Every now and then a terrible article comes out about all-ages shows in the City Paper or Pitt News, etc, and this is the latest iteration. Eli Enis did not do adequate research, and the editor did not help shepherd his results towards comprehensively factual reporting, either. Its premise, that all ages shows are on "shaky ground" in Pittsburgh, is totally incorrect. There are more all-ages venues now in Pittsburgh than there have been for a while. The article's print version mentions only seven in a red-colored side bar: Roboto, Stage AE, Rex, PPG Arena, KeyBank Pavilion, Smalls/Funhouse, and Smiling Moose, but there are many more: Spirit (sometimes), Glitterbox, Black Forge, Carnegie Museum Hall/Lecture Hall, Warhol Museum, City of Asylum, 3577 Studios, Fallout Shelter, Carnegie Hall of Homestead, and at least a couple more I don't care to mention by name. None limit attendance by age. Even Hambone's (being a restaurant) is all-ages with accompanying parent. And of course there are tons of house shows which is where the hippest kids seem to go anyway.
The article also fails to address the main problem with making many shows all ages here: the under-21 audience is drastically underinformed about music. They just don't know about anything other than a few 'herd-instinct' bands. Making a show all ages costs extra money in terms of security and room dividers because of PA alcohol laws which forbid the kind of 18+ wristbanding that OH and WV allow (in PA there's no such thing as a 18+ show). Only one local venue takes advantage of the 'chaperone rule' venue (I won't say which) - the others are too afraid to do so because of potential huge fines if they get the procedure wrong.
And you can't make a show all ages when less than 2% of the potential audience is over-21, because that tiny number can't justify the extra costs. I have a show tonight where one person complained on the Facebook event about it not being all ages. When you stack that up against the 150 people who are over 21 going to that show, that one person doesn't measure up. I remember doing a show for Swans at the Rex - 400 people attended, and less than 10 of them were under 21. Only *certain* shows need to be all ages - the ones that have clearly 25% or more under-21 component, where the draw more than covers the extra costs. And those shows are almost always still all-ages.
Hence, there are no issues or problems with any of this, unless the problem is with PA's antiquated and arcane alcohol laws. Simply implementing the same wristbanding that OH and WV have would solve this, but is that ever going to happen in Harrisburg? Some energetic young legislator would have to make it his or her personal crusade, or the status quo will never be changed.
First national act to play the BBT was in 1992, a show I did for San Francisco band Mudwimin. Couldn't find that, but here is a listing shortly after that for my King Kong show in 1993. https://carnegielibraryofpittsburgh.newspa… Pretty much hosted national touring act there every Thursday for almost five years until 1997. Good job, Shanley!