mosh Pit To Play Pen.

I read an article yesterday about a recent music festival which has started to provide creche facilities for children taken to that festival.
Apparently in previous years at this festival, the parents had to stay with the children. But, this year the parents can pay to leave their children at the festivals kids club. Leaving the parents to go off and enjoy the festivities.

Now, to me at least, this just seems plain wrong.

I can't believe that music festivals have changed that much over the years. And, i seem to remember that festivals have always been associated with drinking, recreational drug use & generally having a very good time. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.
Not the sort of place that i'd want to take any children of mine to.

Maybe things have changed since my day & i know that they certainly have when it comes to the provision of facilities. But, is a music festival really the right place for a child? Even if they are supervised by a qualified adult.
I realise that children have been taken to music festivals over the years & that facilities have often been provided for them. But, up until now at least, those children have always had to be supervised by at least one of the parents. This latest development seems to be a big change to those previous arrangements.

To me, this whole issue raises two main questions:
1 - Should children be allowed to attend festivals in the first place? and,
2 - Are the parents being selfish by taking them there?

1 - I have no real problem with children attending festivals as such & i suppose it's good that parents feel that they can safely take their children to them. That's obviously an indication of the way that festivals have progressed over the years. Many more festivals and events generally, are now considered to be "child friendly". But, does this end up changing the atmosphere of the festival, or the event itself? After all,  allowing children & possibly, actively encouraging them to attend, must change the way that a festival is run? Different facilities & activities have to be provided to cater for those children.
It goes without saying that f you encourage children, you then have to provide for them. That must cost money?
So does this raise the price of the ticket price for everyone else? If so, is that fair?
At the festival in question here, children under 12 get in free. Is that fair?
As with any potential festival goer, i can, of course, decide not to attend in the first place. But, why should i feel the need to do that. I want to attend a music festival, not a kindergarden.
I admit that i've not attended a music festival for a number of years now. So, the children that are there may not be as intrusvie as i fear they might be.
Festivals have always been occasions when consenting adults can let their hair down a bit & not have to worry about "stuff" for a few days. Does the presence of children change all of that?

2 - Personally, i tend to think that they are. Especially, if they then pay to leave those children in the care of others.
If parents choose to take their children to a music festival & then look after them themselves. Then, i don't see that as quite so much of a problem. But, i do then start to wonder, where is the fun in doing that? What is the point of going to a festival when you have to spend most your time worrying about and tending to the needs of your children. It's something i would certainly never contemplate.
Being a parent of two teenage children, i have been on many family holidays. As any parent will tell you. When those children are young, that turns out to be anything but a holiday. You tend to come home more stressed than when you started out.
I suppose that this new option of paying somebody to look after your children for you, whilst you go & enjoy the music, is a nice option for some. The ones who can afford to pay for this service that is.
But, surely this then raises questions about whether this is fair on the children themselves? And also, what happens if the parents "enjoy" themselves a little bit too much, if you get my drift? Where does the responsibility for the children end up laying? It sounds like a legal minefield to me.
To me, this seems to have taken the whole concept of the babysitter a step too far.
Don't' get me wrong. If i was a child i'm sure i'd love the idea of going to a music festival. It certainly sounds exciting. That's if i'm old enough to realise what's going on of course. But, there does surely come a time when a parent has to wonder if all of this is actually worth it.
As i mentioned earlier. As a parent, i would not have even considered taking my children to a music festival like this and for a number of reasons too. There's the hassle, worry, stress, cost, noise, logistics, time etc etc.
There does, in my opinion anyway, come a time when you just have to say, "No".
Sometimes you have to make a sacrifice as a parent & i have done that many times in the past. You can't do everything that you would like to do & you often have to put certain things off for the future, for when those children have grown older. That's all a part of being a parent and something you just have to accept. You can't have it all. But, unfortunately, that's exactly what some people do want. They want it all & they want it now.
Are those people messing it up for everyone else & not just on the topic of music festivals either?
I'll let you decide & debate that question. But, i know what i think.


  1. Very good points, but I suppose you could be labeled as a naysayer. In Pensacola, FL, there is a full boat of festivals year round featuring music, food & fun for all(ages). Most, I believe, are family oriented, and those that aren't probably have children in attendance none the less. Although we have not raised children, the concept of responsibility, interests, time constraints & expense, daunting as they are, does not escape us. To parents I say, "Keep your children safe & away from unseemly influences." Next time we attend an event I will be mindful of what you said!

  2. I have no problem with those festivals that have tradionally catered for people of all ages. I just don't feel that music/rock festivals fall into that category. Well, they certainly didn't when i used to go to them.
    A family orientated festival is a good thing & i've attended sevral myself over the years.
    Music festivals used to be the preserve of adults & i see no problem with keeping them that way.