Save Seattle's SODO Music Venue Studio Seven From Unfair License Revocation

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Save Seattle's SODO Music Venue Studio Seven From Unfair License Revocation

In a report by KOMO News 4 in Seattle on March 1st: (full report copied and shared at the bottom) it is incorrectedly stated that, in a shooting on February 11, 2018, a victim was killed at Studio Seven.  The victim was shot in the rear hallway where band practice rooms, artist dressing room and an adjoining hallway to a neighboring tattoo studio are located, which is outside of the music venue hall. The victim died at the hospital from his wounds and not in the venue as reported. 

The artists performing that evening insisted on having their own security crew control the rear door of the venue, which is where buses and tour trucks park to load bands’ sound equipment in and out, and where artists can enter and exit between tour buses and the dressing room. Witnesses reported seeing security, headlining artists, opening artists and the show’s promoter arguing with each other throughout the evening.

Anyone who has ever patronized Studio Seven knows the layout of the venue. There is a main floor where anyone under the legal drinking age is allowed to watch live shows.  The bar is located upstairs (except when venue is doing 21+ shows, when beer is sold at the snack bar) with access from a stairway off the main floor that is staffed with security guards at all times to ensure minors are not allowed in the bar. The bar is not located near the hallway where the shooting occurred, nor has the shooter yet been detained, so there is no proof at this time that the bar area played any part in the shooting that occurred on February 11th.

Since the shooting, the State of Washington has suspended Studio Seven's liquor license under a 180-day emergency suspension order. While Studio Seven is under this suspension the state is seeking to revoke the venue’s liquor license permanently, citing other incidents that have required police be called to the venue, regardless if these incidents have occurred inside or outside the venue or if the venue had any control over reported events.  Such incidents include driving under the influence, robbery, sexual assault and aggravated assault.

The November 2017 incident that reportedly required 28 police officers to establish order was an isolated incident between fans of the band The Juggalos, who were arguing and fighting outside of the venue.  Studio Seven’s security attempted to resolve the situation but had to call the police due to the number of people involved in the incident as well as the location being outside of the venue on a Seattle street.  

Having personally witnessed several incidents for which the police were called, not all are issues for which the venue should be held accountable.  Incidents, such as patrons injuring themselves by choosing to “stage dive” (while knowing that Studio Seven’s policy prohibits such), DUI and robbery should not be held against the venue, and the decision to do such appears as an attempt to ensure that the venue will have to close its doors.

Having also been to Studio Seven numerous times in recent years to cover live music shows, I've witnessed several incidents in which persons have injured themselves doing stupid things for which they are responsible and not the venue. 

Is it tragic that a young man was shot while out for a night of live music? Absolutely! Regardless of the musical genre, no one should be afraid to go out to any venue to see a live performance.   However, it is now speculated that the shooting that took place on February 11 is related to gang activity, something for which the venue should not be held accountable.  Nor should the venue’s bar, in which the victim was not shot, have its liquor license revoked. 

Bars are where most live music venues make the revenue to support bringing live music acts to their venues. Certainly, without a liquor license, they may eventually have to shut down.

Live music venues such as Studio Seven enrich our Seattle culture by bringing in live musical artists and performers from around the world for local citizens to see and enjoy. They also provide avenues for aspiring local artists to perform as opening acts for well-known touring bands and an opportunity to be discovered.  Studio Seven provides employment to Seattle-area residents who enjoy their work and rely on their paychecks.  These include approximately eleven permanent employees and numerous other on-call temporary employees when shows require a larger staff.   Most importantly, Studio Seven and other music venues are helping keep music alive in our city.

The responsibility for the actions of private citizens are generally their own and cannot be placed entirely on a venue. In all the years that I've patronized Studio Seven (and been inside and outside this venue until 2:00 to 3:00am), I have never once felt unsafe or feared for my life.  The staff has always done a great job watching over patrons who come to enjoy live music.

In conclusion, I feel that Studio Seven is being unjustly persecuted by the State of Washington and City of Seattle. Perhaps this is due to the venue's location in SODO where developers constantly look for businesses to fail so they can acquire their space. This may be speculative on my part, but should be pondered, when one considers the efforts to push the development of a basketball stadium and other related businesses in SODO.  If that is the case, it is unfair to shut down small businesses that actually make life better for the many of us who support them. 

If the City and State want safety changes, then by all means they should be made, but they should not close Studio Seven.

I ask all of you who've ever attended a live concert at Studio Seven, been in a band who's performed at Studio Seven and fans who are tired of watching all of our small music venues run out of business one by one to sign this petition, then share this petition and speak up to save one of our vital venues and the jobs of their employees who are hardworking and decent people who need their jobs.  If we stand by and do nothing, I fear we will lose another one of our venues in record time.


As reported by Komo 4 News on March 4, 2018


SEATTLE - The state has suspended a South Seattle nightclub's liquor license after a deadly shooting last month.

A man was shot and killed at the Studio Seven nightclub on Feb. 11, and now the state has issued an emergency 180-day liquor license suspension at the club, citing a threat to public safety due to insufficient security.

During that 180-day suspension period, the state Liquor and Cannabis Board will seek to permanently revoke the nightclub's license.

"Emergency suspensions represent an extraordinary exercise of the state’s power and the (board) is mandated to ensure that an emergency suspension is reasonable, justifiable and legal in every way," state officials said in a prepared statement.

Investigators say that on the morning of the shooting, at 1:10 a.m. Feb. 11, the club at 110 S. Horton Street had allowed a performer's private security detail to control who came in and out of the back door. The victim was shot and killed in the area where the club had relinquished its control.

The man was taken to Harborview Medical Center, where he died of his injuries, police said.

State officials say Studio Seven had been warned on previous occasions that it was their responsibility to control the premises at all times, including keeping firearms out, to ensure the safety of patrons. The club had also been warned that insufficient security posed a serious threat to customers' safety.

In reaching a decision to suspend the club's liquor license, the state also considered a November 2017 disorderly conduct incident that required 28 police officers to quell.

Officials also considered an extensive history of 26 police calls at the nightclub dating back to 2015 for driving under the influence, robbery, sexual assault, aggravated assault and others.

KOMO has calls in to Studio Seven for its response to the liquor license suspension. So far there has been no response from the club.