5 Things to Know: Rock and Roll Playhouse

By: Amy Whitfield Richardson

Looking for something unique to do as a family this Father’s Day? If you or the father in your life love good, live rock music, then look no further than The Rock and Roll Playhouse family concert series.

Following a successful Mother’s Day celebration with The Music of The Beatles, The Rock and Roll Playhouse will return to Saturn this Father’s Day, June 16, with The Music of Grateful Dead for Kids.

If you’re like me, you’ve been waiting for the day you can take your kids with you to a good concert—and having a chance for them to hear some of our favorite songs by The Beatles performed live and especially for their age group, was definitely a great way to spend Mother’s Day.

The second installment of this event at Saturn is sure to start off your Father’s Day celebration with a fun-filled morning of dancing, singing and interactive games for you Deadheads and your little ones. Here are a few things to know before you go.

1. Get there early, but not too early.
Doors open at 11 a.m. and the show starts promptly at 11:30 a.m. But don’t worry about getting there early to get a good seat. With the exception of a few seats on either side of the room, the floor is open to accommodate a moving sea of children and parents as the show progresses. Get there early enough to allow your kids to adjust to the lower-lit room and feel comfortable in a concert venue setting, which they may have never experienced before. Glow stick bracelets are given to each child at the door to start their experience on a positive note.


2. It’s a real concert.
What makes the show so enjoyable, is that it is performed by professional musicians, a mix of locals with a musician/staffer from The Rock and Roll Playhouse. They sound great and will play the music as it was intended to be played (no long jam sessions), while also improvising for the young crowd. For instance, “Yellow Submarine,” became Pink Submarine, Turquoise Submarine, and my daughters’ favorite, Rainbow Submarine, at the request of the little ones in the audience. The lights are dimmed but the house lights stay on and there are lights on the stage. No strobe lights are used in shows.

3. It’s a live band, protect those sensitive ears!
While the volume might be turned down compared to a typical rock show, it’s still loud, especially up front, where the kids tend to gravitate to dance and play. Because all kids experience music differently, you may want to bring hearing protection for yours or stay back from the speakers. The Rock and Roll Playhouse also has Baby Banz earmuffs available for purchase.

4. Be ready to rock out!
Activities are paired with the music and all shows follow a similar format so expect a hello song followed by a rock and roll jump, rainbow streamers that will encourage the kids to move around and pretend during the show (streamers don’t go home with you), a giant, colorful parachute to run under and play with (parents are enlisted to hold the chute up), and other activities such as call-and-response songs, freeze dance and at the Mother’s Day concert, a good old-fashioned limbo dance—something my 3 and 5-year-old had never experienced.

5. All ages are welcome, but…
The core audience is families with children ages 10 and under. Kids age 1 and under are free. Considering the volume of the band and the boisterous toddlers and preschoolers bouncing around, you may want to rethink infants. According to the show website, strollers are allowed, but there may be limited capacity so you may be asked to put your stroller in a designated area. A better idea might be to bring a baby carrier for the little ones so you can easily move around the venue.

The show lasts one hour and that’s just about the time my kids started asking for food and bathroom breaks. But one hour was all we needed to make a few new family memories. Now, we’ll never sing “Yellow Submarine” the same way again, and I like that.

For more information and to buy tickets for The Rock And Roll Playhouse: The Music of Grateful Dead for Kids, visit

2 thoughts on “5 Things to Know: Rock and Roll Playhouse

  1. Hi, I came across an ad for this show that’s coming to Berkeley- The Music of Queen. My son loves Queen. I’m wondering if he’s too old for this though. He’s turning 12 in May. What do you think?

    1. Hi Katherine! It’s technically billed for All Ages… We found it to be a much younger crowd. Preschool/Early Elementary. The activities seem to be geared toward that age group. Lots of littles running around, a parachute for them to run around and under..

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