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On July 26, 2010, the city of St.Louis Park, MN put an end to 12 years of live music house concerts in the home of Al Boyce and Beth Williams, claiming they were a "commercial activity."  

For the 64 shows they have hosted, Al and Beth have never profitied in any way from these shows, in fact, at every concert they themselves have paid the same suggested donation to the artists as all of their guests.  

We have a meeting with SLP City Manager Tom Harmening scheduled on Thursday, August 12 to discuss our case; if that does not go well, we may need to formally apply to the Board of Zoning Appeals, or possibly even get the law amended to include "house concerts" as legal. 


DON'T LET THE MUSIC DIE!   Save the Old Kitchen Rug Brewery House Concert Series!  Please take a moment to sign our petition NOW - by doing so, you are asking the city of St.Louis Park to rescind their decision to kill live music house concerts.   (If you read this petition AFTER August 12, please sign anyway - in case we have to continue the fight.)

Al Boyce and Beth Williams
St.Louis Park, MN

PS - I have been informed that this petition service pops up a request for a $2 paypal donation - this money does NOT go to us - it goes to the website, and you NEED NOT PAY IT.  Just close the pop-up....

...Please continue reading for more background on the situation....

For background on house concerts in general, see the article written by Star Tribune Music Editor Jon Bream on July 17, 2010, a week before this all began:


The city cited the additional complaints:

* "You are requiring admission to be paid..."
We have always asked for a "donation" for the music, and required that checks be made payable to the artist.  We think of this more as "cost-sharing" than as an admission fee.  We have always paid the same fee to the artist as our guests.

* "You are... selling liquor."
Al is a homebrewer, and by Federal law, permitted to GIVE AWAY his product to his friends.  If all the money donated to the concert goes to the artist, how would this be considered a sale of liquor?

* "The concert is open to the general public:."
Al and Beth maintain an email mailing list of people who have ASKED to be informed about these concerts, and that is our method of sending invitations. At our recent show, the band posted our show on their website (even though we had asked that they not do so.)  We were not aware of this, as soon as we learned of it, they removed the entry to their schedule.

* "You are conducting a series of concerts."
True - we even call it a series.  This somehow exacerbates the situation with the city.

Under what ordinance are we in violation?
In an August 5th email, City Community Development Director Kevin Locke stated:
"As stated in Sec 36-3.(b) (2)a, uses not listed are not allowed. Holding concerts is not a use expressly allowed in single family zoning districts and therefore should not occur in single family zoning districts. "    

So unless an activity is in the ordinance - IT IS NOT ALLOWED!  Very frightening!

My brother-in-law Rick suggested another scenario that would violate this ordinance- can you think of others?
You order a series of Pay-Per-View football games on TV one season and invite your friends and co-workers - putting a notice on your work bulletin board.   You buys a case of beer to share, and you provides snacks.   You request that everyone gives you $5 to help cover the cost of the Pay-Per-View.  SHOULD THIS BE ILLEGAL TOO?

It fits all of the city's critera:
* A "commercial activity" - "charging admission"
* Not expressly allowed in the ordinance
* Not typical for a single-family residence
* "Selling" alcohol
* Open to the "general public"

Is live music ever allowed in St.Louis Park? 
Yes - according to Kevin:
 "even a party with live music ... are allowed to occur because they are considered to be activities “incidental” to life in a single family home."
We like to think our music series is SPECIAL, and an asset to the Lenox neighborhood of St.Louis Park.  Because it's not "typical," the city feels they need to shut it down.

What else can I do?

* Consider writing a letter or email to Gary Morrison, Assistant Zoning Administrator, or giving the city a call to share your opinion:
Gary Morrison - , 952-924-2592
* Share this petition site with friends, and ask them to sign the petition:

How many house concerts to you hold?
We usually have six shows a year - four of them are in our basement, and two are in our back yard.  We have held 64 shows since 1999 - were you at one of them?

1/22/1999 Dennis Warner
9/29/1999 Susan Werner
2/23/2000 Small Potatoes
5/27/2000 Pat Donohue
7/15/2000 Johnsmith
10/7/2000 Michael Smith
11/8/2000 Darryl Purpose
1/24/2001 Mark Dvorak
3/4/2001 Annie Gallup
5/12/2001 Sugar Kings
7/21/2001 Middle Spunk Creek Boys
9/8/2001 Cajun Hot Soles
11/10/2001 Kevin Bowe and the Okemah Prophets
1/26/2002 Johnsmith
3/23/2002 Nicky Mehta
6/22/2002 Paul Sprawl
9/14/2002 Sterling/Bowe Band
11/9/2002 Cam Waters
2/8/2003 Prudence Johnson
4/5/2003 Todd Menton
5/17/2003 Small Potatoes
10/11/2003 Sterling/Bowe Band
11/15/2003 Dave Stoddard
2/28/2002 Laura MacKenzie
3/28/2004 Mad Agnes
6/12/2004 Chris Jones
7/24/2004 Caroline Aiken
9/18/2004 Sterling/Bowe Band
11/13/2004 Paul Sprawl
2/12/2005 Dave Moore
4/9/2005 Anne Hills
5/21/2006 Bill Miller
7/30/2005 Becky Schlegel Band
9/17/2005 Sterling/Bowe Band
10/1/2005 Wendy Waldman
10/15/2005 Dreamsicles
11/12/2005 Cozy Sheridan
2/4/2006 Cliff Eberhardt
4/8/2006 Cam Waters
5/20/2006 Craig Carothers
7/29/2006 Mike and Amy Finders Band
9/23/2006 Mick Sterling Band
11/11/2006 Papa John and the Hot Club of East Lake St
2/3/2007 Peter Lang
4/14/2007 Don Conoscenti
5/12/2007 Rod Picott
7/21/2007 Todd Menton with Drew Miller and Dave
9/22/2007 Mick Sterling Band
11/10/2007 Bill Geezy
2/2/2008 Willie McManus
4/12/2008 Nicky and the RueMates
5/10/2008 Dave Stoddard
7/26/2008 Michael Monroe
9/20/2008 Mick Sterling Band
11/8/2008 Ridley Bent
2/28/2009 Claudia Schmidt
4/11/2009 Lehto and Wright
5/9/2009 Eric Taylor
8/29/2009 Willie McManus
11/14/2009 Mary Flower
2/27/2010 Craig Carothers
4/10/2010 Jim Pos
t5/22/2010 Jeff Ray
7/24/2010 Boiled in Lead

Scheduled - and perhaps eliminated:
The Irresistables
Dakota Dave Hull


Al Boyce and Beth Williams


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