Cops Want Baltimore Club Closed

An allegedly oversold hip-hop concert at a Baltimore nightclub turned ugly when some 300 locked-out ticketholders caused a melee that required 50 police, including a tactical unit and helicopter, to quell early Feb. 19.

In turn, Baltimore police made an emergency petition Feb. 25 to the city’s liquor board asking that it immediately suspend the Velvet Rope’s alcohol license. The board’s chairman responded that it could only schedule a hearing on the matter and the club could remain open until that time.

Several hundred people reportedly gathered outside the nightclub to see southern rapper Yo Gotti, and some attempted to storm the doors, with others throwing street cones and signs. Security guards “indiscriminately” sprayed Mace into the crowd, according to the Baltimore Sun.

Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told the paper that “without police intervention, it posed a public safety risk to hundreds” of people in the area.

Velvet Rope managing partner Tracye Stafford told the Baltimore Sun that the show was a “promoter’s nightmare” resulting from “the promoter selling too many tickets and not being honest.”

The concert promoter wasn’t identified, but local officials are apparently not happy with Stafford and others running the business.
“The citations and response of the Velvet Rope nightclub posed a significant public safety risk to our community,” Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick Bealefield said in a statement. “We will not tolerate any reckless business owners who put public safety at risk.”

Capacity for the show was supposedly capped at 600 tickets between $25 and $45 each, but it’s unclear how many tickets were actually sold. Stafford told the Sun the club, housed in Baltimore’s historic Mercantile Safe Deposit and Trust Co. building, has a capacity of 949. The Velvet Rope, which opened last summer, is not listed in Pollstar’s venue database.