Thursday, October 13, 2005


Andrea Butler-Donato

For a successful Rock-n-Romp you will need:
1 host family
1 backyard
6 weekend dates from May to October
2-3 local bands and artists per show
1 dozen or so offspring accompanied by their socially and/or musically deprived parents
1 keg of beer

Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Yields a rockin’ good time for the whole family!

This delicious recipe is a local dish of the Washington DC and Baltimore region that was originally thought up by Debbie Lee and her husband who live in the DC area suburb of Silver Spring, Maryland. After having their first son, they came up with the idea of having shows in their backyard with local bands actually coming to them since making it out to clubs at night was not so much of an option anymore. They made the idea of being able to hear bands play at a kid-friendly volume during kid-friendly hours of the day in a kid-friendly atmosphere a reality. A small stage area was made in their backyard, bands brought their equipment, parents brought their kids and a sensation was started! What started out as a small backyard gathering became a real hit by the fall of 2002. Much more than just a catchy name, Rock-n-Romp was actually someplace where you could take your kids and listen to local (non-children’s) music, drink a beer, and almost remember what pre-breeding life was like. That is, until your child screeched for you to come and push them on the swings.

This summer Rock-n-Romp was brought to Baltimore by Tracey Gaughran-Perez and her husband Jamie, which snuffs out the need for an hour drive to DC. Initially, some of Tracey’s neighbors were concerned that this alternative family fun was going to be a rowdy event that charged admission and sold alcohol, but they were reassured by the fact that the event was free (Yes! Free!) and no alcohol was being sold (which also circumvented the need for any permits).

The first show was May 21 and featured Kim++, The Materials, and Sylvan Screen. Envision front row seating of little plastic tot chairs and the bands being critically eyed by the children. Some of the kids completely disregarded what was happening on the stage since they were too busy playing on the swings and with the toys throughout the yard. Other kids were ready to jam…and were free to do so with the miniature drum set that was near the band. Parents mingled around, chatting and catching up and enjoying the music. My one-year-old rocked out with me in his sling while my six-year-old ran back and forth between the sandbox and the swings along with other kids. It was fabulous.

Baltimore Rock-n-Romp is planning on rocking through the summer with local bands like South Carey, Sick Sick Birds and The Tombs among others. Between the DC RnR and the Baltimore RnR, there is plenty of rocking and romping ahead. Which is great, since parents sometimes need that concrete date and time to corral the kids and go out and be social. Rock-n-Romp has been such a hit in Baltimore and DC, others should really try and get something similar started in their areas. For more information on the event, check out and

Viva la Rock-n-Romp!

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