Friday, 4 November 2011

Attending Concerts With Your Baby

Concert Survival Tips for Pregnant Mothers
 Tips and strategies on how to enjoy your festival experience while expecting.
When I was pregnant I saw some bands play at various pubs and clubs, and also went to a big festival called Soundwave. It didn't really occur to me that some might consider my actions foolish, but perhaps that is because I'm not an inexperienced concert goer. I've been to hundreds of gigs, and countless festivals. I know how they go: monitors and speaker stacks, mosh pits and dancing, crowd movements and concession stands, queues and sunburn, drunken rednecks and vomiting teenagers, people pilling off their heads and security personnel chasing trespassers across the fields.

In the picture below I was just about to see Gang Of Four (speaking of, has anyone else heard the YeahYeahYeahs remix of I Love A Man In Uniform? My husband is in the Air Force, and I often sing him this song...) and was super pumped. Much dancing ensued. I had a sensational time, even if I was pretty tired the following day. I learnt a few things that I will share with you, happy reader, below:

Concert Survival Tips for Expectant Parents
  1. Stay back from the stage a bit. As you can see in the above picture I have a lot of room around me. I can boogie, and no one else is gunna bump your belly. 
  2. Sunscreen is your friend. Apply liberally, regularly. 
  3. Take a sarong large enough to use as a sun shade or picnic blanket. Its light enough to not be a bother, but if it gets cool on sundown you can also wrap yourself in it to keep warm, and if it rains you can towel off with it too.
  4. Pack plenty of healthy snacks and a huge bottle of water. 
  5. Comfortable and supportive shoes are a non negotiable.
  6. Make sure you have a charged mobile phone in case of emergency.
  7. Disposable earplugs help keep headaches and earaches at bay.
  8. Get there early enough to score a close park. 
  9. Read the event flyer, and familiarise yourself with the First Aid tent, the shaded seating, the bathrooms.
  10. All Australian states and territories have banned smoking in enclosed public places, and many festivals now have designated smoking areas so passive smoking won't be a problem. If you are attending a concert overseas, it may pay to check out the smoking laws that govern the concert venue.
  11. If the venue has stadium style seating, try putting your feet up on the chair in front.
  12. Plan to go with a group of friends you can rely on to help out in case disaster strikes- they can also circle around you as you move from stage to stage to ensure you don't get crushed in a tidal wave of fanboys flocking to the main stage for the next headlining band.
  13. Know your limits. If you feel tired, have a break. 
  14. Take the next day off. You'll need the rest.
Now Hunter has been born, I still want to enjoy my live music. Two of my closest mates are in a band, and were kind enough to invite Hunter to their concert at the Tivoli as a very special VIP.

Backstage Party!

Here he is, first concert at 4 months old. Obviously we weren't allowed in the main hall with the crowd, instead we spent a lot of time in the bandroom. Even though we were backstage, it could still be loud at times, so we had him wearing a pair of sound deadening ear muffs. The cutest thing about these ear muffs is that the push Hunter's little chubby cheeks forward and make them look delightfully squishy. I had my doubts about how happy he would be to wear them but they didn't seem to cramp his style at all (As a side benefit they keep his head straight/looking forward when he is lying down, which may help even out his ever-so-slightly flattened spot on the right hand side of his skull).

These Peltor Kid Ear Muffs effectively block harmful loud noises without shutting out other ambient sounds. The Peltor Kids is easy to wear, with a low profile and no protruding parts that can catch on things. The wide, foam-filled cushions ensure that the set doesn't squeeze uncomfortably, and there is plenty of space for the ears inside the shells.
My husband and I took turns to peek from behind the stage backdrop at the crowd going wild, and also took turns racing to the balcony to dance. It was a brilliant night, and thanks to the ear muffs and backstage comfort, Hunter had a great night too. He got plenty of attention, and even had a little boogie with mum side of stage!

Discussing guitar techniques.
Without the VIP treatment- or a babysitter- my husband and I probably won't get to as many gigs as before- but if the venue has a baby friendly policy, the ear muffs will come back out, and so will we!

“Music has always been a matter of Energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel. I have always needed Fuel. I am a serious consumer. On some nights I still believe that a car with the gas needle on empty can run about fifty more miles if you have the right music very loud on the radio.”
Hunter S. Thompson

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