North Texas Daily

Following Jagoe closure, Denton’s DIY music community takes a step back, plans to stop sexual misconduct

Following Jagoe closure, Denton’s DIY music community takes a step back, plans to stop sexual misconduct

Live music venue Jagoe House has shut down after allegations of sexual misconduct.

Following Jagoe closure, Denton’s DIY music community takes a step back, plans to stop sexual misconduct
January 28
22:58 2018

Denton’s house show venues are taking a short break from hosting DIY music events as they form new ways to lessen sexual misconduct at venues, organizers said. The hiatus came about following local favorite Jagoe House closing in early January due to allegations of sexual assault on the premises.

“Keeping an open dialogue about assault and a clear stance on the intolerance of it makes people more aware of their behavior,” said Jacob “Cub” Moore of Liber-DIY Records, former house show venue and one of the hosts of last year’s Band Together Denton.

Some of the ways Denton venues plan to make their environments safer are by increasing the number of hosts at each venue and making them more easily identifiable and accessible, as well as by manning the door and ID-ing for visible alcohol. Denton venues urge guests to come to them with any concerns and to respect each other and the houses.

More regular shows will resume in February, venue operators said, but in the meantime, the local music scene is seeing some changes.

In recent weeks, Denton’s house show scene has been stagnant. For many, the future of the DIY music scene in Denton seems hazy, with some still mourning the loss of popular venue The Jagoe House.

Others see it as a chance to improve.

“We didn’t consider shutting down because we didn’t see [Jagoe] as the destruction of Denton DIY and house shows like so many others saw it,” said UNT alumnus Dan Ceske of Denton house show venue Casa de Monstros. “We saw it as an opportunity to examine what we do for the safety of our audience to promote a healthier DIY community.”

Organizers at local venue House of God said they have been spacing out events and looking for ways to be more cautious.

UNT bio-medical engineering senior and singer in Denton band Prefontaine Matt Snoddy, 21, of House of God created an anonymous board on Facebook for members of the DIY music community to share and offer ways the venues can improve. He also created a private page for house show venue owners to communicate with each other and share information about problematic people who often hop from show to show.

Organizers from venues around Denton shared their advice for other local venues with the Daily.

“Don’t be afraid to speak up and be proactive,” UNT alumna and Casa de Monstros manager Maritza Vega said.

Another former host for Band Together Denton 2017, Chandler Dunn of The Yellow Sub, said, “My advice as a [former] host would be to stay alert and not just enjoy the show because you’ve got a responsibility to make sure everyone in your venue is safe.”

Dylan Tarver, UNT marketing junior and manager of Fannin- The Holding Cell, said the Denton house show scene allows him to take what he learned in university and apply it in the community.

As a former Boy Scout, he said he tries to be prepared and likes to have someone trained in CPR and first aid and have a first aid kit accessible at shows in anticipation of possible problems.

“People need to understand the houses aren’t businesses,” Tarver said. “Ultimately, you’re in a house full of strangers. Stay coherent and stay with friends.”

Snoddy said one of the biggest problems within the DIY community is underage drinking and drugs. Another problem is venues booking musicians or allowing guests with a history of abusive behavior, in his opinion.

For Grapevine resident Hannah Israel, these problems were realized on Sept. 15, 2016 at an event at Jagoe House.

Although she had previously attended an event at the venue, Israel stated that night felt less safe than past visits. The show that night was the first show run by Jagoe’s new organizer, Ryan Gordon.

“It felt like more of a party than any show I’ve ever been to,” Israel recounted.

Before her alleged assault, Israel said she remembered actively looking for someone associated with Jagoe in an attempt to find water but being unable to find anyone either inside or outside. After the incident was brought to light, other venues reached out to Israel. Jagoe did not, Israel said.

“I just wish they had acknowledged, not me personally, but that there was a problem so that we could work on fixing it,” Israel said of Jagoe House management. “It could have been a situation to learn and set precedent for other shows.”

Israel went on to say the biggest problem within the house show scene is that sexual misconduct is not addressed.

“You can drink without sexually assaulting someone, and you can smoke weed without being a predator,” Israel said. “You have to pay attention and encourage people to report it. Venues aren’t the enemy. Lots of venues have done a good job creating a safe environment that fosters a love of music.”

Israel revealed members of the community have reached out to her, many sharing similar stories to her own. She also received some criticism from those who believe the police will now intervene in the DIY music community or that she has a vendetta against Jagoe.

“If by speaking out I prevent what happened to me happening to at least one other person, it’ll have been worth it,” Israel said. “Don’t be afraid to live afterward. Go to shows — get to know the venue owners and bring a group of friends.”

In addition to changes at venues, organizers encouraged more bystander intervention and accountability.

“We’re going to do everything we can for you, but you’re also responsible for yourself, your friends and the strangers around you,” Ceske said. “DIY events are special that way. DIY isn’t a scene. It’s a community.”

Featured Image: Live music venue Jagoe House shut down recently over allegations of sexual misconduct. Mallory Cammarata 

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Katharine Beal

Katharine Beal

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