When Goldie sent me the link to "OLCC says No", informing me that the proposal to allow underage kids into clubs for shows (but not allowed to drink) had been voted down, I was disappointed, but not all that surprised. I think we all know that it's time for the OLCC to unlace their Victorian corsets and step into the real, modern world, but that they've got no plans to.
Though it may not matter in any practical sense now, here's my take on the subject, a paraphrase of the long, impassioned letter I sent to the OLCC and, unfortunately, can no longer find.
The bottom line is, there's just no good reason not to let kids go to shows. Unlike the author of the blog I linked to, I didn't grow up in a state where I could go to a show with X's on my hands and be refused alcohol. I grew up in Vancouver, Washington, and could go to shows at the Crystal Ballroom and that's pretty much it, because I wasn't in to crust punk or hardcore. If I wanted to drink, I would have stayed at home and coerced some over-21 friend into buying me beers. If I wanted to go to a bar, it was to see a show. It's not like kids don't get into bar shows now; there were plenty of times I snuck in as a friend of a band, and plenty of kids get fake ID's and just go anyway. If under-21ers were allowed to go to shows, but with some mark, like those famous x's, to keep them from getting drinks, I predict we'd have LESS underage kids drinking at shows, not more. And the added benefit of those kids who don't want to try and break the rules getting to see the bands they want to see. Plus, hello, IT WORKS ALL KINDS OF OTHER PLACES. I did a quick search to find out about states where minors are allowed in bars for concerts, and came up with the website for several venues in Texas and Maryland, ads for shows, over 21 $5, under 21 $9. That's right, more people coming to the shows, and paying more money - they can get away with charging kids a little bit extra because they can't drink. Apart from the occasional jackass who thinks kids shouldn't be able to come to shows because they can't remember what it was like for them six years ago, under-21ers coming to shows would mean - kids getting a better musical experience, under-21 band members not having to feel like pariahs sitting outside while the rest of their band hangs out in the bar before the show, bars getting more money, and less kids trying to sneak in to shows or use fake ID's. So who's the loser? The OLCC, for making a lousy decision.