LETTER: Kids hurt by dance prohibition

Organizers retracted a comment made Monday insisting dancers move from in front of the band at Music on the Wharf. - TIMES files
Organizers retracted a comment made Monday insisting dancers move from in front of the band at Music on the Wharf.
— image credit: TIMES files

Dear Editor,

Have kids that dance? Don’t take them to music on the wharf. They’re not welcome.

Three years ago, I discovered Music on the Wharf – a concert series that overlooks the Fraser River in Maple Ridge put on by Maple Ridge Museum & Archives.

It is both delightful and charming. Small bands from wide genre variety come to perform in front of the Fraser River as the sun is setting.

Every so often, a train runs by and drowns out everything at exactly the wrong time and makes everyone laugh.

My children and their friends dance to the music.

Sadly, we will no longer be going.

When we arrived Monday night, we were immediately informed that due to complaints from other concert goers, our children would not be able to dance in front of the band (on the dance floor).

Instead, the children could dance to the left of the stage – amongst pillars with an obscure view of the band.

I couldn’t believe it.

Who doesn’t want to see kids dancing and having fun? Isn’t that what concerts are for?

In a day where technological devices rule our children’s worlds, isn’t it something special to see young children participating fully in life around them?

My children were hurt. “Why can’t we dance there Mom?” “I don’t want to sit back here.” “Who doesn’t like us dancing?”

As the woman stood there looking at me, telling me “don’t shoot the messenger,” I couldn’t help but wonder how could I not?

She was the organizer of this event. She was the one who decided that the voice of the few would stop my children from dancing on the dance floor.

She did this while someone nearby was smoking a joint. Smoking a joint at a concert is okay? Dancing is not?

My kids are at a perfect age where they have the freedom to dance without a care in the world. This time is short. Too soon, they will be too self-conscious to get up and dance in front of a crowd – a freedom lost.

Monday night, the woman who told me – in front of my children – that dancing is not okay may have started a process where they will become self-conscious and less eager to get up and dance.

There is so much wrong with this picture.

As we left, people started asking “where are our dancers going?” “Why are you leaving?” I had to respond “we don’t feel welcome here.”

For three years, I have taken my children to this event.

For each concert I have given money to the folks at Maple Ridge Museum as they come around with their tin cans.

Unfortunately, until my kids are too shy to dance, I won’t be going back.

Andrea Williamson,

Maple Ridge

EDITOR'S NOTE: We reached out to the historic society for reaction to this letter, and director Val Patenaude, responded: “The Maple Ridge Historical Society regrets the remarks made by an event volunteer regarding dancing at the concert. The remarks do not reflect the policy of the event organizers, which is to encourage family participation. Also, Music on the Wharf is put on by the Maple Ridge Historical Society, not the museum.”

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