What do I need to watch out when chaperoning a friend's daughter at a concert?
August 11, 2010 9:09 AM   Subscribe

What do I need to watch out when chaperoning a friend's daughter at a concert?

I have been designated the chaperone for a friend's teenage daughter for an event. She'd like to attend what I think to be a fairly rowdy concert, her first concert. I probably got the nod because I go to a lot of concerts, I'm big (mother and daughter are rather small), and I am slightly protective of friends and their progeny. Her mother isn't too worried, but I am, since I'm responsible for her daughter during this.

I've taken people to their first concerts before, but not newly-minted teenage women who haven't had a whole lot of outings in general. While, as a man, I have dealt with various obnoxious women at concerts, the catcalling thread got me to thinking, "Obviously, doctor, you've never been a thirteen year old girl," and that there's a segment of the concert experience about which I know nothing: behavior towards young women.

Here's what I already have covered: We are not doing the general admission crush. I've already got high-quality ear protection in the works for her. She'll have my number added to her cell phone, in the event that we do get separated (which I do not want to happen) and a wad of cash tucked away somewhere in case it is required. Comfy shoes for her. She'll be prepped on the likely songs. We'll rehearse where the car is and she will have a spare door key to it. Small purse with nothing irreplacable in it (her, not me). Bottled water if I can sneak it in. She'll know that I am comfortable leaving whenever.

I want her to have a safe, fun time. Aside from moderating my buzzkill over-protective vibe, what else do I need to watch out for on her behalf?
posted by adipocere to Human Relations (49 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The big two: drugs/alcohol and aggressive people. Everything else seems to be on your list.
posted by bearwife at 9:11 AM on August 11, 2010

Can you tell us who the artist is? That would help us determine how rowdy things might get.

Is she going to see the Jonas Brothers or Rancid?
posted by elder18 at 9:12 AM on August 11, 2010

Best answer: Agree on a place inside the venue to meet up if you get separated in case the noise of the concert interferes with cell phone usage.
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 9:15 AM on August 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: And text messages instead of cell phone calls.
posted by teragram at 9:16 AM on August 11, 2010 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Aw, you're an awesome uncle-esque figure! You have many more bases covered than I would've thought of. Perhaps a few more:

- A location to meet if you get separated inside the venue.
- A pep talk on how to deal with potential drunken, rowdy boys.
- If she'll be anywhere near people who're dancing, standard defensive crowd posture (arms up and against body, fists on top of collarbones, feet askance, knees bent, butt slightly out - prevents a lass from getting knocked over and trampled).
posted by julthumbscrew at 9:16 AM on August 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: It'll either be Stone Temple Pilots (which, ugh, last album), Clutch, or Rob Zombie/Alice Cooper.

Aggression is something I've had to deal with before, more than I have cared for, but I do not know what the, hrm, the shape of these things looks like from someone's perspective than my own. People being aggressive towards a big guy may be very different from people being aggressive towards young women.

What's going on at concerts that young women would find scary/threatening/annoying that I wouldn't have come across, given who I am?
posted by adipocere at 9:17 AM on August 11, 2010

Sounds like you have it covered.

When I went to my first concerts, nothing really happened. My friends and I had a good time.

Like someone mentioned, it would depend on who is performing, too.

If it's a big stadium type of concert - then I'm sure everything will be fine.
You'll be right there.
posted by KogeLiz at 9:20 AM on August 11, 2010

Best answer: Oooh! Alice Cooper. I went to an Alice Cooper concert with my mom when I was about fourteen and it was fantastic. Great show, slightly older crowd. Push for that one!

And have a meet-up place if you get separated that's not a car in the parking lot--a central location at the venue, perhaps. It's scary to walk out to a car alone at night through a parking lot where there are, like, metal dudes hanging around when you're a thirteen-year-old girl.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:21 AM on August 11, 2010

Best answer: If she is going to crowd surf successfully, you probably should be in the GA area. Still, I guess it's worth a shot up in the seats.

But seriously, if you are around someone who is dancing/rowdy/aggressive/expressive and it bothers you: DONT STAND YOUR GROUND. RETREAT. Everyone will be much happier. It's not the time to stand for the principle that they are invading "your space". Move aside, laugh, and continue to have a good time. I see so many people up get affronted with their arms crossed and steam in anger at someone dancing too much too close.
posted by yeti at 9:23 AM on August 11, 2010 [2 favorites]

I've been to a few concerts in my day, and while people can get pretty aggressive (especially in mosh pits, etc), I think it's pretty unlikely anyone would intentionally hit your friend's daughter.

That being said, when people are flying around, things happen, so you're wise to avoid that.

I think you've taken pretty good steps already. Just let her know how to respond if some creeper leers at her or something, and she should be good to go.

One thing you might reconsider is the wad of cash in case she pulls it out and some sees her with it.
posted by elder18 at 9:24 AM on August 11, 2010

Best answer: Oh, and have her put a safety pin on her purse zipper, pinning it to the fabric of the purse, to stop pick-pockets. That's a trick I learned from my sister, who, at her first concert (the Lemonheads and Hole), got separated from her friends, had an asthma attack in the middle of the mosh pit, and then had some guy unzip her backpack and steal all her money.

(At least she got to see Courtney Love backstage when a bouncer found her wheezing in the corner and got her out of there.)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:26 AM on August 11, 2010 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I wasn't a thirteen year old girl but I have nieces and nephews-in-law and have been the cool uncle...well I've tried...I've been the cool uncle's boyfriend.

Hover...but like a friend. You've given us no indication that this may be the case, but the worst thing that could happen is that she wouldn't want to be seen near you -- so "accidental" separation would happen. (This might even be a true accident but something that happens because she's trying to keep a "mature" distance.) So while you're taking all the precautions now, try to be as casual about it as possible day of. Treat her like an equal, and this shouldn't be a problem.

If you're close, any sort of unruly physical behavior will be easy to step between. But it's most important because your very presence will probably keep her from getting too much unwanted attention. I have many female friends who I'd never see in the city if not for concerts. It's not that I'm their chaperone, but even having gay old me around is often enough to make guys think twice before acting on their worst impulses. (I absolutely hate that it's necessary but am glad to provide the service/have the company.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:31 AM on August 11, 2010

Best answer: I've been to lots of Zombie concerts. IME Zombie concerts are not too wild if you are not in the big crush up near the stage. I'm not 13, but I'm a short girl and just having a large guy who can stand behind me to keep the crowd from failing to notice me is always a big relief at shows.

If you're concerned about guys hassling her, a good thing you can do is make and hold eye contact with guys who come over to chat her up or give her a hard time. It's a pretty strong "hey, back off, not appropriate" signal: an adult male watching you while you're trying to chat up a preteen. It also gives her a little room to respond appropriately first. But if she looks like a little girl, as opposed to looking like a high schooler/young college student, my experience is most guys at concerts will leave her alone.

Having a small flashlight in your pocket that you can shine at the concert security to get their attention, should you require their assistance, will also be helpful. I've got one attached to a key ring and never have trouble taking it in places.
posted by crush-onastick at 9:32 AM on August 11, 2010

Best answer: I'd break up the cash into smaller bundles in two or three different location on the body... really though if you are in the reserved seat section I honestly think there is a pretty minimal chance of anything too serious happening.
posted by edgeways at 9:32 AM on August 11, 2010

Response by poster: Yes, my parents took me to an Alice Cooper concert when I was three. (Great parenting skills there). So, we'll be getting actual seats rather than doing the general admission floor deal. No pit for her first show. No way. After she's had some practice I'd be game.

Oh, and the cash is to be tucked away, not in a purse, for emergencies only. She'll have separate money to buy a T-shirt, whatever, in her purse.

I've never had to think about it, but, pants or dress? What's more comfortable/practical?

And, it's probably overkill, but I'll teach her how to break someone's grip on her arm, should it come to that. Getting out of amateur grabbiness was one of the first things they taught me in self-defense, it might be useful here.

I'm not terribly worried on a practical level, but I figure if I equip her with enough knowledge and whatnot that she feels like she can handle situations that might come up, she'll be able to relax and enjoy herself. I'm probably projecting like a 70mm on that one, but that's always worked for me, socially.
posted by adipocere at 9:38 AM on August 11, 2010

Best answer: What's going on at concerts that young women would find scary/threatening/annoying that I wouldn't have come across, given who I am?

I'm a fairly small woman, and the worst thing that's happened to me at concerts is stray elbows. And I guess once some friends and I happened to be standing right where the mosh pit started at a punk show -- we got pushed around a bit and a female friend lost a shoe. Rowdy guys can be intimidating, but they're really really unlikely to actually go after her specifically if you're there (plus they're probably going to want to be up in the general admission crush anyway).

Oh, if there are different levels of tickets, I've occasionally had complete strangers try to convince me that I should exchange my (better) wristband for theirs (worse) with a promise that they'll come back out and switch back after five minutes or something. So make sure she doesn't fall for that if it's applicable to your situation.
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 9:44 AM on August 11, 2010

Best answer: Don't forget to warn her about stuff she may see/hear/smell when she's in the restroom, since that's the one place you can't go with her (assuming this is an indoor event, not outdoor with port-a-johns). Assuming there are similarities between male and female restrooms at large concerts, etc.
posted by Ufez Jones at 9:46 AM on August 11, 2010

Best answer: Pants. Or shorts if you suspect it'll be hot. Dresses are almost always a bad idea.
other than that, what I was going to say has been said.
Good call on seats, because I panicked the first time I was in a pit situation. Turns out I don't like being bounced around like strangers the way I thought I might.

And, Clutch!!! yay!!
posted by dpx.mfx at 9:46 AM on August 11, 2010

All this preparation, she's liable to be disappointed when nothing extraordinary happens...
posted by aimedwander at 9:46 AM on August 11, 2010

Best answer: Sounds like you have everything covered.

My ex husband and I took my then 13 year old cousin and her friend to Lollapalooza back in 1992 or 1993. Her mother got the tix, but was not able to take them so she asked if we could do it as a favor. Concert was on Randalls Island in NYC in 100 degree heat and no shade. No cell phones back in that time, so we kept a slight distance from them, but our eyes on them at all times (sometimes tag-teaming so we could people watch). I've never felt so old in my life (I was 30 at the time). They wanted to get down in front to the mosh pit, and we let them, staying within 5 feet at all times. They were in the pit for about 10 seconds and back with us on the concrete bleachers in no time. It was a bit scary for them to be so close to such energy.

The main thing is that almost 20 years later, my cousin is a grown, married lady and to this day, still talks about how cool it was that we brought her to the show and let her experience it. She genuinely appreciated the gesture. Sounds like your niece will have great memories of this time. Have fun!
posted by sundrop at 9:46 AM on August 11, 2010

Best answer: I've never had to think about it, but, pants or dress? What's more comfortable/practical?

Shorts, if it's hot, or probably jeans. However, if she wants to wear a dress or a skirt (and her mom is okay with it) and you tell her not to, you might come across as a big meanie. Speaking as a former teenage girl, getting dressed up (whatever that means, whether it's an awesome metalish outfit or gothed out or spiking my mohawk or whatever) is part of the whole point of going to a show. Someone dictating my outfit would have been a sure way to make me whine like baby at 13.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:50 AM on August 11, 2010 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Even if you're standing outside of the mosh pit / crush at the front, be aware that some people might try (and fail) to crowd-surf. I learned this the hard way when I was a teenager at Warped Tour - multiple swift drop-kicks to the head from kids trying to crowd-surf and no one holding them up. Not pleasant.
posted by naju at 9:51 AM on August 11, 2010

Best answer: Zombie shows have trash horror / soft core videos running. Lots of boobs and faux dominatrix stuff. So I personally would talk to her mom first and not only ask if her mom has a party line on those kinds of issues, but get an idea of how uncomfortable it's going to make her daughter. You'll have a better idea of how to respond if she comments on them after the show then. When I was 13, I certainly had a notion of that kind of thing, but it would have been v. awkward for me to see it with an adult around.

I almost always wear skirts to shows, because they are not as hot as pants. But I never never never wear open-toed shoes. The floors are gross and people step on your feet.
posted by crush-onastick at 9:53 AM on August 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I just saw Alice Cooper last summer. It seemed like the majority of the crowd were eligible for AARP membership (nevertheless, there were still gray-haired and paunchy men wearing Alice eye make-up) and while they did stand up and dance in place during the show, it was not rowdy or pushy-shovey. I would definitely recommend making sure that your companion uses the restroom before you get to the venue (either at home or at McDonald's along the way, wherever); if she has to go during the show or even intermission, the line to the ladies room will be very looooong and take forever.
posted by Oriole Adams at 9:54 AM on August 11, 2010

Best answer: I took my then 14 year old son to Iron Maiden a couple of years ago and we took exactly none of these precautions. Careful is good, but it sounds like you'll be sitting in reserved seats of a fairly pricey show. This is not a punk gig at a dive bar where they are serving $1 PBR drafts. The only thing I would add is for you to relax. If you are all stressed out and worrying over her you will ruin the experience for her. If you scare her off rock music and she regresses to Justin Bieber you'll hate yourself forever :)
posted by COD at 9:57 AM on August 11, 2010 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Speaking as a former teenage girl, getting dressed up (whatever that means, whether it's an awesome metalish outfit or gothed out or spiking my mohawk or whatever) is part of the whole point of going to a show.

This. I took my then 14 year old niece to a Daft Punk concert in Halloween, and she told me she was thinking of going in disguise (as a mummy or something like that). I was an idiot and told her I didn't think people would do that. Of course, I was mistaken. I felt so bad for her!

I always wear skirts and boots to concerts. Warn her people might step on her toes so she brings tough boots or sneakers.

We've taken my niece to many concerts since she was 13, and the worst thing that happened to us was that something tossed a cup filled with a liquid that had been beer at one point. Ew. And somebody near us was smoking pot. But we laughed it all off, it's no big deal and it's part of the experience. She looks older and is very pretty, but I think my boyfriend's presence is enough to scare any guys off.

I think you've gotten excellent advice and you'll have a lot of fun!
posted by clearlydemon at 10:11 AM on August 11, 2010

Best answer: really though if you are in the reserved seat section I honestly think there is a pretty minimal chance of anything too serious happening

Yeah, I've never been a 13 year-old girl but I've gone to plenty of shows with reserved seating and it's never more rowdy/dangerous than going to a baseball game (significantly more pot smoking though). For future shows you might want to mention that hanging out at the back or sides of the crowd is usually safer, especially if the kind of band where a pit might break out spontaneously.
posted by burnmp3s at 10:13 AM on August 11, 2010

Best answer: What's going on at concerts that young women would find scary/threatening/annoying that I wouldn't have come across, given who I am?

Sorry to be late returning to this thread, on which you've gotten some great answers. Re this question, I'd say the biggest problem I've seen with young women of this age is that they lack a good sense of what really is threatening or dangerous. That doesn't mean they need a big lecture on this stuff, it just means that it is wise to keep an eye out for people offering them alcohol or drugs, moving in sexually, or getting in their space physically. I'm not saying this will happen, just that those are the things for which I'd keep a watch. If you see any of that, I'd either steer your charge away or notify security or both.

Unfortunately I've had a lot of contact with young women who got drunk/high in a risky situation, then were victimized. Given that experience, I think of them as a sort of half grown canine . . . still puppy friendly, and looking almost mature to others of their species, but actually rather clueless.

Also, let her wear what she likes. For you, good advice already on what will likely be most comfortable and practical.
posted by bearwife at 10:14 AM on August 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I have not seen anyone else mention this, so: Don't partake of any substances being passed around the crowd, down the line you are in, etc. Nada.
posted by effluvia at 10:17 AM on August 11, 2010

Sounds like you've got it covered. Make sure the girls stick together, and nothing bad will happen. I've been at shows where things got "out of control" (GWAR, oh god, oh god) and nothing "actually" bad ever seems to happen. Just a lot of stray elbows. Even if things get a bit rowdy, nobody's going to hassle a 13 year old girl.
posted by schmod at 10:20 AM on August 11, 2010

Best answer: I unthinkingly wore sandals to a concert once...bad news, at least in GA (it was a rowdy pit). You'll probably be fine in reserved seating; otherwise, I'd suggest closed toe shoes only.

side note: if you do take her to an Alice Cooper concert, check out wfmu's account of Cary Grant watching a Cooper concert because his daughter was a fan:

[asking Grant about the concert:] 'You really hated it, didn't you?' 'It's...' he said, struggling for words, 'you know what it's like? Remember I told you about the time I took LSD in my doctor's office and shat all over his rug and floor?' 'Yes,' I said. 'Well now I know how that poor doctor felt."
posted by neda at 10:21 AM on August 11, 2010 [2 favorites]

At any concert she'd be fine so long as she's not right at the front. I'd say relax and just let her have her good time. You don't want to be too restrictive and ruin her first concert experience. Be cool and sensible. And ditch the ear protection...it's a concert!!!
posted by fso at 10:23 AM on August 11, 2010

Best answer: Nonono - keep the ear protection. It's a concert, but if it's her first one, it may be too loud for her. At least let her decide if she wants to wear it or not.

The rowdier the concert, the sloppier the people in my experience, so while she may really want to dress up, it also might be a good idea to suggest that she wear clothes that she doesn't mind getting dirty or stained. And closed toe shoes with a decent sole! I find that Converse or Docs are most comfortable for me. Tiny little sandals are not the best for this type of event.

Oh, and *definitely* have her buy a t-shirt! That's part of the fun!
posted by spinifex23 at 10:35 AM on August 11, 2010

Best answer: Oh, and a couple more notes - if she wears glasses, bring along a hard glasses case. She can put them in there for the duration of the show if she finds that she needs to.

And, if she takes any sort of prescription medication that she needs to keep on her (like an asthma inhaler or Epi-pen or some sort of pill), have the prescription label printed on the container. It's amazing how dumb and/or strict some bouncers and security are when it comes to this sort of thing, and I've had to convince a few that an asthma inhaler without the prescription label is just that - and not some magical new delivery system for meth. If she takes pills, only carry a couple in a prescription container, and leave the rest at home. So, if it gets lost, she's only lost a dose or two.

(I don't know if these are concerns for her, but they are for me, and I've learned these lessons the hard way.)
posted by spinifex23 at 10:43 AM on August 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Be prepared that t-shirts may not be available in her size. I've been to a lot of shows where they only have shirts left in sizes from men's large on up.
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 10:50 AM on August 11, 2010

Best answer: I chaperoned two 14-year-olds to a Hot Hot Heat concert a couple of years ago. Smaller venue than you're talking about, though. I told all my entertaining concert stories while we were eating dinner, including the time I got my nose broken in a Springheeled Jack pit, with an ear towards lightly cautioning them about how things can go. We also talked about how you never take an open container from anyone but the bartender, and once you're holding a cup, you never put it down.

The single most important thing I did was approach guys who were trying to chat them up and say "Hey, dude? They're with me." I didn't even have to say how old they were; the presence of a chaperone made it pretty clear. Nobody was a giant asshole, fortunately. If they had been, my plan was to say "Dude, look, they're 14. Do I need to call security?" So in my experience, all you really need to do is have enough Presence near enough to the young lady so that anyone looking at her realizes you're there.
posted by KathrynT at 11:08 AM on August 11, 2010

Best answer: These are the ground rules I lay out in the car on the way to the show with teenagers:

1) "Never accept a drink from anyone, male or female, no matter how friendly, that you don't know, and by dont know I mean you have to have known them before you got here, know their parents, know where they live. Online 'know' doesn't count tonight."
2) "If you put your drink down and turn away, even for a second, let it go, get another drink yourself."
3) "I know you are going to go into the bathroom and change/put on makeup. I don't care and won't tell your folks, but please don't sneak off to do it. You'll take forever, I'll panic and start sending women in after you."
4) "I need to be able to see you at all times. I will ignore you and promise not to wave or act stupid, but the minute I can't see you I will suddenly be at your side for the rest of the night and you will be the uncoolest person there."
5) "If anyone makes you feel uncomfortable, touches you, gets too close - jump up and down, yell, HEY ASSHOLE. Everyone will be on your side, no one likes a pervert in a concert crowd. Don't be afraid."

Finally, I would suggest that she needs to be your niece and you need to be her uncle and you have to have that straight between you, lest some busybody get the wrong idea & interfere in the wrong way. Dudes who think "hey, she's WITH an older dude, fair game". That kind of thing.
posted by micawber at 11:25 AM on August 11, 2010 [5 favorites]

Best answer: I've been to a lot of shows where they only have shirts left in sizes from men's large on up.

My sister was a major concert t-shirt vendor, and that's all they sold: Large. Black. Cotton. Over-sized, full-color printing (up onto the sleeves.) That's a $50 t-shirt and they sell faster than you can take the money. Girls wear them with a belt, like a dress.

Pro tip for any situation where a crowd is bearing in and overwhelming: elbows bent and sticking out as seen from behind, fists tight to chest. Vibrate your elbows with the fastest thrusting move you can muster, focused on a sharp poking to anyone immediately in back of you. Walk backwards out of the crowd, which will magically disperse behind you.
posted by StickyCarpet at 11:31 AM on August 11, 2010

Best answer: I chaperoned two 14 year olds to a Furthur concert. I have several additional points. I had not prepped these two in anyway other than I am there and to come to me if there are any issues. I was with them, next to them, in the seating. It did come up that the person next to one of my charges, innocently and stoner absentmindedly instinctively tried to pass the joint to one of mine. He ignored it, but asked me later what he should have done. I told him a polite but firm "No thanks" would suffice.

In addition to water and ear plugs, I would bring extra bottle caps/tops. If they take away your water and you are forced to buy inside, they often take off the top I think to prevent you from throwing a full bottle. Whatevs. But, if you bring your own and put them back on after you walk away, it keeps the water secure and prevents spillage.

Only after arriving there and surveying the scene did I decide to allow them to go to the concession stand on their own. When they returned I did get a "there are a lot of fucked up people out there", but I think the low key nature of a Dead crowd was good practice for them.

At times, I also found that these two were not trying to get away from me because it was uncool or something. Quite the contrary. They were a little overwhelmed and scared and liked having my presence there. Be prepared for that.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 11:50 AM on August 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: For a kid anything is better than going to a concert with a parent, so there's not a lot of wrong you do. My mom took me to see Motley Crue when I was 12 and she did everything she could to make the experience suck. It didn't help that the dude sitting next to us smoked angel dust through the hole show and periodically foamed at the mouth. But after the showed I got reamed in the car the whole way home about what a bunch of degenerates and how Vince Neil uses such filthy language. Then when we got home she went through the whole thing again in front of my dad, who looked mildly amused. Dad went with me to Judas Priest and then Twisted Sister and we had a much better time, he got a huge kick out of it. So, seriously, as long as you're not being Raging Lame Mom totally harshing her situation it won't even matter, she's going to completely forget you're there.
posted by The Straightener at 12:26 PM on August 11, 2010

My friends mom and dad took her, another girl, myself (not a girl) and another dude to a punk show that had a decently aggressive pit when we were 13/14/14/14 respectively. Both girls were 5'0"-ish at the time.

The parents went up to the 21+ balcony, we stayed on the floor and fought to get as near to the front as possible.

There weren't any troubles, we all got involved in the moshing without really knowing what to expect and there were a couple hairy moments where the energy of the crowd overwhelmed me because I had never been in such a passionate human gyre but the crowd was killer cool and passionate and lighthearted and no one anywhere got hurt. If people fell down every adjacent person grabbed them and got them back up on their feet.

I got a concussion because I wasn't looking and jumped right into the underside of a huge dudes chin. We were both like "ow" but it was cool no malice no foul, I've gotten worse concussions while not even approaching the same levels of fun.

No one was menaced, there were no hassles, we all got separated at different points and reconvened at different points and eventually met her parents just outside the entrance to the venue (a place we'd planned before hand). One girl lost a sweatshirt, she got too hot and threw it to the side never to be seen again.

Every person is different at 13, and even though I was a socially phobic paranoid recluse at that age the experience of giving myself up in the crowd and just being with everyone (once I realized it was safe) is one of the great moments of transcendence in my life.

I hear other cities are different, but in my city in the ten years since that concert I've been in a lot of pits a lot of places at aggressive insane concerts and never seen anyone get hurt and have always been stood back up (and have always stood people up) when they fall down. Never been robbed (and I'm a lightly built guy with long girly hair) or had anyone do anything untoward to me or any of my companions.

tldr: Preparation is good, caution in public events is useful, but I don't think you need to stress too hard on it and I don't think you need to take too many precautions. The only general advice I'd say is: don't bring anything you aren't cool losing with the exceptions being phone and cash.
posted by Matt Oneiros at 2:11 PM on August 11, 2010

Best answer: I just escorted three 14-year-old girls to a concert this past Saturday. Besides all the other great advice here, make sure she knows who is with security or "the band" and who is likely not. The kids I was with would have no qualms about going anywhere with anyone who said "I'm with the band" or "I work here, I'll get you backstage!", because, you know, they're kids and relatively sheltered and bad at sussing out these things.

Also, the point about texting being the best way to communicate at a loud show is right on. Remind her to turn the vibrate mode on on her phone.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 2:18 PM on August 11, 2010

Just a data point: For those that are saying older guys won't bother a 13 year old, it really depends on the 13 year old. When I was 13, I certainly didn't appear my age- I looked 17 or 18. I went to a couple of shows with my dad, and he had no problem letting me go off and grabbing a soda or going to the merch stand alone.

I did have to deal with older men checking me out and even asking to buy me a drink, and that was really awkward and hard to deal with.

So, if she looks her age this might not be a problem- if she looks older, might wanna keep that in mind.
posted by rachaelfaith at 2:57 PM on August 11, 2010

Best answer: When I went to my first concert I went with my dad. I was young. I grabbed a 'balloon' that was floating around. When people around me started smirking, I asked my Dad what was going on. It was on that night I learned what a condom was. So, be prepared.
posted by Lutoslawski at 3:42 PM on August 11, 2010

My uncle brought me to a Foo Fighters show in 1997 in Providence, when I was 13. He actually stayed in the back the entire time and I went up to basically the second row. Oh man, that was so fun! I can't believe they let me have that much freedom, especially now that I'm a parent. Actually, most concerts from when I was 13-17 I went with friends or was otherwise unchaperoned. Except for Ozzfest. Brought my folk-loving, civil-war re-enacter mom to Ozzfest. She was such a good sport!

I can understand that times have changed a bit, and I wouldn't let a 13 year old do that today if I was in charge, but I was pretty happy to have the freedom and I used it responsibly. I did throw my bra at Dave Grohl, though. Oh, sweet god, what a dork I was.
posted by kpht at 3:55 PM on August 11, 2010

Best answer: Are your seats together?

I've had to deal with people trying to appropriate my space when it was better than theirs. This was at the B-52's at LA's Universal Amphitheatre in the early 90's. I sat down, stuck out my legs and they backed off. If this doesn't work, get security.

The dentist I saw in LA told me someone pulled a knife on him at a Bowie concert (this was long before metal detectors).
posted by brujita at 11:26 PM on August 11, 2010

And ditch the ear protection...it's a concert!!!

This is terrible advice. If I'd known I would lose even the little hearing I've lost from going to shows, I would have worn earplugs from the get-go. It took going deaf for 3 days after the front row at a J Mascis club show to set me straight.

I've worn plugs to every concert I've seen for the last 9 years - especially after discovering how well they filter out the distortion of bad room acoustics/overblown PA/talky-shouty people so you can actually hear the music.
posted by macdara at 2:34 AM on August 13, 2010

Best answer: Keep a photo of them on your mobile phone. People can't easily help find them (in the ladies') if they don't know what they're looking for.

Don't 100% trust any authority figure (concert worker, security guard, etc.) just because they wear a badge. If any red-flags come up, then GTFO and text message you forthwith.
posted by jayne at 9:48 AM on August 14, 2010

Response by poster: Update, for anyone reading:

We ran through our various contingency plans without too much trouble. I broke out the cash into a small wad for her sock and one for her purse, making it unlikely both would get grabbed. I had a map I put together on one sheet of the venue, the parking lot, and our car location to toss in her purse and the usual school pictures of her for me.

I think she was more overwhelmed than she expected, so she stuck pretty close. Between sets, we played Spot the Drunk and Spot the Person About to Deal with Security (there was some overlap). I had her take her earplugs out at one point so she'd have a feel for just how loud it got.

Other than having to use the Nuh-Unh Glare once on someone, I did have an anxious moment when one of the performers came out amongst the seats and was less than two feet away, as the crowd responded by scrambling over the seats towards us in a crush. I was about three seconds away from picking my charge up and shoving my way out of there. That's something to anticipate in the future.

She was amused by Alice Cooper's antics but, unsurprisingly, liked the Zombie show better. We also managed to find her a T-shirt in her size that she could wear to school without being expelled.

Overall she had a great time and wants to go to other shows, mission accomplished. Thank you, everyone.
posted by adipocere at 11:37 AM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

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