hey haley,

seriously, whoever those guys were, don’t pay any attention to them at all.

first of all, they’re probably just insecure assholes who think they need to prove their age or maturity or whatever by differentiating themselves from younger people.  second, they might have seemed old to you, but i’d wager they’re just like 21 or 22 and newly defensive of their place as the small fish in the bar scene pond.  as a grown ass 29 year old, let me say i love seeing younger people at shows.  i think it’s awesome.

when i first started going to shows i was 14 and if there hadn’t been older folks at those shows who were welcoming and encouraging, i’m sure my life would have been a lot different.  these were mostly ska shows in the late 90’s/early 2000’s, mind you, but i found that rather than judging me, the older kids/adults were excited to see someone who was younger getting into underground music.  we developed friendships and after not too long we’d hang out outside of shows, they’d drive me to shows in baltimore, and eventually i was playing music with some of the same people who i’d looked up to when i first started going to shows.  that kind of acceptance, that willingness to look at me as an equal even though i was younger, was really formative and meaningful to me.

on the other end of the spectrum i’ve had plenty of meaningful friendships with people who are a lot younger than me, friendships that had their origins in them being the younger kids at shows.  for example, when i was 22 or so i lived at a house in silver spring, maryland that put on shows and there was a 12 year old girl who came to shows with her mom.  her mom would hang out and read books in my room while the show was happening in the living room.  i would have hated for her to have felt unwelcome at those shows.  we’re still friends.  she’s awesome.

i try to never play age restricted shows because i know from experience how important it is to have access to a music scene when you are a teenager. especially when, like you said, in the face of depression and anxiety, music can be one of the few things that can bring you out of that headspace.  music can be your lifeblood when you’re a kid.  it’s nonsense to think it should be restricted to people of a certain age.  so please, please keep coming to shows.  do it for yourself, and do it for all the jaded old fuckers who need to learn to be a little more open minded.

(incidentally, i’ve known punks who start acting like jaded old fuckers as early as age 18, so how about we all try to keep the stupid competitive age games in check and maybe hold on to our youthful energy rather than condemning it when we see it in others…)

let’s finish up here with a video of our buddy ian mackaye testifying in front of the dc council a few years ago when they proposed a ban on all ages music venues in dc. thank goodness that didn’t happen.

take it away, ian:

  1. jimnottodd reblogged this from iloveyouthisisarobbery
  2. filthcity reblogged this from iloveyouthisisarobbery and added:
    This makes me sad. I was refreshed to see a younger crowd at that show. I felt this way too when I was 14. Luckily...
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  9. singpaintandread reblogged this from iloveyouthisisarobbery and added:
    I wish I could show all of this to my embarrassed 14 year old self when I constantly overheard similar comments at 90%...
  10. mushishimoshi reblogged this from kweebs and added:
    It’s an all age venue for a reason baby girl. Keep going to shows!!!
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