Jul 202013


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.


  8 Responses to “Chooch’s First Warped Tour: A Ranty Preface”

  1. Erin — you are a great Mom! Do not ever waver on that fact. There is no way you or Henry would let Chooch get hurt and if it got crazy, you’d leave. I’ve seen small children in movie theaters watching sex scenes and like you said, out of control family parties where the kids sip booze (um, hello…my house in the 80’s and my Dad was a surgeon!!). You and Henry are raising a great kid. Is he raised differently than some of his peers, sure. But why is different always bad? I spent hours with Chooch when you were in town and he is patient and sweet and polite and how many kids his age can sit through a LONG adult dinner and just observe, smile and color? That was Chooch! F people, they suck. Glad you had fun and these are the moments he will look back on when times are tough (we all have tough times and look to our past for comfort) and he will know that you and Henry subjected him to unique fun times. Keep on living life to the fullest and seriously, F the haters.

    • Thank you, Kristen! It means a lot. I’m glad that Chooch was so well-behaved when we were in town. He has his moments like any other kid, and some of my friends have had to witness that on occasion which sucks, but show me a perfect kid, please. We do the best we can!

      I felt compelled to write this in case any of my friends or anyone who follows my blog, etc doesn’t understand why I would choose to take someone so young to something like this. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me, but to hopefully maybe learn something.

      This one girl I follow who has a pretty popular blog posted a picture of her toddler on one of those child-leash/harness things and got a ton of backlash so she in turn posted on her blog about why she chooses to use that and how she’s not a bad parent, and I had to respect that. I personally have never used something like that on Chooch but god knows I considered it when he was much younger! The bottom line is that everyone has their own parenting style and as long as there isn’t abuse or malnourishment or endangerment involved, the rest of us shouldn’t concern ourselves.

      I know if my mom and I were on speaking terms, she would have had a ton of shit to say to me about this!! ;)

      • I totally tried using a harness on Delia, but she would just run to the end and then bounce back like I had her on a bungee. It was worse than having to chase her down so I gave up on it.

  2. People will talk shit about anything and it seems like the less they actually know the louder they are. I can’t imagine that child protective services would get up in arms about something like this. Unless children are being left in hot cars like dogs.
    Don’t let them make you feel judged. You both are fantastic parents and are raising a great kid. He’s going to be able to look back at his childhood and say “what a great fucking time”.

    • I don’t feel judged. I just feel bad for people who are so busy mouthing off about things that don’t affect them, that they’re totally not enjoying life. All the negative comments on that Instagram picture were completely hilarious.

      The fact that Chooch still on a post-Warped Tour high is all I need to know that I made the right choice! ;)

  3. ” I think it all depends on the kid.”

    And, better still, you had a contingency plan, if it didn’t work out.

    Ya know, I am Childfree and I can only handle kids on small doses, but even I would never say some of the crap that those people (essentially still kids themselves… oh irony!) said. His fun (and, well, yours too) is not ruining anyone else’s fun. No one has to behave any differently. It’s OKAY.

  4. People are idiots! You guys are great parents. And to hear how much Chooch loved it and he’s smiling in all the pics you took he deserved to be there. It’s been making me so happy to see you guys share something that you are so passionate about. That is what being a parent is about, showing them the world and new experiences. You are awesome!

  5. Goddammit I just typed a whole huge comment and then exited out without submitting it.

    To summarize: each kid is different and each parent has the right to make decisions that are good for their kid. I don’t think for a second it was bad to take Chooch.

    I’d have given a limb when I was a kid, to do the cool stuff you take Chooch to do.

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