Scott Piernot, owner of the recently closed Middleton music venue Scatz, says he's ready to stop booking hip-hop acts if the city of Middleton reinstates his liquor license. Piernot voluntarily relinquished his license in March.
Two people were arrested in the Scatz parking lot at 1:45 a.m. on Feb. 25 following a hip-hop event. The same two people were involved in a shooting on Deming Way earlier that night.
In a May 18 email to Mayor Kurt Sonnentag, Police Chief Brad Keil and members of the city council, Piernot wrote, "I made a huge business mistake to give a genre of music that clearly has a bad element of followers, a regular night on Thursday."
In his email, Piernot notes what he'll do differently if his liquor license is reinstated. He pledges to bring "mainstream acts" to the club. "Over 95% of what Scatz was doing was mainstream," writes Piernot.
I asked Piernot if he was committing to no longer hosting hip-hop events as a condition of getting his liquor license back. "There is oftentimes a bad element that follows the cutting edge of pop culture before it becomes more mainstream or matures," he says. "There are tremendously good people involved in the hip-hop community that are just as concerned about making a positive and safe contribution to art, culture and business."
But, Piernot says, "If the bad element that follows the cutting edge of culture is causing the powers that be to close good businesses, then yes, I'm committing not to have hip-hop. Given the history of bar closings because of this issue in Dane County, a business owner doesn't have much choice."