The City of San Diego helps pay rent on the Epicentre, the all-age venue in Mira Mesa that regularly hosts touring bands. David Prolux, youth program coordinator for the Epicentre, confirms that the City does help with the rent, but Harmonium, the nonprofit group that runs the Epicentre, pays all other operating costs.
Meanwhile, James "Big Daddy" Quitugua, a local promoter of rap shows, says, "If the City is willing to help out the kids in an upper-middle-class area, they should do something for the kids in Southeast San Diego. These kids who live in Skyline or Paradise Hills have nothing to do except go to a high school dance every two or three months."
Prolux says there was talk about opening an "Epicentre South," but nothing is planned.
Jimmie Slack, a spokesperson for Fourth District city councilmember Tony Young, says an all-age music venue for youth in Southeast San Diego would probably be supported by the city council, "but someone has to present [the city] with a specific proposal," the way Harmonium did in order to operate the Epicentre.
Quitugua says an all-age venue in Southeast SD would have to feature some hip-hop "...because that's what's popular among the kids."
What about the negative aspects of hip-hop?
"Not all hip-hop rap is negative. Some rock and heavy metal talks about suicide and devil worship and crazy stuff. Music is what moves kids. If there's a place for kids to rock, there should also be a place for kids in Southeast San Diego to have fun."
Another promoter who declined to be identified thinks the City should stay out of the underage hip-hop business.
"It is illegal in the city of San Diego for kids under the age of 18 to dance [at all-age shows]. What is the point of having a deejay if you can't dance? Occasionally the Epicentre brings in a deejay with hip-hop. That is a complete violation of every city ordinance. But the City is so swamped they don't enforce it. The Epicentre does not have a dance permit. I think the Epicentre gets away with it because it's next to a police station."
Quitugua just started Eight Mile, an every-other-Tuesday live hip-hop night at Shooterz in North Park. Mitchy Slick, Black Cotton, Network, Cricket, and Extended Music Family appear April 17.