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Hi, I'm looking for advice about whether nighttime performances at the Greek Theatre are safe and/or appropriate for an unaccompanied 14 year old boy.
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It's really going to depend on what the event is. I would say that the Greek Theater is an overall safe place, especially if you're planning on dropping them off and picking them up. I'd be more concerned about what type of crowd the musical act draws rather than the location. While your son might be fine at a James Taylor concert held anywhere, some rap and metal acts draw crowds that are looking for trouble. I went to OzzFest (metal) at Shoreline once as an adult and felt unsafe. But I went to see Styx at the Oakland Arena as a 14 year old not accompanied by an adult and felt perfectly safe. My mom dropped me off and my friend's mom picked us up. It was one of the best concerts that I've ever seen!
I'd do some research about the act that your son wants to see. Is the typical crowd filled with drunk men? That would scare me. Crowds that are more balanced between men and women and not as focused on alcohol feel a lot more comfortable.
The other option that you have is to go to the show with your son. You can make a meeting place for afterwards and send him off with his friends to enjoy the concert. But you'll be there in case things turn ugly or he needs you. My mom took a me and a bunch of my friends to see the B-52s at the San Francisco Civic Center when I was 14. She and her friend sat in the seats while we danced on the floor. It worked out perfectly. My mom was really awesome about stuff like this!
I would not say it's appropriate for him unaccompanied unless you are OK with him being around a LOT of people drinking and smoking pot without you. I have brought my 14 year old son to a concert with me, but would not let him go alone.
I live within walking distance of the Greek Theater and have attended many concerts there both with and without my teens. I think it is a very safe venue, and the surrounding neighborhood is safe too, especially compared to other venues that size such as Bill Graham in SF or the Oakland Colosseum complex. I've never felt unsafe at the Greek, have never seen any fights or aggressive behavior there. They do sell beer at some but not all concerts, but they are quite strict about proof of age. Also, as with most other concert venues, there is likely to be someone sitting nearby who is smoking pot.
I think 14 might be on the young side to go alone to a concert, but it depends on the kid. Kids who are music lovers and are taking the initiative to see live music should be encouraged! One of my kids was going to concerts with friends at that age, where a parent dropped them off and picked them up after. By the next year my 15yo son and his friends were taking BART or city buses to get to shows at the Gilman or in SF. Can your son navigate public transportation on his own right now? If so, then he will do fine at the Greek, which is a lot tamer than your average city bus, with many concert-goers arriving and leaving on foot. Speaking of which, if you decide to drop him off I would recommend identifying a nearby meeting place in advance, because the road it's on will be very congested before and after the concert, and you won't be able to pull up in front to get him.
You might consider buying a ticket for yourself and going along too. You don't have to sit together if he objects to going with Mom or Dad. Then you can see for yourself what it's like, and also learn something about the music he listens to!
That would somewhat depend on who he is going to see but they serve alcohol and there is a lot of pot smoking. The first time my daughter saw a show there she was also 14. She and her friend stood in the front and me and my friend sat in the back. The second time, we dropped them off and picked them up.
Hello, it's great that you are thinking over this question to help keep your child safe. I'd say no: fourteen years old is definitely too young to attend that venue unaccompanied.