Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Memorial Auditorium's rock and roll ban of the 1970s
The recent dust-up over the Barstool Blackout show at Memorial Auditorium — and the resolve of Burlington officials to step up the vetting of shows booked there — has precedent.
A quick review of Free Press archives reveals that:
In May 1975, the Burlington Finance Board decided to ban rock and country-western concerts in Memorial Auditorium. This was prompted by “vandalism and youthful scuffles” that caused $350 in damage at a B.B. King concert on April 16, 1975.
That ban apparently didn’t take hold, because in March 1977, the city council was discussing the prohibition of rock concerts, prompted by two concerts by Styx in February that drew audiences of 5,000 both nights, damage totaling $983, and a crowd described by the fire chief as “uncontrollable.”
But it wasn’t until June of that year that the council got serious about banning rock concerts. That was after a Supertramp appearance drew fans that threw rocks and bottles at police. Damage total: $900. A ban went into effect.
Five years later, in May 1982, the youth concert bureau called for a lifting of the ban. The finance board was described as “wary” in a story that quoted then-Mayor Bernie Sanders as saying, “I really detest the rock and roll business” and the music.
By December 1982, the city’s official stance had apparently softened. The finance board effectively lifted the ban. The ban had been ineffective anyway, then-treasurer Jonathan Leopold said, because shows had been slipping through under the labels of reggae and blues.
Posted by DL at 12:56 AM