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Friday, September 29, 2023

The Frequency suspends hip-hop performances due to violence for the second time

The Frequency concert venue announced Thursday it will suspend hip-hop bookings for a year in response to a fight Wednesday night that resulted in an employee having to go to the emergency room.

“This decision isn't a reflection of my landlord putting pressure on me,” a post on the venue’s Facebook page said. “This is solely my decision, I am making it in the interest of my staff and the people I depend on to keep The Frequency alive and well.”

The Frequency owner Darwin Sampson stressed this hiatus is only until the venue can ensure all shows are safe for employees and patrons, and does not blame the artists.

“I really don’t want it to turn into blaming the artists, because the artists had absolutely nothing to do with the violence. The violence had nothing to do with the music,” Sampson said. “It was the people at the show.”

The post was met with a range of responses. Some were angry and demanded explanations, while others stood in solidarity with the venue. The Frequency claimed Wednesday’s fight was the third violent incident at a hip-hop event over the last two months. 

This is not the first time The Frequency has closed its doors in response to violence since it first opened in 2008. In January 2013, Sampson closed the venue after a shooting occurred outside. No one was injured or killed during that incident.

That shooting was also the last incident report filed by the Madison Police Department involving The Frequency. There has yet to be a report filed regarding the incident Sampson said forced him to take the hiatus.

Both Public Information Officer Joel DeSpain and MPD’s central district leaders are not aware of any “recent significant calls” to The Frequency.

But Sampson insisted the shows are having an effect on his business.

“My staff is unsafe to the point that my general manager quit last night because of this. My staff feels unsafe working some of these shows and I can’t have that,” Sampson said. “And if I have violence at punk and metal shows, believe me, I’ll do the same thing.”

The injured sound engineer had a beer bottle smashed over his head. Sampson said after a trip to the emergency room, he is “shaken but okay.” He also said the person who smashed the beer bottle was not apprehended.

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