FRESNO, CA (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Fresno Police have reportedly begun a crackdown on nightclubs in the city that cater to all-ages crowds, leading some venues to pull shows that had been originally planned for an +18 plus crowd or cease operating entirely.
According to the Fresno Bee, city police have sent letters to the owners of two Tower district clubs, Starline and Palomino's, reminding them of the conditional use permits granted to the venues by the city. Starline's owners responded by pulling the plug on all-ages shows until an accord with the city can be reached and the owner of Palamino's has canceled all live entertainment, as it was not covered by his restaurant permit.
The crackdown follows a lethal July 22nd motor vehicle accident involving an SUV and a Greyhound bus that left 6 dead. The driver of the SUV, which flipped and was struck by the bus, was an 18-year-old female who had a blood-alcohol level above the legal limit at the time of the accident. Earlier in the evening, the driver and two female friends who also died in the crash, had attended a dance event at the Starline, although it was unclear if the driver obtained alcohol at the club.
The Starline employs a wristband system, with colors changing weekly and numerous staff on security detail to prevent under-aged patrons from obtaining alcohol.
"I am 105% sure that these kids did not get liquored up at Starline. They had more than a sip of alcohol. That didn't happen at Starline. … We just do not allow it. We spend a tremendous amount of time and money making sure this event is safe, clean and legal." Mike Martinez, the promoter of the event which took place at The Starline on the night of the accident told The Bee.
According to the Bee, the crackdown led the cancellation of at least one show at the Starline, a gig by the electro band Hyper Crush. The show's Bakersfield-based promoter Tim Gardea told the Bee that the crackdown is hurting his business.
"My perspective is that Fresno is in dire need of an all-ages venue," Gardea told the Fresno Bee. "You can't be a concert promoter and just cater to the 21 and older."
The crackdown has left other venues, such as Ovidio's, a local restaraunt that hosted a DJ one night a week, weighing their options. The presence of a DJ requires a nightclub permit and the application process would likely set the club's owners back $5,000. Other clubs, such as the outdoor 18+ Cantina, which just opened in Chukchansi Park, has been shut down entirely after Assistant City Manager Bruce Rudd and promoter Rick Mirigian concluded that an 18+ club was too much of a liability. – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers