The Frequency announced Thursday it will take a one-year hiatus from booking new hip-hop shows as a result of several fights during recent concerts.
In a Facebook post, the venue announced its decision to suspend further booking, allowing them to assess how they deal with violence. The venue said in the post that they regret having to exclude an entire genre.
Frequency owner Darwin Sampson said the move is “just a timeout,” from the genre until they can ensure safety.
The venue has seen several fights in previous months, Sampson said. But the suspension comes after a fight Wednesday night between two intoxicated women at a private birthday party, Shah Evans, Frequency’s hip-hop booking agent, said.
The fight escalated and a bottle was thrown, smashing against the head of a male engineer, requiring him to get stitches.
Fights are difficult to prevent due to the presence of alcohol, Evans said, but he does not excuse the behavior of those attending hip-hop concerts.
Still, Evans said hip-hop has been unfairly singled out because of negative connotations associated with the genre.
“When there’s a fight every single weekend outside a college bar— they’re not shut down,” Evans said.
This isn’t the first time the venue has taken such action. In 2013, The Frequency enforced a similar ban after shots were fired following a fight at the venue. They did so after their landlord began enforcing a provision in their leasing terms that initially prohibited hip-hop acts from performing because of concerns regarding violence.
Media portrayals of violence at hip-hop events is overblown, Evans said, and undermines the work he and his organization Urban Community Arts Network due to fight bad connotations.
Moving forward, Evans said he hopes the hip-hop community, city government and venues all work toward creating a healthy and safe local hip-hop scene. He said he remains hopeful The Frequency will again host hip-hop events within a year.
Local hip-hop artists have already expressed concern and are preparing statements.
The Frequency will still host the hip-hop shows they’ve already booked.
This post has been updated.