Chooch watching Chiodos for the first time!
The other day, I was scrolling through Instagram when I saw that the Warped Tour account posted a picture of one of the Warped roadies holding up a little girl, maybe around 9 or 10, during the Sleeping With Sirens set. I thought it was so cute, and so did most of the other commenters. However, there were some people enraged that people would bring children to Warped Tour. One of the angriest commenters was a seventeen year old girl! Seriously, shouldn’t you be writing in your diary about blowing the football team and not caring about people taking their kids to Warped Tour?
She went on to list all of the reasons why it was a horrible idea: the alcohol, the violence, the crowds. A lot of the points she made immediately made me think, “Wait, doesn’t this shit go on at sporting events too? People take BABIES to those!” And then it made me wonder how many people were quietly judging me and questioning my decision to take my own kid to Warped Tour, so I began to get more mad at these comments.
In all of the years I’ve been going to Warped Tour, I have encountered very little violence — though I have seen people get hurt in the pit. But…am I going to let my seven-year-old son into a fucking mosh pit? I mean, I’m kind of dumb, but really? For the most part, we stood near the side of the stage, on the periphery of the crowd. Other times, we were sitting under the amphitheater or on the hillside.
And maybe there might be a lot of drinking happening in the parking lot, but inside the venue, I see very little of it. First of all, it’s a primarily young crowd. Second, who can afford to get drunk at concert venues like that? Jesus!
Not impressed with Architects (UK), even though I was. :(
Yeah, it gets crowded—around the stages. It’s not like the entire venue is one concentrated mass of writhing bodies. However, I have seen pictures and videos from other venues and it looks way different than ours here in Pittsburgh. At First Niagara Pavilion, there are plenty of places to go if you need to get away from the crowds.
In one of her many scathing comments, this girl said she would call Child Services next time she sees someone at Warped Tour with a young kid, and that she wasn’t even allowed to attend until she was 16. So I think the real issue she has here is that her parents suck and she was probably too busy listening to Kidz Bop when she was Chooch’s age to even know that Warped Tour existed. But Chooch has grown up to this music! He talks about Craig Owens, Vic Fuentes, Kellin Quinn and Jonny Craig like they’re family members. And now he’s obsessed with Oli Sykes after seeing Bring Me the Horizon. It’s things like this that make my heart swell as a mom.
But the Instagram dissenters are right about one thing: Warped Tour is not a kid-centric event. Yes, there is swearing (oh noes) and other inappropriate things (like a tent handing out Trojan condoms), but that comes with the territory. Your kid can walk down a grocery store aisle and see condoms, or step outside and hear the neighbors swearing at each other. Or go to a family reunion and see people acting like drunk assholes! At the end of the day, Warped Tour is about the music, and Chooch walked away with new favorite bands and a greater sense of understanding for ones he already knew about. I think it all depends on the kid. I certainly wouldn’t take Amy Sue in her Laura Ashley dress.
Henry and I had discussed taking Chooch with us in years past, but ultimately decided that he was too young. (Yes, we used this thing called “discretion”! Imagine that!) This year, Chooch expressed interest in going and we felt he could handle it, and if he couldn’t, it was agreed that Henry would just leave with him and they would come back and get me when it was over. I’m not going to force my kid to stay somewhere like that, all day and all night, if he hates it. (I only do that to Henry.) And it’s not like I’m some fucking minivan-driving soccer mom who just woke up one day and thought, “I’m gonna take my small child to that Warped Tour thing. Maybe Maroon 5 will be there.” I GO EVERY YEAR. I know what to expect. I have occasionally seen other people bring little kids and it always makes me miss Chooch. It’s a long day to be without him!
We’re not bad parents, and we’re not idiots. I would never do anything to put Chooch in danger, and if HENRY is on board with it, you know it will probably be OK. I mean, it’s Henry, you guys. Do you realize how many times I would have electrocuted or poisoned myself in the past had it not been for him intervening? I trust Henry. (Mostly.)
And guess what guys? Everything was fine! Chooch had FUN and is already talking about next year. Everyone there, from Chiodos fans to bands to Warped staff, were so nice to him. And do you know was the worst thing that almost happened? Chooch almost walked into someone who was hula hooping at one of the merch tents, but some bro stepped up and said, “Whoa little dude, I don’t want you to get hurt!” and steered Chooch in a different direction.
A hula hoop, you guys.
So if some dumb teenager wants to call Child Services next year when they see my kid having a fucking blast at Warped Tour, well, good luck.