Parks Department Investigating Massive Hardcore Show in NYC That Violated Covid-19 Safety Guidelines
On Saturday, April 24, several hardcore bands performed in New York City’s Tompkins Square Park to an audience reported to be between 2,000 and 3,000 people, likely the largest concert to take place in the city since early March of 2020. Photos and videos of the show that have been circulating online show many attendees openly flouting Covid-19 safety regulations by ignoring social distancing and masking mandates as they mosh up front, sparking an outcry throughout NYC and the heavy music community as a whole.
Now the NYC Parks Department, which had jurisdiction over the event, is investigating the matter. Further, a future hardcore concert booked in the park in May is now in jeopardy.
The concert was put together by Black N Blue Productions, best known for This Is Hardcore Fest — which itself ran into criticism for attempting to violate Covid-19 guidelines last summer — and featured performances by Madball, Murphy’s Law, Bloodclot and The Captures at the park, which has long been a bastion for NYC hardcore culture. The show was a benefit for the New York City Firefighters Burn Foundation, and while admission was free, attendees were encouraged to donate.
A Parks Department spokesperson told Gothamist, “This matter is actively being investigated as the permit application filed and agreement appear to have been violated—future permits are in jeopardy.” Those “future permits” may refer to a May 8 show scheduled in Tompkins Square Park that’s set to feature Antidote NYHC, Kings Never Die, and the Last Stand.
Bloodclot frontman John Joseph (ex-Cro-mags) took to Facebook to defend this weekend’s concert, drawing a false parallel between last year’s Black Lives Matter protests (which saw the vast majority of folks masked and distanced) and yesterday’s show:
“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. This was our PROTEST – OUR RALLY. People who didn’t want to come – stayed away. Good – nobody missed their ass.”
Adding more fuel to the fire, ex-SSD frontman David “Springa” Spring, drew ire for wearing a “BLACK FLAG MATTERS” shirt while on stage with Murphy’s Law, striking many as tone deaf in the wake of the recent Derek Chauvin ruling and ongoing violence against Black Americans by police.
New York State law currently allows for outdoor venues to operate at 20% capacity — and a maximum of 500 people — with mandatory masking and social distancing. Those requirements were openly ignored at the park, which does not have a gated entryway during operating hours and does not have adequate parks staff to surveil a large event, as hundreds of maskless folks can be seen moshing in front of the stage.
Covid-19 rates in New York are currently among the worst in the nation, although they have recently had a modest decline after remaining stubbornly high throughout the early spring. Increasing numbers of younger patients are being admitted to hospitals nationwide in contrast to the perception that mostly older adults come down with severe cases of Covid-19. According to New York state, 43.8% of the adult population has received at least one dose of the vaccine, while 30.7% are fully vaccinated. Last week, New York opened up Covid-19 vaccinations to all adults 16 and older, meaning most of those fully vaccinated right now are still older residents, healthcare workers, etc.