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Sarno stops all ages 'Wrecking Ball' party

Date: 8/9/2010

Aug. 9, 2010

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

SPRINGFIELD -- Party promoters True Productions said in their flyer promoting an all-ages rave at the Paramount Theater "that they can bust a down a building, but they can't break our spirit."

The city can, however, close the party before it opens.

At press time, neither the owners of the Paramount Theater or promoters True Productions have commented on the cease and desist letter issued by Mayor Domenic Sarno blocking the party at the historic downtown theater designed to note the demolition of the former Asylum nightclub scheduled for Aug. 21.

The letter was mailed Aug. 3 and must also be hand delivered.

In the letter, Assistant City Solicitor Nathan LaValle, stated "in order to conduct such an event under a pouring license, licensees are required to obtain a city of Springfield Special Event Permit from the Springfield entertainment license granting authority."

The granting authority is the mayor and no such application has been filed.

"They know what the procedure is," Sarno told Reminder Publications.

Paramount co-owners Michael Barrasso and Stephen Stein had previously contested Sarno's ordinance that requires venues planning to host all age activities with the sale of alcohol to apply for entertainment licenses for the event. Sarno has been opposed to "18-plus" events.

The party, "Wrecking Ball," was, according to flyers distributed around the city as well as the True Productions Web site, to pay tribute to the Asylum nightclub, a location in the 1990s where controversial all-night raves took place. The party on Aug. 21 was to start at 4 p.m. and go until midnight. All ages were to be admitted.

The party was then to continue at the Windsor Lounge, Ballroom and Hotel in Windsor Locks, Conn. until 5:30 p.m. There one had to be 18 years old to be admitted.

Alcohol would be sold at both events.

"What good comes of that?" Sarno asked and noted the two-location party would encourage young people under the influence of alcohol to drive from one venue to another.

Sarno has long been opposed to raves, and noted he worked against them as both a member of the district attorney's staff and as a city councilor.

"The event invitation appears to be a rave style event extended to hundreds of young individuals from Springfield and surrounding communities and the only information the city has about this event is the information contained on the flyer," Sarno said. "The city put the Under 21 event policy in place to ensure public safety is a priority."

He added stated, "As of today, individuals who planned to attend the Springfield portion of this event should know that the event will not take place."

If the appropriate application is filed with the city it will be reviewed, he said.

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