Jade Tree has decided to hold its 2002 CMJ label showcase at the Warsaw, located in Brooklyn, NY. The event had originally been scheduled for Irving Plaza in Manhattan, but was pulled once Jade Tree discovered that Irving Plaza had ties to the Clear Channel entertainment giant. While Jade Tree doesn’t dictate to its artists where they can and cannot perform, when it came to making the decision for the CMJ event, Jade Tree thought that it was clearly time to stand up and take action. "Clear Channel is against everything that Jade Tree believes in-the value of independence, integrity and honesty." stated Jade Tree co-owner Darren Walters. "Jade Tree’s ethical business stance simply isn’t in line with Clear Channel’s. Clear Channel’s unfair competitive tactics and strategies, along with its monolithic approach to standardizing whatever media it becomes involved with-from concert venues to radio-are among some of the most unfair and marginally legal practices in the business today". Jade Tree strives to keep its CMJ celebration an all-ages, fair-priced ticket show and doesn’t desire to become involved with the media giant when and where it can be helped. As Walters noted, "We can’t support high ticket prices or restrictions of any kind that effect our fan base. That’s simply shooting ourselves in the foot. Clear Channel stifles fair competition in whatever medium it becomes involved with and in the spirit of the punk rock Jade Tree says ‘Hell no, we don’t want to be a part of that’".
In related news, Philadelphia concert promoter and Jade Tree friend, Sean Agnew recently won a battle with the Philadelphia L&I regarding the usage of the First Unitarian Church, home to many great all-ages show over the years and one of the city’s best live venues. The First Unitarian Church was shut down a few months ago over licensing issues that had been brought to the attention of L&I officials by suspect sources. Agnew had reason to believe that Clear Channel had something to do with the unwarranted attention which eventually led to a lengthy battle over whether Agnew could continue promoting shows at the church-a fight he recently won. Read all about Sean Agnew’s recent troubles below.
From the R5 Productions Newsletter:
Hello All –
I hate to send two e-mails out in only two days, but thought this was of the few times where it would be appropriate. For those who do not know, The First Unitarian Church which hosted all ages shows in it’s basement / reception hall for over 8 years, was raided by the Department of Licenses and Inspection and the Police this past July for "not having the necessary zoning or permits to host live entertainment". The church in the last few years became "homebase" for quite a few bands, students and residents of the city of Philadelphia. All throughout the eight years they have been exceptionally understanding, patient and excellent to work with.
The First Unitarian Church was one of the only organizations and venues in the city that believed in providing an outlet for shows were people under (and over) the age of 21 could attend. Sadly in July it looked like another show would never happen there, due to a mysterious "complaint" call about the buildings zoning, which was made to the department of Licenses and Inspection.
Today I am happy to announce that The First Unitarian Church has now been deemed a "legal venue" in Philadelphia for live music and entertainment. Meaning that the church can now host shows once again! Over the next few days the schedule will be worked out and the first shows back will be announced soon. This all would not be possible without the great amount of help from:
- Everyone who took time out of their busy day to write a letter to see that shows could continue on. There was a few good weeks where I wanted to quit everything and just "move on" but the amount of support was unbelievable, where people from all sorts of different backgrounds and ages wrote in and explained how important these types of events were.
- The Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, a non-profit organization which is dedicated to providing free legal help to those involved with the arts who can not afford it. They can be reached at
- Megan Curran Production Assistant for WHYY’s Morning Edition, who produced, wrote and created the 5 minute on air piece which drummed up huge public support for the city to allow to the church to host all ages shows again.
- Bob Cooney and his staff at the Morgan / Lewis law firm, who via the PVLA provided the pro-bono assistance making sure the church procured the necessary zoning agreements and permits/licenses to legally host shows.
- Linda Harris / Philadelphia Inquirer who wrote a feature in The Philadelphia Inquirer about the suspicious complaints and lack of communication between the church and the Department of L&I
- The numerous writers at The Philadelphia Weekly / Philadelphia City Paper, who even just in column mentions or show reviews continued to write and inform people about the ongoing situation with the church and the lack of legal all ages venues
- Our friends at Jade Tree Records, who made some very tuff and important decisions once this happened. Once the church was shut down, they became one of the first labels to work against the large monopolistic industry machines (like clear channel) and began to no longer deal with any corporate owned venues, including moving their CMJ Showcase this year from the Clear Channel ran Irving Plaza to the independently ran club, Warsaw in New York City, making sure that independent and smaller businesses would survive, hopefully providing an example for other independent bands and labels. (note : other "punk" labels have yet to make such a bold move)
- And mostly to the members, staff and board of directors of The First Unitarian Church, especially church administrator Norman Fouhy and board member Richard Kline. Most organizations would quit and just give up faced with such adversity and controversy but the church viewed this as an important alternative to have for the younger (and older) people in the city of Philadelphia. The church spent a great deal of time and energy making sure that these outlets would remain in Philadelphia. More importantly the church provides a great deal of social and educational programs (such as bringing in Noam Chomsky to speak last week, or hosting Jello Biafra last night) . If you have time, please drop a note of thanks and appreciation to them at firstname.lastname@example.org .More information about the First Unitarian Church can be found
All shows scheduled for The Pontiac (and other venues) will remain there. We will still continue to use them frequently!
Again Thanks For The Continued Support. It is GREATLY Appreciated
S E A N A G N E W / R 5 P R O D U C T I O N S
100% Quality D.I.Y. Shows For Six Years
Booking : R5Productions@hotmail.com
Information : DJR5000@aol.com – 215.629-0614 Fax : 215-925-3082
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