The fate of all-ages, underground music venue The Bel-Tower is up in the air after a weekend in which the club was shut down by local authorities and its loyal fans began a campaign to save the Belmont Avenue space.
The Bel-Tower — which holds about 100 people for shows and is at 69 E. Belmont Ave. — had a meeting at noon today to talk to Fresno PD and local Alcoholic Beverage Control. Afterward, the club beckoned its devotees for a discussion about the venue’s future.
We’ll probably hear specifics from those meetings soon, but it’s already sounds like The Bel-Tower will need to get the proper permits to operate as a venue. Management is anticipating some repair costs to get the place up to code, as well.
Don’t take that to mean nobody cares. Quite the contrary, actually. As you can see in the above video, the venue is a meeting place for young punk/hardcore fans. It’s a place to see cheap shows put on by local and touring bands. And it’s one of the few all-ages venues in town –legitimate or otherwise.
Here’s more of what The Bel-Tower is all about, per its Indie GoGo page:
The Bel-Tower is an all ages space in Fresno, CA. We opened on October 12, 2010 and have already made it further than we ever thought we could, given the type of issues DIY venues face every day. Our space is owned entirely by women and people of color, and all of us are students. It is located in a less-than-perfect neighborhood, one that the city has all but forgotten. It’s intended to be completely free of racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, violence, and disrespect of any kind. We’ve spent thousands of dollars and countless hours over the past year or so improving our building, our relationships with the people and businesses in the area, our ways of doing business, and the quality of our shows, but now, we’re in trouble.
Until now, we’ve been able to do things with very little attention from any form of law enforcement. However, on February 3, we were shut down by the Fresno PD and the ABC (despite the fact that we are an alcohol-free space) for lack of permits despite the fact that we operate as a non-profit (with no tax exempt status yet) private club with membership. Therefore, we can no longer do shows, which pay the bulk of our rent and utilities, and we need thousands of dollars to get our building up to code and get the necessary paperwork and permits to keep our space going.