We Asked Bands Why All-Ages Venues Were Important To Them.

This is What They Said:

All ages venues are important to me because they played a huge part of my younger years. All of us are from Bismarck, ND, far from any prominent population center, meaning that bigger name acts never really played in our area. The lack of bigger name groups meant that us young punks (Being 13 or 14 at the time) instead idolized the local legends, the groups that we saw perform and wanted to emulate. We appreciated those musicians and all that they gave to us musically, but also the fact that afterwards, we could hang out with them, talk to them, and truly realize that the scene was something that was in the hands of all of us, and if we wanted to contribute to it, the best way to do that was to form your own band and be a hero to a bunch of young hoodlums. –Nora and the Janitors (ND)


We are a DIY punk band that believes in all ages show over bar shows. We like playing shows that are about the bands and meeting new friends. We believe that all ages hate-free shows and venues that are welcoming to all walks of life are the life blood of DIY punk.–Communist Kayte

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Without all ages venues, we wouldn’t have any new bands. More personally, without all ages venues, I wouldn’t be able to have started a band at age 15 and continued on with it for years – and I’m not even of drinking age yet! I came of age in the 924 Gilman Street project scene, another all ages venue and volunteer-run space in Berkeley, CA. Honestly, without it, I would have turned out a very different person. In short, all ages venues are super important to me because I believe they are 100% necessary in order for “tomorrow’s music scene” to flourish (as pretentious as that sounds…)–Sarchasm (CA)


All-ages venues are very important to me because I want all of my friends and family to be able to enjoy my band when we play. I hate when I hear that people have been trying to go to our shows but they unfortunately can’t because the venues are usually 21+. The focus of the venue should be the music, bands, and community, not alcohol sales. — Terminally Ill (CA)


All-Ages venues (should) provide a safe place for young people to make new friends, have a good time, and not feel left out. Here in San Diego we have very few all-ages spaces (and most of the ones we do have are pay-to-play) and as a result the live music scene suffers. It’s nearly impossible to attend or perform at an “underground” show without being a 21+ beer drinker. That isn’t exactly encouraging young people to experience new things, and even worse, it isn’t encouraging them to play live music.

It’s my opinion that the treatment of persons under 21 in our music scene is largely responsible for the lack of creative and interesting bands coming out of our town (there are some, just fewer than I would like there to be). Stopping young people from playing shows and going to shows is culturally stifling. –Old Man Wizard


One great thing about all ages venues is that it really is all about the music. The model for most live, independent music is that the bands are pretty much a draw for people to buy alcohol. This is fine for some forms of entertainment but it does a lot of performers a disservice if their art isn’t party music. Plus adolescence is one o the times when most people are most passionate about art, and they deserve not to be barred from it because of more or less arbitrary notions about what spaces/experiences are ‘appropriate’ for young people. –Shareef Ali


I have been booking all ages shows in Tucson since I was 15. For ten years, I’ve been involved in the DIY punk community because it’s the only place that’s ever felt comfortable. It allows kids to expand their perspective in a way that mainstream culture and music don’t offer. All ages venues are the reason music was accessible to me when I was a child, and I want to make sure that same opportunity stays around for the next round of kids. Basically, I get it. It’s thankless, hard, and necessary. –Human Behavior


All ages venues give us the chance to communicate with people from varying backgrounds. Kids who go to shows are there because they love music and they are still optimistic. Over 21 folks are there because they love music and they’re looking for something to make them feel young again. I like optimism and feeling young and that’s why I like all ages venues. –Paleons