Last week, an attendee at a house show in the Vine Neighborhood was the victim of an unexpected and unprovoked attack. They were struck from behind with a blade, leaving deep cuts across the throat and behind the ear. A regular show-goer and friend to many in the community, they were lucky to make it out of this alive.
The attacker was someone who was not part of this community. While the person who was attacked was known by most attending the basement show that night, there was hardly a soul to be found that even so much as recognized the perpetrator. This heinous act was performed by an outlier, not someone who was representative of or even associated with the music community of Kalamazoo. As far as anyone can tell, the attacker was not even acquainted with the target of his assault. Fortunately enough, he was located and apprehended by the police shortly after fleeing from the house. He is currently awaiting a court hearing, and with any luck, justice will be served.
This attack happened amid a recent increase in violent crimes around the Vine Neighborhood. Multiple people have reported being mugged or assailed on the way to or from shows around town. But this instance was certainly unique among recent happenings in that it happened during a show, in the crowd, while a band was playing.
However, it is important to remember that this is still an isolated event and is by no means characteristic of the safe and open community we work to foster in this city.
It is an unfortunate truth that such dangers are permeating our community and it is imperative that we address it as just that – a community. We are in this together because we love music and we love this town and we by no means want to see anyone threaten what we love.
DIT members have already been discussing how to ensure the safety of our show spaces. For everyone that lives at a house that hosts shows, there are steps that can be taken which may not already be in place:
- Coordinate with your roommates or friends in order to effectively monitor what is going on during the night.
- Keep people posted throughout the house and stay in communication.
- It is always helpful to maintain only one entrance point in order to see who is coming and going.
- If you don’t know someone who turns up, extend a hand and introduce yourself. Make sure those in attendance know who is running the show and make sure you know who is in your house.
- If anyone is exhibiting signs of strange behavior or is making you or anybody else uncomfortable, communicate this to others. Never be afraid to address this issue and tell somebody they are no longer welcome. This is your house and what you say goes.
- Be prepared to take charge of a situation – this is your responsibility as the host of a house show.
- Know that you are not alone. If you don’t have roommates or others willing to help you run a show, talk to DIT members – generally there will be at least a handful of us at any given show already.
We can all stand to be more attentive in the course of our show-going. Remember that the people you see attending, hosting, and playing shows regularly around here are your friends and your neighbors. Every one of us can play a part in maintaining a positive and inviting atmosphere at our shows, even in the face of this ugliness that has transpired. But do make sure to watch out for yourself and do your part to watch out for those around you.
We have a thriving culture for DIY underground shows in Kalamazoo. This community is really an amazing, beautiful thing. A tremendous amount of work has been done over the years to not only provide music throughout our city, but to come together and be organized in our actions in a way that is unlike most other cities anywhere else. This is our strength. One incident of violence will not unravel that. We do not accept violence at our shows and we do not promote it any way whatsoever.