They’re seriously just the worst.
Imagine that band you have been idolizing for the longest time. Yeah, them. Now imagine they come to your city specifically to play music for their fans, like you. The price is perfect. Your parents finally give you permission, your best friend agrees to tag along, and you go on ticketmaster to buy the tickets. Everything is going well until you read “19+” and you explode.
The harshest oppression a teenager must endure is undoubtedly when they are put in the situation of having their favourite band stop by their city and having it be (cue the devil’s chord) age restricted.
Hi, I’m Mahtab, I’m faced with this problem way too often, and you probably are too. To be blunt, it really sucks. It sucks big time. Music is how most teens deal with all that ~angst~ of ours. As we grow up and mature, so does our music, and it’s linked to every event or activity in our life. That one playlist from last year reminds you of the first play you were in, that other playlist reminds you of that horribly long Biology project you thought you would never finish.
Finding and listening to the right band, a band that speaks to you and helps play out your life, is basically the greatest feeling in the world. These are the musicians who have helped us survive when we were at the lowest points, and help us thrive at our highest. Seeing them perform right in front of our eyes would be a life changing experience. It would make our gloomy, cynical a little bit (okay, a LOT) better, even if just for a while.
Unfortunately, owning a music venue and making money off an all ages show is hard. Selling alcohol increases profits, but disables an entire demographic of younger people from viewing amazing bands. According to their alcohol licenses, no one under the legal drinking age should be allowed in the venue during a show, for fear that they would somehow get access to it.
This is honestly so pointless. Not many people pay for a concert ticket then go in to get wasted. News flash: not all minors want to get drunk. What the government doesn’t understand is that for us, it’s really just about the music. If we wanted alcohol, there are so many other, cheaper and more accessible means of getting it. To put out their fears of our rebellious hormones kicking in, in the beginning of the show, they could easily check our ID’s and give a pass to those who aren’t underage for access to the bar. It really isn’t that hard.
However, some people argue that the age restrictions are put not only because of alcohol, but because we are “too young” to experience a concert. Just. Why. Take a look at the content and material the artists write and create. If it’s pretty age appropriate and there’s a decent demographic of teenagers who listen to it, then there should be no reason for age restrictions. If Lil Wayne, whose lyrics are gems like “I’m so motherfucking high, I can eat a star” can have an all ages show, so can Grizzly Bear.
Until the very joyful day when age restricted shows stop existing, here are a few things you can try out to see that concert you’ve been dreaming of.
- Check to see if they’re playing at any all ages shows near your city. Not long ago there was a 19+ Marina and the Diamonds show in Vancouver, and an all-ages one in Seattle. Tons of younger fans went out there.
- Call the venue and talk to them. They can sometimes be very understanding. If you explain to them that your only intention is to see your favourite band live and how drinking is the last thing on your mind, you may have a chance. A little talking goes a long way, especially with lesser-known acts.
- Look for an email on the band’s website and email them your story. If you could explain to someone who works for the band how much they mean to you and how amazing it would be if you could see them live or even meet them, they might work things out. I went to the Twin Shadow soundcheck a little while ago because my friend and I did this.
- Wait by the venue for the tour bus. If you hang around the alley behind the venue 3 hours or so prior to when the show is scheduled to start, the band’s tour bus should arrive/get ready to leave and you can say hi and express your unconditional love for them.
- Acceptance, and possibly crying. If none of the above worked for you, just keep in mind, you won’t be underage forever, and one beautiful day not too long from now you will wake up and realize you can attend every show your heart (and your wallet) desires. ♦
Written and Illustrated by Mahtab.