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To do: Support Fresno's Bel-Tower punk club
This is somewhat of an update to a recent post about the Bel-Tower, the all-ages DIY venue on Belmont Avenue. It got raided and shut down this weekend, which is somewhat predictable given that the place was operating without a business license or proper permits (whatever those might be).
I say predictable. What I mean is that this was truly a do-it-yourself club and it worked mostly by flying under the radar. The shows tended to be small and catered to a niche group that no one else really cared to cater to or even notice. So, the place didn't cause any problems (really) and no one gave it much hassle (or thought, even). But anyone who did give it some thought had to know that someday the club would be forced to either A.) shut down or B.) go legit (permits/business lisence/building codes). I always assumed it would be option A.
I totally underestimated the power of the scene.
Today, volunteers from the club had a meeting with the ABC to determine what permits they might need and formulate a path forward. They've also started an online petition to save the place, as well as a fundraising campaign, because this stuff is going to cost money (money the place used to make, you know, having shows and stuff).
My band has played a bunch of shows at the Bel-Tower, shows put on by a group of dedicated and motivated bands and promoters, shows that could not (or would not) have happened any place else. All this is to say: Support, if you can. The Bel-Tower, yes for sure. But not JUST the Bel-Tower. Support all local venues, especially those that are independently run and all-ages (the Chinatown Youth Center always has a full slate of shows).