By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
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So, where, then, should these events take place?
Hunt thinks the Etc. Etc. group's promoting the warehouse party at 1800 Lear St. was the right idea, hosting its event in a location far removed from potential resident complaints.
"To me, that's ideal," she says. "But it's not perfectly ideal because you don't want to isolate these things completely. Deep Ellum having these types of events is perfect." Also on her list: Downtown, the West End, Victory Park. The problem of course being that those are, by most accounts, the four least trafficked parts of town.
But at least it's something, right? At least it's a city official offering up an alternative and seeing the music scene's side of things.
"I don't think the city is necessarily supportive of these things," Hunt says, empathetically. "Everyone has a story that they have a feeling that there isn't support."
Unfortunately, like Kunkle, Hunt has no answer as to how to fix the problem. As much as she says she'd like to see the city help out with events like these—by appointing a neighborhood czar to deal with fickle associations, by making sure the city's instructions on its permits were clearer so that fewer events would get shut down, by educating both the permit office and event organizers on how to better work with one another—she knows that the city's hands are cuffed with its reported $190 million budget deficit.
"There are realities of cost," she says with a sigh. "If the world was perfect and the budget didn't suck balls—the upcoming budget is so sucky it makes my stomach turn—I would work on [these things]. I just honestly don't see that happening because of the budget crisis. If there was a way we could fit that in, I would be the first in line. But we don't have so many things—we don't even have prosecutors."
Hunt estimates that the city is a good two-to-three years off from getting to the point where it can allocate funds to support the music scene's attempts to attract crowds to its open community events.
Which pretty much brings things full circle. There doesn't seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel, no. Not for a few years, at least. These battles—tricky permit loopholes, pesky neighborhood association complaints, constant police interference, events being forced to take place far from sensible locales—aren't going anywhere. And unless the music scene wants to put its promising efforts of late on hold for a few years—and effectively killing itself off in the process—it really doesn't have any choice but to fight through these issues for the time being.
Which is neither encouraging, exciting, nor promising.
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