At the end of March, punk music venue and multipurpose space Miami Chum Bucket opened with the chaotic roar of powerviolence virtuosos Gorilla Pussy and the wild churning of an inaugural, non-stop mosh pit. The moment marked the culmination of over a year of fundraising.
But less than two months after it opened, the punk oasis came under fire and its future is still uncertain. After the jump you'll find five chunks of advice for Miami Chum Bucket.
Crossfade supports Miami Chum Bucket. First and foremost, the venue purports to be an all-ages spot. (More on that below.) If they can make it work, that would be an immense victory for not only South Florida punks, but anyone under 18 who's interested in seeing live music. Secondly, Chum Bucket represents the blossoming of a long dormant demographic in Miami -- namely activist-oriented, DIY punk. And while we don't like all of the music and don't necessarily agree with the politics behind the venue, we recognize it as a precious resource to a scene with very few. Simply put, it strengthens Miami's undernourished punk community. And subsequently, it strengthens the overall cultural capital of our city.
So the following list comes from a place of genuine recommendation and well-meaning advice. These are things we really do believe will keep the Chum Bucket open and help it thrive.
This one stings the most, so we should just get it out of the way. The current location -- wedged right in the middle of a residential neighborhood and next to an elementary school -- screamed "HEAT UP!!!" from the second we first saw it. Also, though situated in an eastern part of Allapattah, the spot is still too far away from the much mythologized Biscayne Corridor. It's just far enough to be out of the way and it's not particularly near anything. There are lots of warehouses and multipurpose spaces from downtown up to 79th Street, all along Biscayne and over into the lower NW avenues. So why not capitalize on the already existing arts and entertainment warehouse district bubbling just a little farther east?
2. Underage Drinking
This one stings too. Maybe they'll all sting. Chum Bucket models itself after 924 Gilman, and we believe that is a worthy model. The venue has been open since 1986 and it's a storied punk rock institution. But great deal of its success is because 924 Gilman has a strict no drinking or drugs policy. Somehow, despite it's membership cards, posted rules, and volunteer staff, Chum Bucket failed to include this particular provision in its charter.
Like we said above: We support an all-ages punk venue. But you're not going to keep a defacto all-ages venue open with the numbers of attendees that Chum Bucket draws. The spot needs to be truly all-ages -- as in, strictly enforcing no substances -- if it's going to work. In fact, Chum Bucket organizers are extremely lucky that the cops who shut down 305 Fest didn't go a step further and burn everyone involved for the massive amount of illegal drunking going down. No substances wouldn't only help the venue by keeping the authorities from shutting it down. It would also garner public support, and help Chum Bucket work with the city and other potential benefactors. Which leads to our next pointer...
With a nice central location and a strict all-ages policy, Chum Bucket will be quite the legit organization. The crew has already demonstrated incredible fundraising prowess. Its audience is massive and enthusiastic. All of this makes Chum Bucket a perfect candidate for the same kind of arts/entertainment funding so much of Miami depends on. Take a look at the Knight Arts Challenge grant or the Miami New Times Masterminds grant. Chum Bucket would definitely qualify as a worthy applicant and it could truly use the supplemental income. The grants mentioned before are two of the more popular in South Florida. But a little research could lead to plenty of other options.
4. Get Off Facebook
This is advice we could all follow. While Facebook seems to be humanity's new cultural matrix, it would be worthwhile for Chum Bucket to drum up some kind of web presence outside the Social Network. What about people without Facebook accounts? If they want to learn about the venue, they've got to sign up. Which is a weird stipulation for a punk venue to pose: "You gotta get on Facebook if you want to keep up!" Of course, the Bucket shouldn't get off Facebook entirely. But a real MiamiChumBucket.com could be kinda cool as an archive of events, a resource with FAQs and policies, and maybe even a message board that could enhance the venue's operations.
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5. Keep Booking Awesome Punk Shows
We need to give credit where it's due. Chum Bucket has done an excellent job of bringing a steady stream of out-of-town artists to South Florida. Anyone from Miami is an expert in the region's isolation. And Crossfade heartily welcomes any fresh discursive inspiration that connects us to the rest of the country. Keep up the good work.