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.
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)