Every year, Genentech holds an employee summer event that’s part of their “giving back” to the community that includes fundraising and volunteer work. The end of the week ends with a giant party which in the past has been at AT&T stadium in San Francisco.
These parties are pretty amazing and spectacular. The company rents out the entire AT&T stadium and it’s all inclusive of ballpark food and drink, which means you can eat all the hotdogs, pizza and garlic fries you want and down them with beer, wine or soda. The big draw is the music: In the past there’s been Elton John, Demi Lovato, Train, Pitbull.
But while there’s headlining pop stars, the event is actually for kids. There are bouncy houses, slides, games, House of Mirrors, Ferris wheel. But there’s also big headline musicians who perform. This year, headlining the show was Colbie Caillat, Foo Fighters and Usher.
I didn’t really want to attend the event — it’s an ordeal to take the BART, Muni with a toddler and then watch her every whereabout and just let her eat junk food all day. But I thought she would enjoy the experience as last year she went and was only 2 — this year, one year older, it seemed like she would really enjoy all the kid stuff. It was like being at a festival. As we rode the BART train, she was just happy riding the train, marveling at her surroundings.
But at the stadium, we got some food and listened to Colbie Caillat. As we peered down onto the field, she pointed excitedly to the bouncy houses and the excitement happening on the field. “I want to go on the bouncy house!”
As the Foo Fighters started to perform, we decided it was a good time to meander to the field. But we never made it to the field, as security held up a giant sign that said “NO FIELD ACCESS.” The field was full. This has never happened before, and I wondered if other people with kids were upset or this was just the expectation.
So we decided to wait until after the Foo Fighters finished performing – maybe people would leave the field to get some food or drink. But nope, that wasn’t the case. So we were stuck in the stands, a sad toddler who pointed to the slide and other fun things that she couldn’t leverage. It was 3 p.m. and I was ready to leave. What was the point? I attended the event for my kid. To entertain and occupy her, we gave her cotton candy, churros and ice cream.
Was it worth it to attend the concert to see live music? I don’t know. This event wasn’t about my enjoyment — it was for my child. My daughter was excited enough taking the train and spending solo time with her mother and her aunt. Next year, maybe we’ll just rent a bouncy house.