Have you ever met a baby who needed a concert ticket — maybe?
The rhyme is weak, but the sentiment is exactly what Ottawa parents are experiencing this week after discovering that even their "babes in arms" require a full-price ticket for the Raffi concert happening at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa this weekend.
The show, which is part of the musician's 40th anniversary tour for "Singable Songs For The Very Young" (shout-out to all the Beluga grads), proved immensely popular. But as one parenting Facebook group in Ottawa discovered, every person attending needs a ticket — yes, including infants who are held.
According to the FAQ on the National Arts Centre (NAC) site, "Babes in Arms" tickets are the price of the lowest ticket sold for a particular event, but for non-NAC shows (like this one), patrons need a regular ticket. Tickets for the show range from $34.50 to $69.50 plus fees, and are being sold for $76 and up on secondary ticketing sites.
This information, however, was nowhere to be found when people were ordering their tickets.
Rachel Green, mom of an infant and a kindergartener, even double-checked because she'd heard of the policy before.
"I bought three tickets and I didn't see the option to buy the 'babes in arms' tickets. I was prepared that there might be some charge, so I checked again in the following weeks and didn't see any option to buy them then either."
A Raffi concert is best suited for children old enough to talk, sing or clap along.
Green had attended a previous Raffi concert with her daughter two years ago and bought a seat for her then, which she says wasn't used because, "It was a new experience, she was nervous and didn't want to sit in her seat."
It's an occurrence Raffi's management company is very familiar with, and in fact, bases its ticketing policy on.
"A Raffi concert is best suited for children old enough to talk, sing or clap along. While Raffi's music is enjoyed by babies at home, the live music experience is much louder and very different than hearing the recorded songs at home," wrote Kim Layton of Troubador Music in an email to HuffPost Canada.
"While babies are welcome, they may not enjoy a loud concert singalong. Please keep in mind that every person attending this performance needs a paid ticket."
Layton does note that exceptions have been made on a case-by-case basis in the past.
But that still doesn't quite sit right with Green and other parents on social media groups who are already shelling out relatively big bucks to see the children's performer.
"I understand that it's a children's show, but realistically, let's say you're a parent bringing a toddler or a preschoooler by yourself and you have an infant. Then you're forced to either find paid care for the child so you can take the other one to the concert, or you have to pay for that child, which is ridiculous," Green says.
It's not as though the parents aren't willing to spend the money either — after all, proceeds go to The Centre for Child Honouring, which has respecting children at its heart — but it needs to be made clear beforehand.
Green, who ended up being able to buy a fourth ticket for her infant by calling the NAC box office directly, just hopes it doesn't result in a negative experience for the concert.
A whole bunch of people are going to show up with infants thinking that they don't have to have a ticket, and there's not really a good solution.
"A whole bunch of people are going to show up with infants thinking that they don't have to have a ticket, and there's not really a good solution — [the venue is] either going to have to turn these people away, disappointing the older kids, or will need to give refunds, or parents will have to pay on the spot."
Here's hoping the pain is minimal for parents and they can sort this out beforehand. Because everyone is really just there to rise and shine.
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