Saturday, August 29, 2009

City of Florence Doesn't Want "Urban Crowd"

Last night the Grown Folks Band was scheduled to play a "UNA Back to School Bash" concert at Big Ed's Club on Huntsville Road in East Florence. It's been reported that sometime during the day Friday, the Florence Fire Department along with other city inspectors shut the club down long before any patrons arrived for the nine o'clock show.

The GFB (pictured) is composed of Tom Putman, Nate Slaughter, Colin Krout, Kinsman McKay, and Issac Simon. They describe their music as a mix of rock, jam, hip-hop, rap, and reggae; their audience is anyone from old hippies to students to an older crowd. In short they are eclectic.

Having released their first album, two.five.sicks, six weeks ago, the band was expecting a large local turnout for their concert, a concert with the extremely reasonable admission fee of just five dollars. According to one member of the band:
The Grown Folks Band show at Big Ed's tonight has been cancelled due to the Florence City Council not wanting an "urban crowd" at our show.... It's 2009, people.

An urban crowd? This brings us to Big Ed's itself, a small club located in what is designated as a semi-entertainment district. The small shopping district in East Florence was built in the 1920s and 1930s and, until Big Ed's entered the mix, the closest connection to music in the area was the House of Vacuums founded by the brother of Florence native Buddy Killen, a Nashville record producer. In order to survive during the recession, Big Ed's has taken to opening only on weekends and frequently catering to parties given by black fraternities at the University of North Alabama.

According to owner Ed Sandlin, after his initial opening months in 2005, his business began to wane. He openly blamed the city for not supporting the newly designated entertainment district, known in the earlier part of the last century as Sweetwater. He has also suggested his criticism of the Florence City Council has made them an enemy, but the city has a different story.

Tomorrow: Florence, Big Ed's, and the "Entertainment District"

What's up with this: UNA and Florence Police are targeting the University District for the next two weeks in an attempt to slow traffic around the campus. So, all you Nascar drivers need to slow down on Pine Street and Wood Avenue.