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Is it inappropriate to take toddlers to music festivals?

Monday, 22 August 2016  |  Mummy and Little Me

Mummy and Little Me- is it inappropriate to take toddlers to a heavy metal music festival?

Last week saw Papa NICU packing up his bags (and his 8-year-old tent that had been in the shed since we moved 5 years ago), and leave us for the longest he ever has. 4 days! How would we cope without our Daddy Pig? Turns out quite well and the house was super tidy. He was reliving his youth and heading to a music festival with his friends who can I just say, were a lot younger than him. The music festival in question was Blood Stock. No, I hadn’t heard of it either, but I do not think I would have enjoyed it very much. They certainly wouldn’t be featuring such classics as ‘reach for the stars’, and ‘wannabe’, that’s for sure.

As he arrived and began to settle in, he told me about the bands that he saw whom I had never heard of at all. He seemed to be having fun, even when waiting in line at the horrendous festival toilets. Nice. The campsite was policed by security but there were such after dark events as bin jousting, and wrestling strangely enough. Poor Papa NICU, I don’t think he was anticipating coming back a broken man with a sunburnt face and mutters of not drinking for some time.

Music is something that features very heavily in our house hold, Greg used to be in a band and still plays/sings now and again. We still go to gigs on the odd occasion as a date night. I went to a gig when I was 4 months pregnant with Elijah and he must have enjoyed it as still to this day if I sing that bands songs he smiles. Nothing too heavy is played in our house other than a bit of rock, the occasional pop punk song on Kerrang. One thing that I am very strict on is that there will be no heavy metal bands, and Elijah will not be watching their videos. Some of their videos/ songs frankly terrify me never mind a two-year-old toddler! Which is why I was so shocked that Greg had said how many toddlers were at Blood Stock. I guess although he may not understand what they are singing about now, he will soon and that’s something I don’t want him exposed to at a young age.

I know now a days it is very fashionable to take your kids camping to festivals such as The Green Man, Bestival and Glasto who all have kid friendly facilities and activities on offer. If you go online there are even guides and top tips for taking your child to a music festival but a heavy metal festival that features bands such as Crowbar? Flayed Disciple? Most bands that played all have dark themes and satanic references in them. Is this really the best place to take your young and impressionable child? Elijah gets scared of the hoover I hate to think what he would do if he heard some of that being played live! Surely a line should be drawn? Yes, most of these kids had ear defenders on, and at the end of the day I guess it is the parents’ choice. One parent who has weighed in on this was Rebecca Wearn who said ‘taking young children to festivals is the cruel and selfish indulgence of the parents not willing to make sacrifices that their son/ daughter deserves.’

I don’t think it is that they took their child to a festival, but they willingly chose to take their child to a heavy metal festival which to me seems to be the opposite of what is appropriate for a child of that age. In these cases, should the organisers not imply some sort of age restriction? Or if we as parents choose to bring our children to it then hay, that’s our choice, consequences lay with us? With the amount of people there drinking, the music itself, the themes, the atmosphere of it I could not justify taking my child there until he was at least 16! Even then I may have some reservations! I don’t think it is the volume of noise, but more what is being said in some cases. Elijah cottons on pretty quickly and I do not want him repeating some of it! It is also a lot different live and being part of the atmosphere then just having it on at home. Papa NICU said it really bothered him that the children were being carted about and they looked terrified. Maybe it is because we have chosen to not bring our child up around that which is our choice I find it inappropriate. I have chosen to implement this until he is old enough to choose for himself. Others have clearly deemed it acceptable and are bringing up their children around this and do not have a problem with this. I just hope it doesn’t affect the child in a negative way. There are a lot of studies that say young children can be affected listening to this type of music. I have not always taken them too seriously but I do think it’s a different kettle of fish seeing it performed live- we all remember Ozzy biting the head off a bat right?!

I have tried very hard in recent months to not judge another parent on what they themselves have chosen for their child. Instead I try to weigh up both sides now, and try to understand it better before instantly branding them. I can say after thinking about it and what’s best for my son, I wouldn’t allow it. Like everything everyone will have an opinion and some may not think there is anything wrong with it at all. I guess it is all personal parenting choices, what we let our children listen to, what we let them watch we have to try and think of the impact it will have on them and if it will be a danger to them. It may not do him any harm, but I will just stick to putting on Disney’s greatest hits for now.