Outdoor NYC Punk Gig Under Investigation for Defying COVID Gathering Guidelines
An outdoor hardcore punk show that took place last Saturday (April 24) in New York City's Tompkins Square Park is under investigation by the city's parks and recreation department for breaking the state's current capacity restrictions on large gatherings in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
As reported by Gothamist, the concert was a free, unticketed event that hosted performances from the NYC-based acts Madball, Murphy's Law, Bloodclot (a band featuring former Cro-Mags lead vocalist John Joseph) and The Capturers. The first major show to take place at the park since the pandemic started, the city had legally permitted the gig that held a pre-show fundraiser for the New York Firefighters Burn Center Foundation. (The concert's organizer, Black N' Blue Productions' Joe Cammarata, helped raise over $6,000 for the organization on GoFundMe.)
But the benefit aspect of the concert might become a footnote after the fact. The event drew an estimated 2,000-3,000 attendees, well over the state's capacity cap, and, per the report, had "no social distancing happening during a show that featured tons [of] moshing, and no distance between the performers and the audience … also clearly were a lot of people not wearing masks."
New York City's current guidance on large gatherings states that, as of March 22, "social gatherings in public spaces, previously limited to 50 people, will be limited to 100 people indoors and 200 people outdoors." Even an extended limit for maximum capacity at outdoor events right now, Gothamist added, would be 500 people.
After the Saturday show's attendance rocketed past those numbers, an NYC Parks Department spokesperson said, "This matter is actively being investigated as the permit application filed and agreement appear to have been violated — future permits are in jeopardy." (Another punk gig at the park is scheduled for May 8).
But the performers who took part in Saturday's performances might disagree with the basis for the investigation. For his part, Bloodclot's John Joseph argued that other recent large gatherings and rallies in the NYC area didn't draw as much scrutiny.
"Yesterday in Tompkins Square Park well over 2000 peeps came out," the musician said on Facebook. "Free show for the People by the People. It was a blast! We raised $ for the FDNY Burn Unit, and fed people organic plant based eats. And let me say this — to all those talking shit. For the last year in NYC there were protests — tens and thousands of people in the streets — some rioting and looting engaging in bias attacks — on 4/20 weed day — thousands filled Washington Square Park — sharing blunts and weed pipes. Nobody said shit."
Joseph continued, "This was our PROTEST — OUR RALLY. People who didn't want to come — stayed away. Good — nobody missed their ass. Wanna thank Cousin Joe and The Black-n-Blue crew for doing an amazing job. All the bands killed it The Captures, Wisdom In Chains, Murphy's Law, and the KINGS of NYHC MADBALL. PMA was had — smiling faces everywhere — we all needed this! I hope other cities do the same."
Below, watch footage from the event and read Joseph's entire message.