…or bring them with you, I’m not judging. But here are a few things to consider when making your decision about bringing the kiddos to Sonic Boom.
It isn’t a family event. It’s a festival geared to adults that allows children, and that is an important distinction. As a rule, I see free admission for children as a tacit invitation to bring them with you. Conversely, I’ve taken it that the venues that charge full admission for babes in arms are discouraging you from bringing the wee ones. Sonic Boom admitted children five and under free with their adult, which, if you follow my “logic” would mean bringing the kids. We had never been to this festival to judge the family friendliness, and reactions among my friends were mixed. We lined up childcare and headed out the first night to decide if we wanted to bring the kids the following days. FYI, we didn’t.
The crowd was kept in check very well with a visible security and police presence. But while we are on the subject of the crowd… I wouldn’t say I’ve led a very sheltered life, but I am definitely not used to seeing such explicit t-shirts, everywhere. On everybody. From the usual rejection of societal norms to one’s preferred sex acts, it was all there emblazoned across every other chest. Luckily the under 5 set haven’t developed reading skills for the most part yet, but there might be questions. Questions you don’t want to answer.
Rockers will be rockers. While I’m on my moral outrage rant, the entertainers engaging the audience often expressed their enthusiasm with bad language. I’m not opposed to expletives. I use them liberally and creatively more often than is necessary or appropriate. I just don’t want my kids using them or hearing them, so I use them when my kids aren’t around, and I expect others to do the same. It isn’t a reasonable expectation at Sonic Boom, so you better prepare the “Some words are words we don’t use” speech.
Maybe the least family friendly part of the festival, though, is the no re-entry policy. Once you leave for the day, you are not allowed to return. They enforce the policy very strictly and without exception. It isn’t a bad policy. I’m sure it cuts down on the drug and contraband alcohol use (doesn’t eliminate it though!) and I’m glad that is a priority for the organizers. For people with kids though, it stinks. The general admission area is cement, and there are only a few benches. The patches of grass and the only bathrooms with change tables are inside the beer gardens, so you wouldn’t be able to get there with your kids. The move for 2015 to Borden Park means more comfortable surroundings, so some of these issues will be alleviated.
If you want to bring your kids for only part of the day, you would need your childcare to come and pick them up while you handed them over the gate. Not an impossible obstacle, but something to consider.
On the other hand, I counted 18 kids over the weekend, and not one of them was crying or screaming. Lots of them were dancing. The parents I spoke to were all having a good time, and no one said they regretted their decision to bring the junior set. The reasons for bringing them had to do with nursing/childcare issues mainly, but my favourite reason was the desire to instill a love of live music in their kids.
So while I did feel the occasional pang of jealousy or regret watching the happy families, I did also feel a bit of jubilant self-righteous relief when I saw the tired parents with their tired faces watching the bright young things and taking their kids home before the headliner. Bottom line: you know your kids and yourself best. There are some things to take into consideration, and do the best you can with that. But I know you always do!