From Nigel Byfield
Am intrigued in reading your Crime in Hebden Bridge report that the Trades Club now has an "over 25s admissions policy".
From Ernest Jones
Unfortunately I was not at the ward meeting and am at a loss to explain the note regarding the Trades Club’s “over 25s admission policy”. I can, I hope, set the record straight.
There have been two evenings at the club of late where the police have had to be called to deal with the bad behaviour of a small number of people in the street outside the club. In the most recent of these, unruly behaviour in the concert room resulted in a gig being terminated early.
At a subsequent meeting of the Trades Club management committee, the admissions policy of the club was reviewed with regard to under 18s. Under 18s are admitted only when accompanied by a member responsible for their conduct. We shall not in future allow under 18s to be accompanied by their 18 year old mates. Accompanied under 18s are not allowed into the club after 8pm, except into the concert room to attend a gig. Any accompanied under 18s who have been admitted into the members’ bar prior to 8pm are asked to leave at 9pm.
In the light of our recent experience, we have decided that no under 18s will be admitted to gigs on Friday or Saturday evenings, unless the committee has specifically ruled in advance that a particular gig is suitable for accompanied under 18s. The exceptions are likely to be all-seater live music gigs.
The committee then had a fruitful meeting with the police and a licensing officer from Calderdale Council. The Trades Club is not seen as a problem club, and the police were happy that we are determined to take action so that it stays that way. We stated that there have been some problems when we have put on gigs with young bands or DJs. But increasingly our club nights appeal more to over 25s than to under 25s: in the last few weeks we have hosted some excellent evenings of this kind from Sneeze, Dirty Ticket and Into The Valley. We have no plans to put on events to which only over 25s are admitted.
From Adam W
What I cannot understand - and I am still awaiting an explanation from the Trades Club - is why our event 'Depthcutz' was cancelled. We had a booking for April and had already booked a DJ from London, laying down an unrefundable deposit.
From Ernest Jones
Since Adam’s post on Friday, the Trades Club enjoyed an excellent weekend full of the vibrancy that Adam thinks we lack. On Friday, a capacity, mainly lesbian audience was wowed by Horse’s glorious voice and soulful pop. On Saturday, Quinteto Mambo Jambo’s latin sounds had all of the audience on the dancefloor, and yesterday the Ukrainians’ fusion of Uki folk and British punk drew a diverse and enthusiastic audience. Nearly 400 people had a great time over the three evenings.
We are proud of our reputation as promoters of all kinds of music, serving our membership and the wider community. Is the Trades Club “full of stuffy old socialists”? Socialists yes, and some of us will seem old to Adam (nearly 28). But stuffy? I don’t think so. In the next two months the club features reggae, ska, funk, house, rock, trance, folk, pop and other genres, with performers across the spectrum from talented producer Kidkanevil to Squeeze master lyricist Chris Difford.
It is a pity we cannot proceed with the Depthcutz booking in April, but we have a duty to our members to manage the club properly, and are stopping young rock bands and hip hop/drum n bass and nights for the time being. We are not being ageist. In all of the time I have been involved with the club we have worried about these nights, not because of the performers or the music, or the large majority of people who come to enjoy themselves. The problem lies with a small minority with no respect for the club. These nights frequently result in tagging, other petty vandalism, broken glass littering the concert room floor, and unwarranted aggression.
Thanks for the advice about our door policy, Adam, but we already have a registered door supervisor at weekend gigs checking IDs. Unfortunately passports and driving licences disclose ages, but not a tendency to behave like an idiot or a vandal. We should like to be able to welcome Depthcutz back to the club, but only when we are confident of providing a safe environment in which our members, guests and staff are not at risk, and we can protect our good name.
From Larry Kin
Ernest it does rather sound like you're being ageist when you state that you're stopping young rock bands from performing. But in any case discrimination need not be direct - if an employer were to pay all pregnant people less money this would be sexist, similarly banning all nights that attract a young audience is being ageist.
Has there been a consultation with members about whether or not they would like the nights that you've banned? If not one might be inclined to suppose that you were thinking primarily of profits rather than members' interests. Clearly the club needs to strike an appropriate balance between income and expenditure if it is to keep running, and its continued running is in members' interests, but it's far from clear from what you say that these nights result in a net loss of income for the club. Given that young people tend to turn into older than young people with the passage of time you might also think that by alienating the presently young clientele you are also alienating future not young clientele and it's hard to see how that could be in members' interests.
Of course certain nights will have a greater share of trouble than others, but since, as you say, the troublemakers are in the minority perhaps a more proportionate response is to increase security on those nights where trouble is expected and issue bans to those troublemakers.
Narrowing down the range of acts that the Trades puts on yet further so that it appeals almost exclusively to a middle class middle aged crowd is a step in the wrong direction and a betrayal of the principles the Club claims to stand for.
From Joe H
I would like to thank Ernest for his very understandable explanation. Our whole town should be most grateful for all the hard work put in by him and the others who run the Trades Club - a great asset for our town - something which we all ought to be really proud of having. Keep up the good work, Ern.
From Adam W
Following this post Ern emailed me in person and I replied. I thought it suitable to post that reply on here:
Many thanks for your reply.
Whilst feeling aggrieved by your decision I do appreciate the situation you are in. It is sad that a minority - young or otherwise - have spoilt things for a large number of people.
I would love to get more involved with the running of the Trades Club, but unfortunately I am now based in London, visiting Calderdale about once a month.
By the way, as an active member of the Labour Party I have nothing against socialists! In fact our party could probably do with a few more of them in positions of power. My point was that I hope that when this is all resolved the Trades can continue to provide a platform for the performance of a wide diversity of musical styles, suited to people of all ages and backgrounds - as it has in the past.
Just a couple of further points though…
You say, “These nights frequently result in tagging, other petty vandalism, broken glass littering the concert room floor, and unwarranted aggression.”
And how can “stopping young rock bands” not be ageist? Surely it follows that stopping gay rock bands is not homophobic and stopping black rock bands is not racist?
In your email to me you also indicated that one of the reasons that we are not allowed to proceed with our events is because it has tended to be busier than some of the other DJ nights that have been allowed to continue. Is that a commercial way to run a club that has struggled for funds over recent years? And are we not then basically being penalised as promoters for running a successful night? A victim of our own success some might say.
I do not want to appear to be antagonistic Ern. I sympathise with you in having to deal with troublemakers. I just feel there has been a bit of an injustice. Rather than being treated as friends of the club I feel like we are being tarred with the same brush as these thugs and ostracised.
From Adam S
As an attendee of the trades club on various nights I thought it right to add my 'two cents'.
Whilst it is undeniably true that rap & drum and bass music do attract some of society's 'criminal class', this is not the fault of the music, nor the people who produce, promote or play it.
I would like to point out that these people; who delight in violence, vandalism and causing as much trouble as they can; are not attending these nights due to a love of the music being played, rather it is for a love of trouble, vandalism and violence.
The reason that trouble happens at any night, regardless of what kind of music is played, is because these people, these thugs, will go anywhere there is a high concentration of their peers. A large crowd, in front of which to show off.
The reason these incidents happen at 'young' events, isn't due to the age of the dj, or singer, but because these nights are the most popular with the younger generation. (By 'younger generation' i mean from ages 18-30.)
Football hooliganism wasn't a result of violence in the game, but was caused by the violent element of society latching on to the most popular thing that was around them. The answer with football hooliganism was to enforce stricter security and harsher penalties. They did not cancel football matches, or switch to playing netball.
My final point is one regarding the 'Depthcutz' night in particular. Every time I have attended a 'depthcutz' event, of which there have been several, I have had a good, and more importantly, safe time. I have never seen any trouble and until reading this forum had no reason to doubt that this hadn't been the case with all the nights hosted at Trades. In my experience the nights were run extremely professionally, by both the events and security staff.
I'd just like to say that as someone who has attended Depthcutz for the past five years, and been going to the Trades for even longer than that, I think it is a shame that the Trades Club has decided to cancel the night.
The night in question which had to shut early had nothing to do with any of Depth Cutz affiliates, it was organised by an 18 year old and I know that a good portion of the people attending were underage. The vast majority of the people who attend Depth Cutz are all aquianted with eachother and everyone has complete respect for the guys who have taken the trouble to arrange the night. Out of these people, i can't think of a single person who is under the age of 19.
Whilst I appreciate the fact that the club wishes to avoid any confrontation, I think it is very unfortunate that a night with a good history which has been running smoothly and successfully for several years, has had it's reputation tainted because of an unsuccessful, unrelated night purely because we fall into the same age bracket.
I think Ern's point about Depth Cutz providing a 'safe atmosphere' is also particularly unfair. I think anyone who has been to depth Cutz will tell you there is no question of feeling unsafe. Wth regards to 'a small minority' which the club is worried about, there is no mention of stopping BassCulture, Crabwalking or Mental Elf who, without a doubt, attract a very similiar crowd. I think Depth Cutz has an extremely loyal following and I'm fairly certain that I speak for everyone who cares about the night when I say that no-one ever makes trouble, people go there to have fun and I think this probably reflects on everyone else who goes there as, as already been asked, when have these 'occurences' happened at Depth Cutz?
From Adam W
When I asked why my event had been cancelled Ern explained to us that the Trades were banning hip-hop nights for the time being, because these nights "frequently result in tagging, other petty vandalism, broken glass littering the concert room floor, and unwarranted aggression". So you can imagine my surprise to read on their website that tonight they have "a DJ set from our very special guest Kidkanevil, Hebden’s own hip-hop genius".
From Adam W
Now there are posters around Hebden advertising a night at the Trades featuring 'DJs from Hebden's grimiest club nights' and mentions Depthcutz as one of them.
Hebweb News: Crime in Hebden Bridge
Police neighbourhood page - now has published the following correction: There has been an error in the earlier article on the Trades Club – 13 Feb 09. The Trades Club has not gone for an Over 25s policy of admission as originally reported but has agreed that any events held, which are likely to attract a younger audience, will have a registered door supervisor in attendance and the policy will be only to allow admittance to persons who can produce valid identification. However, as originally stated, the Police will still be conducting regular licensing visits. (24 Feb)