New information regarding violence at Music Monday.
As I present part three of this incident report from the Music Monday series, I am reminded about how many situations like this that I’ve come across during my years as a performer and nightclub manager. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that this sort of thing could or would happen at an event such as what happened at the Monday Night Music Series that took place at the Bellevue Ave. branch of the Montclair Public Library. Part III of the incident report really brings home just how dangerous this could have been.
The lady was yelling “Shut it down! Shut it down!” into the mic, though she held it the wrong way, so her sound didn’t come through very coherently. Jon pulled her off the mic and took it away, at which point she immediately ran for another performer’s mic and tried to do the exact same thing. I pulled her off the mic this time, and told her she was way out of line and needed to leave. She suddenly noticed the camera of the band’s videographer, and abruptly began dancing, perhaps as if to pretend for the recording device that her attempted assault had merely been some kind of mosh-pit move. Again, I asked her to leave, and took out my phone. She said, “Go ahead! Call the cops! I already called them and they’re coming here to shut you down!” I decided to take her advice and call the Montclair Police.
I stepped over to the corner of St. Cassian’s Church sidewalk and called the police. I explained who I was and that there was a woman at the Music Monday Bellevue Library event who was behaving violently and I was concerned for the performers’ and patrons’ safety, and wanted her escorted away. The officer on the other end sounded surprised, and said that someone was already on their way over, and would see to the problem. I thanked him and we hung up.
I went back over to the snack and information table to wait for the police to arrive. A minute or so later, the attacking woman’s husband, appeared wearing a day-glow neon green T-shirt. Frighteningly, he immediately descended upon my table much like the woman had, but amazingly, perhaps a hundred times more violently. He began to scream in my face with an unbelievable and very scary amount of rage. He unleashed a stream of profanity at me, calling me names and using the f-word almost constantly, insulting me personally and raging against the Music Monday event with the unbridled hatred of a mad man.
Jon and I immediately asked him to leave, again and again, but instead he kept screaming at us, and at one point lashed out physically, knocking the “Bucks for Bellevue” donations jug off the table – this was just the first of his many physical attacks. The donations jar went rolling down the plaza as people began to stare at the commotion. Jon and I told him he was out of line and needed to leave, in response to which he lunged forward and trashed the entire snack table. Snacks and drinks went flying everywhere as he continued to roar at us in his rage. Jon told me later that the man had actually threatened him out of nowhere, saying, “I could take you out with one hit!” when he initially came to the table. Once more, Jon told the man to leave, and to my disbelief, the man physically assaulted Jon, grabbing him by the collar and shoulders and pushing him back about 10 feet, as men from the crowd immediately gathered to pull the attacking man off of Jon. Thankfully, Jon says he was not hurt.
Two officers arrived, and several people gathered to explain what had happened. The female officer told the attacking man to leave immediately, before they had to arrest him, which he did, thankfully, though the woman stayed behind to complain to the officers about the noise levels. A man emerged from the crowd and identified himself as a lawyer, telling the cops he had seen the whole thing, and the man’s actions legally constituted an assault on Jon’s person. The officers seemed to take this statement seriously, and nodded in consideration at this information.
The female officer asked me to step away as she took the angry woman’s testimony, and I agreed and went back over to the table, which by now Jon had set back up. A little later, the angry woman left, and the female officer asked me to describe what had happened. I gave her the story, explaining I had no objections whatsoever to lowering the volume, and had never wanted nor imagined this kind of trouble coming to Music Mondays. She was very understanding, and said that she had told the couple not to return to Music Mondays, on penalty of being arrested if they did so.
She advised me to turn the volume down for now, which I instructed Ed Carine to do and he complied, and the officer said she saw no reason for us to have to be shut down for a noise violation or anything that drastic. She recommended getting a permit for next year just in case, especially in light of this occurrence, which I thoroughly agreed was a good idea. She acknowledged that we were within the legal time-limits for high noise levels, though she recommended going to the Town Council first thing tomorrow morning, explaining the situation and seeing what they said. She said it might be too late to get a permit for the last few Music Mondays of this year, but depending on the advice of the Town Council, we might be able to perform these last few concerts anyway, perhaps with some kind of noise-regulating stipulations (for example, going acoustic, or perhaps just keeping our decibel level down to a given volume as per the Town Council’s recommendation, whatever that might be).
Check back next week for the final installment about the violence at Music Monday and how the situation is being resolved.