Oi! (racist) skinhead fest booked at Black Bear Bar, then Santos Party House
The Oi! skinhead scene don't have the easiest time finding venues for their bands to play. They have an equally hard time not getting their shows cancelled thanks to the efforts of anti-fascist activists Antifa. For that reason, venue names are often kept off flyers and the internet in general.
Bushwick venue the Acheron apologized after hosting an Oxblood/Offensive Weapon show there in 2013. This time it's Williamsburg's Black Bear Bar doing the apologizing. Black Bear Bar is the Brooklyn bar in the old Public Assembly/Galapagos space on North 6th in Williamsburg, and that's where NYC Oi! Fest 2 was taking place over Memorial Day Weekend (May 28 and 29). Oxblood, Offensive Weapon, Battle Zone, Close Shave, and at least 10 other band were on the bill which then moved to Santos Party House last minute after pressure from protesters led Black Bear Bar to cancel the event in progress.
Black Bear Bar then posted the following apology to Facebook:
It is with deep remorse, shared by all members of the BlackBear Bar team that we write this statement expressing our apologies to our neighbors, customers, patrons, friends and the artistic community for our part in the Oi fest, which was scheduled at BlackBear this past weekend. We have decided to cancel the remainder of this event and sincerely regret our negligence in allowing this to happen
To best grasp how this happened, it’s important to understand the nuance of the day-to-day operations of a music venue. There are a number of team members, both internal and external, which allow us to provide quality programming seven days a week. This community includes a number of outside promoters. Many of these promoters are folks with whom we have worked for a number of years and built strong, trusting relationships with.
One of these promoters brought us this event, with a short list of bands who would take part in the weekend, including Oxblood as a headliner, who did meet our booking standards. It wasn’t until much later, and after much assurance to the contrary, that the problematic nature of this event was brought to our attention. Obviously we should have and take full responsibility for the lack of oversight.
We acted as fast as we could and have cancelled the duration of the program. We have made it clear to the parties involved that we want absolutely no part in the values represented by and through this event.
As one of the last independently owned and operated creative spaces in Williamsburg, Black Bear has hosted all forms of diverse creative expression, from GLBTQ parties, Latino, Asian, hip hop, R ‘N B, Burlesque, performance art, progressive political events, and community outreach initiatives. For that we take full responsibility and would like to extend our sincere apologies to the community for our negligence. We can assure you all that this incident has been eye opening to us, and forced us to readjust our booking procedures. We will continue to host events that meet our highest standards and promote tolerance and inclusiveness in all forms.
Black Bear Bar then also posted an "official statement" from Curtis the promoter, though so far no apology has been posted by the promoter who then put the show at Santos (where Curtis Nystrom was the booker for two years until March.)
Santos, where the show did go on, meanwhile has not apologized or officially announced that the Oi Fest may have been their LAST SHOW EVER. According to multiple posts on social media, this may not have been Santos' first Oi! show. It's hard to tell exactly where NYC Oi! Fest 2015 took place, but it looks like at least half of it took place at the Paper Box.
That all said, it's doubtful that most if not all of the Santos owners, Andrew WK and rapper Despot included (there are a bunch), knew anything about the booking. The two musicians did receive a lot of slack on social media over the past day though.
To make matters worse, another show was actually cancelled last minute to make room for Oi! Fest.
"New York Year Zero" was outside Santos during the "fest", posting pictures to twitter:
BONUS: There's a video from the fest of Offensive Weapon covering Youth Defense League, complete with a shout-out to recent blog star "English Nick".
And some closing words from Antifa: