More relays ruckus

Only a few days ago, just before this past weekend’s Texas Relays events, there were reports of a promoter’s troubles in connection with the social side of this big weekend in Austin. And now another promoter of frequent events here in Austin chimes in with the following e-mail, sent out under the heading “Texas Relays and the City of Austin.” The two websites listed at the end of the e-mail have been so besieged today that it has been impossible to see what’s posted there.

To the friends of The Firm and Urban 512:

We understand that over the weekend many of you were stuck outside of our venues, namely Caribbean Lights on Friday and The Hard Rock Cafe on Saturday.

For that we apologize. We also want to apologize to the people that were lucky enough to get in to the venues. Those that did get in wondered why there were more people outside than inside, although there was so much open space inside the venues.

The problem:
In short, the club owners on and around 6th St. were intimidated by the City of Austin’s warnings to “strictly” adhere to fire code capacity during the Texas Relays weekend. They were threatened with huge fines or potentially getting closed down for noncompliance. The number of people inside of the venues was well below the fire code limits. These same venues normally are packed with people wall-to-wall on any other weekend of the year. Club owners did not inform the Firm and many other club promoters of their intentions until the night of the events.

The situation:
Throughout the night, groups of police officers would enter and walk around the event venue in order to maintain an intimidating presence. The Firm has been promoting events for over seven years on 6th St., and we’ve never experienced this excessive level of “martial law”. In fact, three officers walked in within 30 seconds of us arriving at the venue to set up.

To put it plainly, we feel as if we were targeted. Perhaps they targeted us because we sponsor the site and they knew that the majority of people that come to the relays social events will come to this website.

In any case, we got the point. We are not welcomed on 6th St.

The solution:
To the City of Austin we say we won’t return to Downtown Austin for Texas Relays events. This was a decision that was long overdue. When the relays return in 2006, the Urban Upscale events will be away from the young crowds, the unbearable traffic, and the city’s harassment on and around 6th st.

The Firm has great relationships with several bar/restaurant owners in the area. We will be working with one of these owners to have a free event to make up for the disappointment of the Relay Weekend social activities.

Thank you:
We want to thank all of you who support the Firm, Urban 512 and events. We’ve seen several social organizations come and go. We’ve never lost sight that we are still here because of your support.

We will be in touch with information about the free event as soon as arrangements can be made.

The Firm and Urban 512
A more detailed statement has been posted to both websites.

The e-mail was received shortly before 2:00 pm today.

UPDATE: After 7:00 pm it was finally possible to access the site of The Firm. It took longer to access the site of Urban512. The title is now “The Texas Relays Debacle.” Here’s some of the additional information there:

As many of you already know, The Firm was born seven years ago due to a lack of options for young urban professionals in Austin. Because we don’t advertise on the radio, only through the web, e-mail and word of mouth, we always attract an educated and professional crowd to our events.

We’ve never had a disturbance or a police call in our entire existence. This fact makes it harder for us to understand why there was a significant police presence in front of and all around our venues in particular during our event on Friday night during Texas Relays. It is clear that the city and 6th st. club owners want the Texas Relays social events to come to an end.

Check it out.

1 Comment so far

  1. Loretta Alterman (unregistered) on May 14th, 2005 @ 11:49 pm

    Well, you should have come to The Vibe. We have been sponsoring a Relays party since 1995. We are always packed to the gills and refuse to be intimidated by police. We also have never had any problems with the folks who come out every year. Good Times had by all.

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