Jake Ward Pens Open Letter to AFC Vandals

Posted by on Jan 25, 2016 | Comments (0)


Last night, at the otherwise awesome Ty Segall show in Santa Rosa, someone decided to tag the brick bathroom walls at the Arlene Francis Center with spray paint. It was a destructive and costly act, and one that local promoter and concert booker Jake Ward took offense to. Here, Ward writes and rants on why this vandalism is harmful not only to the venue, but to the Santa Rosa music scene overall. It’s a real and powerful wake-up call, and one that is worth reading in its entirety.

Well this is frustrating. Last night somebody vandalized the restroom of the Arlene Francis Center. I’m not even gonna address what they wrote, but I will say a couple things.

One, this is why we can’t have nice things. We live in a town where people complain about a lack of venues for cool music and art happenings, and yet when one of our few beloved local institutions for hosting events opens its doors to hosting an all ages rock show, someone goes out of their way to disrespect the space. How can we complain about the scene when we have no respect for it?

Two, this is brick. Brick is extremely porous. Spray paint on old brick does not come off easily. The only full time operators at AFC are in their 60s. Are they expected to clean this off? There’s also no surplus funds at this space to buy special cleaning products. This was super rude *and* destructive.

Three, this is not a punk venue, this is a non profit community center. The morning after the show this happened at, the classroom was rented out for a weekly event called Mini Music where parents bring their toddlers to learn to sing. There are all sorts of important political, educational, and arts activities happening at this space. Who really thought this was a place that deserved to be vandalized like this?

Four, as a producer of events, this makes life harder. Venue owners look at independent event promoters with some skepticism as is, especially when you are trying to put on shows with punk bands / open to all ages, but when the crowd you bring does this to the venue it makes it extremely difficult to get invited back, even tho it wasn’t their fault at all. I’ve been in this same situation and it sucks.

I could keep ranting but the bottom line is, we are a community, and everyone who’s a member of the community has a responsibility to be respectful to each other and the things we all care about. If you know who did this, you should tell them to come clean it up. I’ve talked with the managers of the venue. They don’t want to punish the person who did this, we just really want them to come clean it up.

If your friends don’t know how to behave at shows, if they sneak in without paying, if they smuggle booze or drugs in, if they steal, if they vandalize, if they disrespect the patrons, staff, or performers at any event, you need to have a serious talk with them. We’re all in this together. Let’s make Santa Rosa a vibrant music and arts community by working together to support the performers, the promoters, and the venues that make it all possible.

Thank you, Jake, for saying something that needs to be heard. If you have any info on who committed this vandalism, please contact the Arlene Francis Center. Get details on Jake Ward’s ongoing projects, including the North Bay Cabaret, by clicking here.


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