All ages punk shows create community for younger generations

Al Curle, News Editor

Audience to see Fugazi at Cat’s Cradle in Chapel Hill, NC
May 3, 1991 (Daniel Penland)

The all ages punk show has been a staple of the punk scene since the late 70s, where teens would all gather and play music in small New York venues. It’s extremely important that music, especially local music, invites the younger generations.

So much of gen-Z culture is online on apps like Discord, Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube that interacting in person and touching grass is really important. All ages shows provide that.

These concerts give an environment where teens can get out of the house, listen to music, and get used to being around new people. This is an important part of socialization that is very hard to do in today’s age.

What poking around a mall or a park used to do for teens in past decades can be done with shows like these. In fact, the community at punk concerts may even be safer than some of the other places where kids may hang out.

This may sound counterintuitive, but punk has always been a culture made for and by young people and some of its scarier aspects are some of the reasons for its safety.

The past generations developed means to allow teens to engage in the music scene alongside their older counterparts. Drawing an X on a teen’s hand gains them access to the show while signaling to the bartender that they can’t drink alcohol.

There are safeguards like that specifically for young concert goers to enjoy the music and not be served something they shouldn’t. There is also unwritten etiquette to let everyone have a good time.

Take the mosh pit as an example. It sounds like a way to get trampled by a bunch of people who don’t care, but that’s not what happens. Instead, the punk community has informal but very strong rules for helping people who fall, letting people who want to leave out, and for safely engaging in an otherwise dangerous activity.

People help each other out at these shows, and even outside of them. The community is often small and local, which means that after a few shows, you’ll have a group of people to talk to, go to shows with, and to make sure everyone goes home safe. 

These groups going to shows gives people a friend group that isn’t dependent on school or work which means as you grow and move around you can develop new friendships. That skill, too, is one that is harder to develop in the digital age.

Growing our social skills is important when we spend so much time online, and all ages shows offer an opportunity and environment to build these social skills and enjoy some live music while you’re at it.