'Urban music events are being shut down because of stigma', claims promoter after Elephant and Castle disorder

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Urban music events are being unfairly targeted for closure due to assumptions about the type of people who attend, according to an event organiser whose show was axed due to disorder.

Jeffrey Asare, 24, was speaking after a night he put together, Project X, was called off at the last minute on Thursday.

It had been due to take place at The Coronet in Elephant and Castle on Friday.

The cancellation came after police ordered an emergency licensing review following disorder outside the venue in the early hours of last Sunday.

The theatre turned music venue in New Kent Road was hosting a 2,500-strong rave with sets from up to 20 DJs playing hip-hop, house and bashment music.


Jeffery Asare’s event Project X was cancelled

At a meeting with Southwark Council and police, the venue was told it could remain open ahead of a full licensing review at the end of July if it cancelled three upcoming urban events, including Project X.  

But Mr Asare said that incidents are inevitable in the night life industry and that there is a specific “stigma” surrounding urban events.

Mr Asare, who has organised around 50 events over the last five years, said: “In the night life industry you are going to get incidents across the board, whether that be house, garage, punk rock. It’s bound to happen sometimes when there’s drink involved.

“I feel they are targeting urban events, that is not just Coronet, that is all over London, to get a venue for an urban event is near impossible now.


Scenes outside The Coronet last Sunday

“They literally gave us one day’s notice, it was impossible for us to relocate anywhere so we had to take the decision to cancel it. It’s cost people a lot of money.

“I think there is a stigma with urban events – one incident at an urban event and it affects every single one.”

He added that he believes assumptions are made the types of people who will be there, and that as a result organising such an event has become near impossible.

He said: “It is pre-assumed because it is an urban event that there is going to be certain demographic there, that is going to be a lot of black people there.

“Trying to organise an event in London is literally impossible. As soon as they hear it is an urban event they are looking for reasons not to put it on.

“It has got more difficult, a lot of venues have closed down, a lot cut out certain events they not willing to put on, and urban events have taken the hit.”

The other two events that were cancelled were a Dancehall vs Soca foam party event due to take place on July 22 and a PJ and Lingerie Party scheduled for July 29 have also been called off.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said council licensing committees hold the power to alter a venue’s right to host events.

He added: “Southwark Police applied for a licensing review of The Coronet following an incident of violent disorder outside the venue in the early hours of Sunday, 2 July. Incidents like this are a drain on police resources and have a detrimental impact on local residents in the area.

“Officers have been working with, and will continue to work with, the local council, the venue and other partners to ensure the night-time economy in Southwark remains a vibrant, yet safe environment for all to enjoy.”

The Standard has approached Southwark Council and The Coronet for a comment.

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