Why You Shouldn't Bring Kids to Music Festivals

The crowd at the Lost Lake Festival.
The crowd at the Lost Lake Festival. Melissa Fossum
“Kids are too coddled these days.”

The self-styled Ron Swansons of the world love to fret that American children are going soft. They bemoan about the baby-proofing of our country while they put in a Postmates order for some steaks. Just like every generation before them, stretching back to the first Neanderthal dad who got salty after his grandson killed a sabertooth with a spear instead of his bare hands, the olds love to kvetch about children being over-protected.

Coddling shouldn’t be a dirty word. Most of human existence is a seven-layer cake of bullshit, so let kids have the first layer be a sweet one. And one of the things that should be baked into that first layer: no music festivals.

Parents of the world, may we, the folks looking to roll on Molly and get a handy during an afternoon Blood Orange set, offer this solemn plea:

Leave. Your. Kids. At. Home.

It’s one thing to bring kids to a single show. But subjecting them to over eight hours of live music surrounded by a throng of horny, drunk, and dumb-as-hell party animals over several days is another story.

The Apache Lake Music Festival even put a notice up on their website:

“Although the festival is safe for all who attend it is not recommended to bring children."

“Plenty of people bring kids, and kids are 100 percent safe out there,” says festival organizer Brannon Kleinlein. “That warning has more to do with the camping on-site — there aren't any quiet hours. It's a festival. People are drinking and partying and playing acoustic jam sessions and stuff, so if you're looking for peace and quiet you might not get that.”

When we reported this disclaimer as part of a news announcement about the festival, one of our readers slid into our DM’s to express displeasure about the piece and posted comments on our Facebook page about how this kind of thinking is emblematic of Americans coddling their kids.

“You ever heard of Woodstock, ya know the one that kinda started it all …," our one-man Statler and Waldorf said.

We didn’t have the presence of mind to ask whether he was referring to the Woodstock with the brown acid and hippie mud orgies or the one where Fred Durst led a re-enactment of the storming of the Bastille.

Aside from bumming out the childless revelers who are looking for an excuse to act a fool for a few days, bringing kids is likely a miserable experience for parents.

Want a moment of peace for you and your kiddos? That's not happening! The festival just billed 75 hours worth of DJs wearing breakfast food helmets. It's hard for the tyke to take a nap when DJ Frenchie Toast is dropping fat bass bombs all over the place.

The truth of the matter is that festivals are over-stimulating, exhaustive, and occasionally unnerving experiences for grown-ass folks. It’s hard to imagine the wee ones enduring a weekend at Coachella or Stagecoach without coming back with a few “character-building” horror stories (i.e. plenty of material for their future therapists to unpack).

Your kids shouldn’t have to deal with the horrors of listening to a bad Father John Misty impersonator talk about his ayahuasca trip while waiting in line for a $15 food-truck taco. Please do us all a solid and leave your pride and joys at home the next time you go to a festival.
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Ashley Naftule