Imagine: It’s 80 and sunny, you’re standing on a field where a profess-um well, where a football team plays their home games on Solider field. Tiesto is 30 minutes into his set when you glance to your right and see a group of pretty girls, “be cool, be cool” you think. You smile; they smile back, when your eyes land on a large metal contraption lodged in their mouths, braces. You quickly look away and think, “Wow, how old are they? Do their parents know they are here? Why did I do that? Maybe they are those weird adults who get braces in their 20’s?” You tell your friends to move, that the view is better from well, anywhere but where you are currently standing, and hope to forget your “minor” (pun intended), mishap can be put behind you and you can go on enjoying Tiesto drop “Red Lights” again.
It’s a situation all too common among festivals now a days, is the crowd getting younger or am I getting older? Well sadly the answer is both, and I am here to pledge my argument for Chicago festivals to raise the minimum age of the festivals to 18 and over. First let me field a few questions: “Wow Christian you’re an idiot wouldn’t raising the minimum age slash profits by shrinking the population that can attend the festival which would then in turn force them to lower ticket prices and take a hit on profits?” Great question, but no, profits will not take a hit. Let’s take EDC Vegas for example which is an 18 and over venue. In 2014, they estimated 134,000 people attended the concerts each night. This may be an extreme example considering EDC Vegas is known as one of the top festivals worldwide, but nonetheless the numbers don’t lie, if you build it, the people will come.
Let’s field more questions, “Hey Christian music is for everyone man, why are you going to tell people that love the artists that they cannot come enjoy themselves at the festivals simply based on their age?” Another wonderfully valid question thank you. Yes I will be the first one to tell you that music is one of the most subjective things out there and everyone is entitled to like or love whatever music they choose to like and should enjoy it live if they so choose. With that being said let’s use another form of media for an example. Take rated R movies, why are they rated R and require you to be over 17 to attend? Well they contain violent language first and foremost. Well yes then at concerts EDM songs contain swearing and violent language as well, check. Next, movies contain partial nudity and sexual content. Well yes I must admit the clothing choices at venues are very well, interesting and do contain partial nudity as well as the crowds and couples choosing to show their affection towards each other at random times throughout the shows, check. So, much like with movies you are better off renting the movie “On Demand” when you parents go out to dinner one night, much as you are better off listening to the live set or watching it, after it has already been performed.
Please, please no more questions from the audience I would like to close if you will. People always say “The best things in life are worth waiting for,” and how normally we tend to ignore what our parents say, in this sense they may be right. We don’t let people drive at 12 because they are not yet responsible enough to be behind the wheel of a car. We have the drinking age set at 21 (we can get to this topic another time) because people under that age cannot conduct themselves in a civil manner when properly lubricated with God’s delish nectar. So for the sake of sounding redundant, festivals in Chicago (North Coast, Lolla, and SAMF) should all change their minimum age requirement to 18 and above. To be fair SAMF has enacted this law already starting this summer, so I suppose we can use this trial as a benchmark to see how the environment and ticket sales react to the new law. All in all it’s beneficial to mature in life before entering such a diverse and often questionable and misunderstood environment that a festival offers, and the youth in our society often has no place in it. So Chicago for the sake of being able to rave in a “no braces zone” please raise the ages of your festivals to 18 and up, please.