Sending Kids to Concerts: Do You Have a Clue?

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Larry Tomczak is a best-selling author and cultural commentator with over 40 years of trusted ministry experience.

Your daughter has turned Sweet 16. Like many her age, a rite of passage is going to a concert or music festival with friends to enjoy the songs, atmosphere and just have some good clean fun.

You say: "Sweetie, your outfit is so cool and I know you'll have a good time. Stay close with your friends and don't worry. Lollapalooza...Grant Park... Chicago's music festival has some of the biggest names. The weekend is going to be a blast!"

A hug, a tender kiss on the forehead and off she goes like multitudes of teens today. Her 12-year-old sister cuddles her teddy bear, watching admiringly in the background and thinks to herself, "It won't be long till I can go with Sis. She promised to bring me back some of the band's "merch"- maybe a CD, hoodie or a poster."

What can be more wholesome than the above scene: the sweetness of a young lady's innocence; the adventure of exploring the musical landscape of the pop scene; and, sentimental parents looking on approvingly?

Fast forward to Grant Park in the middle of 300,000 screaming, musical aficionados.

  What Can Go On At These Events?


For the uninitiated, this Detroit rapper, from the duo, "Bad Meets Evil," has sold 115 million albums. He's a headliner. His life is a tale of debauchery, drugs, assault, arrest, divorce and promotion of violence against women. His mother sued him. His best friend was shot in the head after killing someone. He's been addicted to drugs and alcohol consuming 40 to 60 Valium in a day. He overdosed on methadone -the equivalent of four bags of heroin. He was two hours from dying. He's trying some rehab.

His songs are foul and profane, from the gutter. He peppers rhyming lyrics with the F-word and multitudes of obscenities while celebrating masturbation, violence and references to a woman's intimate parts.

These X-rated hip-hop "artists" with attitude roll out a degree of depravity not comprehended by scores of adults. Sample some of the titles from their EXPLICIT album overflowing with profanities, "The Love Below":

  • "Hootie Hoo"
  • "She Lives in My Lap"
  • "Toilet Tisha"
  • "Gangsta Shxx"
  • "2 Dope Boyz"
  • "Where Are My Panties?"

Not every band sinks this low but these were the headliners. Not everybody is in an inebriated stupor, but it's all around. There's nudity along with sex. 21 felony arrests – most drug-related. Cleanup of 250 tons of trash – drug paraphernalia, vomit and unmentionables. And all this in an atmosphere where police usually turn a deaf ear and are encouraged not to be aggressive, but let people "have a good time." Last time Lady Gaga performed, she launched her near-naked body to crowd-surf the riotous crowd.

As I was working on this commentary, a friend sent me an article that could not have been timelier. You can read all the details on

Heather McKay opened her well-researched and documented article with these words: "Gone are the days when the worst thing a woman had to worry about at a concert was getting her purse snatched. Experts we talked to say sexual assaults at concerts and music festivals are on the rise, the product of lax security, drugs and alcohol."

She went on to survey what is happening. Here are some examples she cited:

  • Sexual battery at a Beyoncé/Jay – Z concert.
  • Teenager allegedly raped in broad daylight at Keith Urban concert while others watched. Attorney justifies behavior as "consensual."
  • At one event there was a woman raped and robbed; a teenager assaulted in a porta potty; a parking lot attendant raped a girl; etc.

Experts say that organizers don't want to spoil the atmosphere with security "snooping around." They also point out that "most victims don't report crimes and many can't recall details due to drug/alcohol impairment."

Recently Billboard magazine ran an article entitled 17 Deaths and Counting: Festival Fatalities on the Rise. Even the music industry's bible is raising the red flag!

Even if there are no rapes, assaults and felony gun charges cited, what are a parent's responsibilities in releasing a child or teenager into this kind of "free-for-all" environment? Remember where we started in citing the profanity, drugs, drunkenness, sexually-charged lyrics and example.

Just days ago, Miley Cyrus returned to her Nashville home for a packed concert of primarily teenage girls and those in their early 20s. Our local newspaper reported there were no parental chaperones in sight.

This mixed up exhibitionist for whom we should pray, opened saying she wanted "some (expletive) noise!" and that she was going to "show them why I'm so (expletive) crazy!" She added, "School starts back tomorrow, so don't get too drunk tonight."

The former "Hannah Montana" leads her followers down the broad road to destruction as she endorses drug use, spews profanity, swings naked on her video and sits spread eagle on the stage like her promo shot for the tour squatting, grabbing her crotch.

Our local entertainment magazine chuckles at her antics and dismisses them as harmless, edgy and basically reminiscent of Elvis. Hardly.

Not all pop singers and songs are perverted and immoral. Not every concert or festival is a haven of hedonism. If you look hard and research carefully, you may find a rare few. But be careful and don't compromise – your children's future is at stake.

The founding father of rock n roll is Little Richard and he has something to add to the conversation. His life became a cesspool of heroin, cocaine and sexual promiscuity. Let's let him give the parting shot as today he serves the Lord Jesus Christ as a minister of the gospel.

"This music does not glorify God! You can't drink out of God's cup and the Devil's cup at the same time. I was one of the pioneers of that music, one of the builders. I know what the blocks are made of, because I built them."

"Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or worthy of praise – think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me, put it into practice. Then the God of peace will be with you" (Phil. 4:8-9).

Larry Tomczak is a best-selling author and cultural commentator with over 40 years of trusted ministry experience. His passion is to bring perspective, analysis and insight from a biblical worldview. He loves people and loves awakening them to today's cultural realities and the responses needed for the bride of Christ—His church—to become influential in all spheres of life once again.