Local punk landmark Churchill's Pub, a longtime haven for 18-and-up shows, will no longer be letting anybody except drinking-age adults through the door.
It's been only three weeks since founder and owner Dave Daniels completed the pub's sale. And many Miami promoters, scene figures, and band members are interpreting this grownups-only policy as an omen of increasingly drastic changes.
Photo by Ben Thacker
The pub's music booker, Ian Michael, tells Crossfade that Churchill's new owners decided that "the venue will become 21 and over" effective May 20.
"We called everyone with a booked show after that date," Michael says. And he claims that "most were cool with it."
However, there are others, like Miami music legend and International Noise Conference organizer Frank "Rat Bastard" Falestra, who think the move "will kill the place as far as what it's always stood for."
Photo by Alex Broadwell
"When you're going to high school and college," Rat explains, "those three years, from 18 to 19 to 20, are very important in most musicians' lives. That's when the most amazing music comes out of people, because they have no fear and they're willing to experiment and they're influenced by a million different things.
"Just look at the rock stars of the '60 and '70s, the punks of the '70s and '80s -- they were all 17 years old when they fuckin' made it," Rat fumes. "Those young, 18- to 20-year-old musicians need to be able to play Churchill's, because that's how they learn, pissin' with the big dogs, playing against the guys that've been playing for five, ten, 20 years."
Meanwhile, in practical terms, he says the grownups-only approach will prevent him and other promoters from bringing future shows to the pub.
"For sure, I'd have to take INC somewhere else," Rat bellows. "They just lost $20,000 right there. And that's what will kill the place, the promoters getting out of there.
"When you bring a band from out of town, the college kids are who's gonna go see that show. So those bands need to play 18-and-up places. Otherwise, the promoter won't make enough money to pay the band. And eventually, those bands just won't bother coming to Miami."
Photo by Tristan Spinski
Similarly, Idle Hands Productions' Nayra Serrano, feels a 21-and-over policy is "fucking stupid."
"To me," Serrano says, "it's exhilarating to watch a bunch of 19-year-old punks, metal heads, ska freaks, hardcore kids going ape-shit over a national band they look up to and love or a local band they caught at Churchill's on a weeknight, helping create a following for that band and an overall sense of community.
"When you're booking a national act through an agency, the agents will opt for the best offer and overall crowd expectancy. If another venue offers an all-ages show or an 18-and-up show, then that venue will most likely seal the deal. So this won't necessarily affect us at Idle Hands or other promoters, rather Churchill's in itself, since loyal promoters who have made Churchill's our home will have to take these shows to other local venues.
"Some of these young kids are more eager to go to a show than some of us grown folks," she points out. "And if these kids can attend Ultra and candy-rave till they drop, then why shouldn't they experience an actual live music show?"
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