A fight resulting in a shot being fired outside a concert at The Frequency Jan. 28 has led the venue to eliminate hip-hop shows in the future.
The small music club on West Main Street announced on their Facebook page they would no longer host local, regional or national hip-hop shows. The Frequency had a provision in its lease prohibiting hip-hop acts, so owner Darwin Sampson had little choice after the latest incident.
Sampson summed up the issue perfectly in the Facebook post: “It is truly unfortunate that I cannot host an entire genre of music and artists because of the idiocy of a couple people and the ineptitude of the security company that evening,” he said.
It sounds like Sampson has put his neck on the line by continuing to provide a venue for the Madison hip-hop scene, despite it being prohibited by his lease. This incident is certainly a disappointment for that community.
The move to ban hip-hop shows in general is obviously within the rights of the venue, and with outside pressure it seems almost inevitable. But it’s the perception hip-hop is at the center of this issue surprises me. It is almost as if the stakeholders are trying to find a solution without ever actually finding the problem.
The people who were at that show last week and engaged in a fight leading to a shot being fired are the problem in this story, not hip-hop. To take an entire genre and culture of music and say it is the root of club violence doesn’t make any sense.
Violence outside of Madison clubs has been an issue for years, and it certainly hasn’t been limited to one specific kind of music. It just seems that saying no more hip-hop is an attempt to fix a problem without really breaking down why the problem occurred in the first place. Simply thinking, “This incident happened at a hip-hop concert, so let’s not have those kinds of concerts anymore,” doesn’t add up to an effective policy response.
Again, I understand The Frequency wants to keep its employees and patrons safe, but working on things like crowd control outside of the venue and a more effective police presence seem like more valuable solutions than simply blaming a culture for a few bad apples.
The easy answer to a problem like this is to effectively say, “Well, we won’t let those people come anymore.” But it’s a cop out, and a disappointing for the Madison music community as well as a missed opportunity to actually address the safety of people trying to enjoy concerts in Madison.
It seems like The Frequency wanted to take the problem head-on while still providing hip-hop music and for whatever reasons failed to prevent the events of Jan. 28. But banning The Frequency from hosting hip-hop shows isn’t the answer, and hip-hop certainly isn’t the problem.
John Waters ([email protected]) is a senior majoring in journalism.