Music twitter was rightfully up in arms after a free hardcore show was held at Tompkins Square Park in New York City over the weekend, with over 2,000 maskless people giving absolutely zero fucks about social distancing and unable to resist their urge to mosh with sweaty, maskless strangers. The event was organized by Black N’ Blue Productions (which is apparently run by a group of antivaxxers, if their official Twitter is anything to go by), and it featured bands like Murphy’s Law, Madball, Bloodclot, and The Capturers. While bands are planning tentative tour dates in advance for late summer/fall dates and taking proper safety precautions so live music can come back in a way that won’t make people gravely sick, this is far from that. This is a serious health hazard. After pictures of the event went viral, many have been wondering how this COVID-19 superspreader event was held in the first place. Turns out the answer is pretty fucked up.
According to Gothamist, the permit application approved by the Parks Department wasn’t filed as a concert; instead, it was filed under a “September 11 Memorial” political rally. The site reports that the permit application was submitted on November 2 by organizer Chris Parker, pitched as a “political rally with speakers and music,” according to paperwork shared with the site. The date was then switched to April 24, with the same event description. Black N’ Blue Productions denied the event was listed as a September 11 memorial, writing on Instagram, “I’m sure most people know the media lies almost all the time. But just for shits and giggles the permit says nothing about 9/11 Memorial on it!! I have the permit in my hand. Fucking asshats. Had look at it again to make sure but there’s nothing on it that says 911 Memorial.” But Gothamist has the receipts, showing a picture of the application that clearly states “Event name: September 11 memorial.”
The Parks Department also told Gothamist that the permit specified that only 100 people would be in attendance, which is a far fewer number of attendees than the thousands who showed up for the hardcore show. And, as the Parks Department pointed out, they “generally would not permit an event of this size in this park” even in non-COVID times. The stage was also not approved by the department. In case people still need the reminder, while the vaccine rollout is gaining speed in New York City and the CDC says masks don’t have to be worn outside anymore if you’re vaccinated and hanging out with fellow vaxxed people, it’s still not safe to be in crowds with strangers! So don’t do it. We all miss shows, but the thought of potentially accidentally killing someone by moshing to your favorite band is horrifying enough.