Me, Vicky, and Jake have been talking about this a lot lately just because it’s been coming up more and more. All “I”statements are from me. Jake helped write/edit this. -Lily
In our time as a band Parasol has decided against playing some amazing shows with bands we genuinely like because they have age restrictions on them. Lately, some folks have been asking me why we do this? What is the point?
I would like to counter-ask you “Do you remember what it was like to be under 18 or under 21??
I do. I remember, at ages 14,15,16,17,18,19, 20 trying desperately to see bands I was really excited about by sneaking into the bar where they were held. Fake ID’s, pleading, anything to just see bands. To just connect with the only culture I felt a twinge of affinity for at the time.
I would get kicked out of places and turned down, and yelled at in front of people by promoters.
I didn’t even drink. It wasn’t a matter of me being out of control or unaccountable for my actions. I wasn’t a liability if I had giant X’s on my hands or a wrist band that signaled not to give me booze, but that was usually not an option. My $5-$10 at the door were not good enough for these shows. I wasn’t allowed in because I wouldn’t be buying drinks at the bar.
Do you remember the thrill of finding a space that hosted DIY/ALL AGES shows?
It’s like discovering the best secret in the world.
I was there every night that I could get a ride out of the suburbs. I volunteered the door to get into shows for free. I started playing shows and learned how to book shows. The experience of having an all ages venue in my town is something I take for granted often, but am so glad I was fortunate enough to have in my life.
Realizing the importance of ‘all ages’ and the movement behind it, is something I have come to more and more as an adult.
We definitely know how hard booking shows is, especially right now. We know that not every show can’t be all ages all the time. I’ve been to great shows that had age restrictions on them. This post is in no way meant as a criticism of bookers or bands that choose to go forth with age restricted events. We deeply appreciate all of the work that everyone does to make punk happen in Boston, and recognize that a shortage of spaces that can host all-ages shows often creates huge amounts of difficulty for people who probably feel similarly to us about the importance of accessibility. This is just an explanation of our own reasons for not doing so. Additionally, we try to act proactively to find new spaces so that all ages shows can continue happening all the time.
In making the decision to play only all ages shows we think not of the friends and shows we are missing out on, but of those who won’t be able to have those experiences for years simply because of how old they aren’t.
We also recognize that not every all ages experience has been great for everyone. Punk/DIY has a lot of work to do still in becoming a more accessible place in a huge ways. A lot of young kids are not going to get their parents’ permission to go to a shitty basement in Allston. We also realize that a subtle culture of unchecked racism, homophobia, sexism and other forms of oppression that plague our community make the DIY scene in general highly inaccessible and unattractive to many, many people. There is much work to be done.