Highly recommend Gilman if your kid is interested. Wish I knew more about the SF venues, but I’ve only attended a handful as an adult whereas I went to Gilman frequently as a teenager. I grew up in the East Bay and have many good memories of seeing bands and meeting people from other schools there. The ethos of punk is to look out for one another, which makes those places safer than they look. The venues are highly motivated to keep drugs and alcohol away because if people are drinking or smoking weed at or outside of the show permits could get taken away. We would usually do those activities somewhere nearby, so I’d suggest maybe having a conversation about that and what your expectations are. I think teens in the younger generation may be less inclined to drink then we were (this is pure anecdote). Hope she has fun!
I know that Gilman Street in Berkeley has a long history of all ages Punk shows and is a great place. Drugs are highly discouraged and there are older mentors there and such. I personally would be more comfortable having her do this close to home where you can transport and monitor better. As we all know teens don’t always tell the truth and though they insist on independence needs those boundaries. I don’t know about the current scene in SF though. Good luck!
Archived Q&A and Reviews
Questions & Advice
- Recent experiences at Gilman Street?
- 13 year old wants to go to ''the Gillman''
- Gilman for teens to go and dance?
My kid is getting to be that age where he wants to go to Gilman Street (924 Gilman Street). I love the idea and have always thought it would be so cool to send my kids there. But I would love to hear from parents about their recent experiences. Also, how does ''joining'' and membership work? Thanks! anon
My son is 17 and has been going to Gilman Street for the last 2 years. I was feeling nostalgic because I used to go there when I moved to the Bay Area (santa cruz first then sf) when I was 18. My ex's and many friends' bands have played there in the 80's-90's. So I have a biased opinion but don't we all?
Gilman is freaking awesome. The membership is taken seriously because they want it to be a safe place, no-hate zone, and even though people use drugs and alcohol off site they don't sell booze at the club. It is truly one of the only all ages places. It is anarchy in the true sense of the word.
My son is straight-edge, a kind-hearted soul who loves the pit and dances like a fiend to his favorite bands. It's a great place and I don't ever go with him (for a number of reasons) because I know people look out for each other. Nothing in life is totally safe so my kid knows that he needs to be street savvy and not get in trouble but he and his friends always have a good time there even when things get weird.
Punk is not Dead.
Sorry for the late reply but I saw that you only got one response to your question about Gilman Street so I thought I would offer some additional thoughts.
My 15yo goes on occasion to Gilman Street. I would echo the other parents response in that membership is serious, the rules are respected and there is off site drinking and smoking. Also, that it makes me nostalgic of high school, right down to the punk attire that looks so very familiar.
A few other things. My son always goes with a friend, if not many. Usually after a school band event, a bunch of them will get together and go over to see some bands. For my son, this is very important. I think it was a bit intimidating to go on his own. And after many years of listening to very loud live music, I always say, wear earplugs. A good pair that filter the decibels are worth it.
East Bay Mom - still have my leather jacket
My thirteen year old has recently asked if he could go to an ''all age'' club called ''the Gillman'' in Berkeley. Apparently there is another one in Oakland, ''the Metro''. I want to know more about them before I can consider letting him go. Is there any adult supervision? What kinds of kids hang out there? Should I worry about drugs or violence or ??????? at these clubs? unsure mom
My daughter used to go to Gilman Street when she was 14. She never had any trouble. She was tall for her age and didn't drink or smoke pot. I knew I could trust her. It all depends on the type of child you have. If your child is easily influenced by others then it might not be a good place but it is a safe place. trusting mom
I have a 14 y/o boy whose friends, he claims, all are allowed to go to The Guilman. We had hard crying sessions because I said night clubs, no matter what they advertise themselves to be, are for adults, or young adults in this ''everything comes earlier' era. But one time he pushed so hard, my husband and I agreed to let him and a friend go with my husband chaperoning. As they approached the place my son's friend, who has good 'street' sense, thought the crowd was a bit too intimidating for him, so they decided to turn around and come back home. His other friends did go inside. One of them was punched in the eye because it was so crowded he tripped on someone and pushed the punching guy, causing the reaction, so the story goes... there may be adult supervision for general behavior but unless you/your partner go there as a chaperone your child won't be personally protected from whatever goes on at a given moment. They say no drugs/alcohol, but, according to some of my boy's friends, kids get high before going in. I think school dances are enough for a 13/14 y/o boy. As I tell my boy, he can go to the Guilman when he is 16 - at least - Look on their website for more info. In my opinion, Guilman should be for 16 y/o and up. No Guilman mom
My son (now 18) went to the Gilman often in his freshman and sophmore years of High School. There is a policy of no drugs or alcohol inside the club but many kids, including my son, use drugs and alcohol outside of the club. On the flip side they also have a narcotics anonymous meeting there two times a week that he availed himself of during his junior and senior year...Best to be very clear about your own drug/alcohol policy before you let him enjoy the bands there. Mom
I think this question came up before. I did not let my girls go to the Gilman, because an all-age club is a perfect place for older guys to find easily impressed girls... one of them snuck out there with friends once and found it not up to its hype.
The fact that I'd consider letting my son go at the same age really has more to do with my untested hypothesis that 20 year-old girls don't cruise for 16 year-old boys as much as 20 year-old boys want to hook-up with 16 year-old girls.
I'd have no real problem with a no-alcohol, under 18 club...but not ''all age.'' No Gilman Girls
I believe ''unsure mom's'' child is referring to 924 Gilman Street, which has been there for more than twenty years. There are worse places a 13-year-old could go, but whether I'd let any particular 13-year-old go there unaccompanied would depend on the 13-year-old in question -- how well he knew how to handle himself and stay out of trouble. The club has a strict no drugs, no alcohol, no violence policy. The punk community values thinking for yourself and taking responsibility for yourself, and not exploiting other people, so with the mainstream of the 924 Gilman community I think he'd be pretty safe. Like any community, though, there are some bad actors, so your kid would need to have some street smarts.
I'd encourage you to go along and check it out for yourself. It's an all-ages club, after all, and the space is big enough and usually crowded enough that you can be there without getting in your kid's space too much. The music's pretty loud -- so bring ear protection -- but you may find it fresh and enjoyable, if only for one evening.
924 Gilman's been around long enough to have its own Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/924_Gilman_Street
I too have a thirteen-year-old and would not consider allowing him to go to The Gilman as I believe it is mostly a high-school hangout(my impression from watching the crowd gather outside the club from across the street at Pyramid Brewrey). I do expect my son will want to go there as well at some point but I'd resist the push to go this soon. They'll be plenty of time in high school and later for the club scene. You could also check it out yourself since it is ''all ages.'' no hurry mom
I read something last year about the club at 8th and Gilman being a place teens could go and dance, but the people we've seen lined up outside it looked a little scary (and our son hasn't yet suggested it).
about Gilman ... One of my kids started going to 924 Gilman last year as a freshman at Berkeley High and went nearly every weekend. He hasn't been much this year but will probably go a few times. He usually goes with a friend; they walk over from the N. Berkeley BART, and I or another parent pick them up at 11:30 or so. Most of the kids who go to Gilman are there because they want to hear the music, which is mostly punk music, which means you see a lot of punk attire. I think it's great we have a place for young teens to go to hear up-and-coming bands. I have not been too worried about the scary kids rubbing off or anything like that. I know my son gets a lot out of the music and the general scene and I think we are lucky to have a place like Gilman in Berkeley.
You can look around on the web for more info about it; here is an excerpt I found from http://bayarea.citysearch.com/E/V/SFOCA/0011/31/41/cs1.html
Punk oasis Gilman Street offers a refuge for young turks, aspiring punk rockers, and East Bay youth. Gilman Street Project's goal is straightforward: to provide a a nonracist, nonsexist, nonhomophobic, nonviolent, drug- and alcohol-free environment for Berkeley youths. Also known as the Alternative Music Foundation, this organization has effectively created a positive place for youth, featuring music, art exhibits, movies, speakers and other unique events for the benefit of the younger community. This phenomenal East Bay punk institution was the birthing ground for acts such as pop punk titans Green Day and the locally loved Sleater-Kinney. It also operates as collective. To attend shows you have to pay two bucks to become a member (good for a year, so don't lose the card) before seeing a show plus the door charge ($5). Volunteers are always needed and anyone interested should come to membership meetings on the first and third Saturdays of the month at 5pm or just arrive one hour before any program.
I thought I would add my two cents on the Gilman St. club, in case that ever becomes an option. I went there with my husband a while back when a friend's band from Boston was playing there. The kids who run the place sell Cokes and chips at the concession stand, and on the night I was there there was not any moshing (do they still call it that?) or really much dancing, just a lot of people standing around listening to music and socializing. (We are in our early 20's, so I don;t think they were just being nice for the old folks.) I used to go to a lot of these shows growing up (in Georgia) and I think they were really some of the safest places I went. The kids look scary, and I think a lot of their dress is expressly designed to scare the older, establishment types. But a good number of them are thinking people who are active in defending the causes they believe in, and a lot of them see not smoking, drinking or having sex as a source of pride and identity. Overall, I'd say Gilman is a safe place to be if your son ever decides he wants to go there. Heather
My daughter's passion is music ... the kind that is hard for someone like me to relate to!!! Punk, Heavy Metal. She did go to the Gilman club for the first time this weekend and apparently loved it. It was VERY intimidating to see the 'scene' as I dropped her off but I remind myself that all those unusual looking folks are someone's kid. She also emulates that 'Look ( the dyed hair, black clothes, piercings etc.) but I figure it is just another stage. Remember when all they wore was Osh Kosh overalls, or pink and purple?? Deb