LA indie-rapper Busdriver (nee Regan Farquhar) only lasted about an hour at Harpers Ferry a week ago Tuesday, November 13, when he showed up to support his new RoadKillOvercoat on the Epitaph imprint Anti-. According to Busdriver, who was already in Bozeman, Montana when we caught up with him by phone, he was a bit “frazzled” from weeks of travel when he arrived, but nothing had prepared him or his crew for the treatment they received from club’s soundman.
“Here’s how it started,” he recounts. “I settled into the venue and, yeah, I was tired from driving all day. So the soundman approaches me and asks me what’s on the tech rider — you know, what we’re going to need for cords and microphones. I gave him a lose explanation and then sent him to my tech guy, Matt Alsberg. And I went upstairs to have something to eat. My tech guy tells him what we’re going to need and the soundman turns to him and says ‘Good thing there’s a white guy on your crew.” Or something like that.
After conferring with Alsberg, Busdriver corrects himself: “He actually said, ‘That’s why you gotta have a white guy on your crew.’ Matt asked him to repeat it, and he repeated it. He even went on to say that they had hired like six blacks or something but that they couldn’t hack it so they had to let them go. I mean, he was implying that because of the color of their skin, they couldn’t wrap their minds around anyting technical. So Matt texted me all this and that was it. We walked in, packed up, and left. The manager seemed to feel bad but the point is that this sound guy didn’t see anything wrong with what he said. And that was the problem.”
The club responded immediately, according to Harpers general manager Andrew Dolan. The soundman in question was immediately sent home, suspended, and then fired. Dolan and Harpers also released the following apology to Busdriver and the other acts on the bill, rapper Daedelus and AntiMC:
Busdriver (Regan), AntiMC & Daedelus,
I and Harpers Ferry, as a Staff and Club, owe you our sincerest apologies for events that unfolded on Tuesday Nov 13th here at Harpers Ferry. I am embarrassed that in this day and age people still think and act in this manner. After a few days to think about what transpired I am still in shock and completely overwhelmed. I can assure all of you that this is NOT Harpers Ferry. We have a zero tolerance policy for such behavior. We Employ, Book and do Business with ALL races and never once have we ever had a situation like the one on Tuesday. As for actions that we have taken since 5:00pm on Tuesday the 13th are as follows
• The sound man in question was suspended indefinitely on the spot and sent home before the band even left the venue.
• After gathering all the info from Regan, Sam, and the soundman he was fired the next morning.
• We have a staff meeting next week regarding our policy on racial sensitivity and appropriate behavior.
Regan, AntiMC & Daedelus, words cannot describe how sorry I am and I hope that you do not think ill upon Harpers Ferry as I can assure that what happened is not us and who we are as a club and staff. I welcome you guys back any time in the future to show you what a great venue and staff that we do have here.
My sincerest apologies,