The Best Way to See a Concert with a Child

October 16, 2012

I may or may not have mentioned here that earlier this summer I took my niece, her friend and Harry to a One Direction concert. (Clearly, I think it’s important to take children to see quality live music in their formative years. Harry’s first concert was The Wiggles.) And I should know better…says me, the person whose parents had the foresight to take me to see Elvis for my first concert when I was one. One Direction on the other hand, well, you know, what it lacked in long-view cultural relevancy, it made up for in its sheer volume of tweens screaming, resulting in its sheer volume. It was a whole scene. But really nothing like the scene at ACL Fest this weekend.

The first time I ever went to this festival, it was 2003 and about, I don’t know, 5,000 people were there. Now, according to their Wikipedia page, there are 70,000 people a day in attendance, which when you round that up to the nearest ten, feels more like two million.

In ACL’s first years, there were kids and families everywhere. Very Austin. Very laid back. Today, kids under 10 still get in free but the concert orchestrators are not super worried about this because the amount of people who would bring their kids to this has dramatically decreased as the numbers of students from the University of MichiganSouthDakotaOregon have dramatically increased.

I did discover one excellent and noteworthy thing at this year’s local music festival (besides 10 new bands you should all be listening to now), and that thing is something called the kids area. For children (and the parents who love them) only.

It is like a mirage nirvana mecca. Complete with sand.

It even has popsicles.

And fans. But not the kind that trample you.

And lots of room to play frisbee. Or to just sit and not play frisbee.

But here’s the thing. The kids area is just a few feet away from the Honda stage. So you’re right there, hearing and seeing everything, but in the calm.

Instead of out there in the not calm. (Photo credit: ACL Fest Website.)

It was crazy this year, y’all.

But I really can’t complain. Because from our Children Only (and parents accompanied by children) Area, things we’re pretty swell. The day was relatively pleasant. The music was great. The popsicles were abundant.

The company wasn’t bad either.

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  • Reply Amanda October 17, 2012 at 3:27 am

    Now I just need to find a kid to take with me next year!

  • Reply Sheri October 18, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    Did you hear they are breaking ACL up into two weekends next year? We went last year and it was pretty overwhelming. Hoping that next year the division makes the crowd a bit thinner and that they keep it on OU/TX weekend. 🙂

    PS – I’m music festival addicted. I want to go to ALL THE FESTIVALS.

  • Reply Sara October 21, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    We were there this year (our 4th time, but most recently in 2009) and it was BANANAS. We have always romanticized taking our 2 music-loving kids to ACL, but this year totally decided that was never going to happen. That kid area, though, looks so awesome, that maybe it would work for one day! Did you see Caveman Saturday morning? They were amazing!

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