by Paul Bowers
Now that's not so clear.
This afternoon, the City Paper received a call from Charleston Police Department spokesman Charles Francis, who said our story announcing the change of venue was inaccurate. According to Francis, the owner of the Music Farm had called the police department to say that the Music Farm would not be hosting the event. (The City Paper had tried to contact the Music Farm Monday, but calls were not returned.)
So we called the Music Farm and got owner Marshall Lowe on the phone. Lowe said that Skinful's organizers and lawyers were meeting with police and city officials "trying to get clearance to be able to do this event." He said he had not signed a contract to host Skinful, but that "as long as everybody's on the same page and agrees to it, it's something that we would explore for sure."
Next we contacted David "Big Hair" Brisacher, one of Skinful's organizers, who said that the police department's claim was "news to me."
"I don't know legally what grounds the city would have to shut that event down at the Music Farm," Brisacher said. Brisacher said that he was staying out of negotiations with city officials, but that Skinful's lawyer at the Williams & Walsh law firm was arranging meetings with police and city officials. Attorney Lauren Williams was not available for comment.
So we called the police department again and asked Francis to check with Chief Greg Mullen and see if any sort of meeting had been arranged between Skinful's attorneys and police. "I just spoke with the chief, and we're not meeting with anybody," Francis said. "He says we've spoken with the owner of the Music Farm, and he tells us it's not happening at the Music Farm ... There's no meeting, there's no plans, there's not going to be a meeting."
When asked if the event would require additional police presence beyond what is normally required for a concert at the Music Farm, Francis replied, "We're not going to go down that road because it's not going to be held there."
A spokesman for the City of Charleston said she was also unaware of any negotiations being held between city officials and Skinful's legal representation.
The Music Farm was Plan E for Skinful's organizers. Plans A through D were at Dolphin Cove Marina in Charleston; on property in Meggett, S.C.; in Poplar Grove in Dorchester County; and at a historic plantation on Edisto Island. Plans fell through at all four locations due to local opposition, noise ordinances, and zoning issues, according to Brisacher.
"It's a sad day in Charleston that they're trying to tighten the screws so hard," Brisacher says. "This is a charity fundraiser where people wear costumes, and it's gotten blown out of proportion."