THE BLOG

Booze Day - The Problem With Over 18s Festivals

07/06/2016 15:58

As a Brit I've always felt smugly superior when it comes to the US's reactionary attitude to young people going to gigs. Surely all shows should be 'All ages'...

Rock (pop/rap/metal/your genre here) is the lifeblood of teens. And teens are the lifeblood of music. It is a symbiotic relationship, which should be nurtured.

I was 14 when I went to my first show and it changed my life. By the time I was 15 I was in a band and playing my own shows.

I've been delighted that my teenage daughters have fallen in love with music in the same way I did. They go to gigs all the time. Occasionally they are frustrated by a band they want to see playing a club with age restricted access. But it doesn't happen often, and never with outdoor shows - until this summer, when I was told they're not welcome at a particular festival because they're under 18.

'Licensing laws', 'insurance' were reasons given, which would be understandable if it was World Beer Festival. But it's a music festival - so why exclude those who are most passionate about music ? The licensing arrangements need to be built around the event, not the other way round, otherwise we end up with festivals where selling drink is prioritised over the music.

I appreciate that the industry is going through hard times - although the live music industry considerably less hard than recorded - and that expenses need to be covered, but ' it's a music festival, stupid' so the music and the fans come first. Teenagers are the most committed, and open of these.

They'll be the ones down the front watching every band on the bill - or at least they should be. If we go down the route of Over 18s festivals they will be stuck outside the perimeter fence while the audience inside is stood in the queue for the bar. Welcome to Booze Day.

John Parish is a musician/producer/composer and is currently on tour with PJ Harvey

Comments

CONVERSATIONS