R.I. Hip-Hop Concert Scuttled

A May 29th hip-hop concert scheduled for the 14,500-capacity Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, R.I., that was canceled after city officials and the promoter disagreed on a condition of the event license may have been doomed from the beginning.

Providence police reportedly weren’t thrilled when officials green-lighted the concert March 7th, a stop on The Street Dreamz Tour featuring Jim Jones, Young Jeezy, Lil’ Wayne and others. Police warned officials that Jones and a couple of other performers have ties to the Bloods gang, which could attract violence from Crips in the area.

Then a local DJ put out flyers saying Jones would be signing autographs before the show at a local clothing store and make an appearance at a nightclub after the show.

The Board of Licenses then pulled the permit to Lowell Williams of CL500 Entertainment March 14th because the artists would not agree to wait 12 hours to collect the rest of their fee. That stipulation was added to discourage the performers from appearing at after-parties or promotions.

Dunkin’ Donuts Executive Director Lawrence Lepore said the board’s request was beyond what other promoters have been asked to do.

"The opinion of the Board of Licenses was quite clear. The venue was more than capable of doing the show in a safe manner," Lepore told Pollstar. "We went to [the board] with our attorneys on behalf of the promoter and said it was an unfair burden and also set a very bad precedent for doing business in the city. But it did not go in our favor."

Lapore said the local DJ apparently had an agreement with Jones to do the appearances, but the artist later signed an affidavit for the board that said he would not. Despite that assurance, board officials wanted Williams to be held responsible for the touring artists keeping a low profile.

"There was nothing [Williams] could do to prove to the board he had control over what the artists would do after, nor should he. I don’t know of any other promoter who had been burdened with that responsibility," he said. "The board made it clear they were only concerned with public safety. They felt there was no way to protect the public from something happening."

He added that the Dunkin’ Donuts Center was "in the middle of the ruckus" between Lil’ Kim and 50 Cent back in 2004 but handled a crowd of about 11,000 at that time with no incident.

"These shows are difficult to do, we acknowledge that," Lepore said. "[But] there are a number of law-abiding citizens who like hip-hop. They have every right to come and see a show."

About 700 tickets priced at $40, $60 and $70 had been sold in two days, he said.