Tonight, Portland hip-hop visits a familiar, rap-friendly venue. Kelly’s Olympian has been home to numerous hip-hop shows at its downtown location. Just last year, they even hosted 2 nights of Northwest Hip-Hop Fest. It’s clear that the mid-sized venue has never had an issue hosting hip-hop events, as there is no history of problems at their shows.
Even still, tonight’s show, hosted by Green Luck Media Group, has already been placed under limitation by our dear old Fire Marshall. The show was set to feature The Resistance – Glenn Waco, Rasheed Jamal and Mic Capes – as well as appearances by Maze Koroma and Rey Totem. The group of young artists have been selling tickets for weeks, expecting to perform in front of about 100 people. Unfortunately, that number has been cut in half.
Per the Fire Marshall’s request, the show will now have a 50 person capacity. Not only does this mean the show is sold out at this point, but also that everyone involved is taking a monetary loss. Think about it. 100+ capacity venue, tickets selling for $8 in advance and $10 at the door could have come up to a nice number. Cut that number in half, and account for the loss the bar will take with half as many patrons and you have a bunch of people who just got screwed over. And it’s not just the artists and promoters who are hit. Green Luck Media’s Bryce Trost says, “The management and owner of Kelly’s have been wonderful, and have shared the exact same frustration with the situation.”
Maybe all the frustration is exactly what is wanted. Who wants to book hip-hop shows if they’re going to lose money behind it? Who’s going to support hip-hop when there’s a chance they won’t be able to get into the shows due to unexpected capacity changes? Or because the police show up halfway thru the show and stop people from reentering to get their things?
It’s interesting how the Heavyweights show at Blue Monk back on March 1st was also hosted by Green Luck Media. That show also had a cameo appearance by the Fire Marshall and almost 2 dozen of our beloved public servants of the police department. Ironically, one of the questions stemming from that fiasco was why the Fire Marshall and police hadn’t called ahead to the venue if they felt there may be cause for concern. Welp! Again we see another version of the same story that’s been played over the years in Portland’s hip-hop community.
Full Quote from Bryce Trost, GLMG (edited for clarification):
“Because of the fire Marshall’s chopping in half of the capacity, the show is now sold out, we can’t even allow extra guess or press in without fears of being overcapacity, and it turning into another Blue Monk scene where The City can over-exaggerate the scenario. The management and owner of Kelly’s have been wonderful, and have shared the exact same frustration with the situation. They’ve even offered to try and somewhat compensate monetarily for the evening’s losses, Even though they too will be taking a very large hit at the door and at the bar. I won’t have exact numbers until Tuesday when we sit back down, but they’ve been very transparent, and apologetic for the situation.”