Can't Beat Your Feet Here

Violence concerns stomp out go go show plans in Prince George's County

Thousands of people planning to attend a go go concert and fashion show in Prince George's County on Wednesday night will have to find somewhere else to go go.

County leaders' wish to cancel the event, billed as the "Pre-Thanksgiving Swag Festival Pt. 2" at the Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro, Md., has been granted.

If you're disappointed, that's one less thing you have in common with County Executive Jack Johnson, who was apparently on the phone all night with Maryland-National Capital Park Police trying to stop the event.

"My understanding is that the show for [Wednesday] night is cancelled, and I'm really pleased about that," Johnson said Tuesday night. But he's not the one who initially set out to silence the horns and congas.

County Police Chief Roberto Hylton wrote a letter asking the Maryland-National Park Police not to sponsor the show, which was arranged by Vic Richardson of Big Vic Promotions. Fifty park police officers were going to serve as Swag Festival security.

According to Hylton's letter, last year he banned any of his officers from participating in any Big Vic events "because of the level of violence and deviance that was promoted and executed" at those shows. He also pointed a finger at go go act Total Control Band, or TCB, which was to be featured at the Thanksgiving eve show.

"[A year ago] we had a homicide involving a go go [event] in the county," Hylton said. "Since we've decreased [those events], violence has been significantly reduced in Prince George's County."

Whether or not cracking down on go go concerts is truly a key to violence prevention, the show's promoters were understandably upset over the prospect of cancellation just 24 hours before the event.

"We followed all the guidelines, we have all the park police in place with a game plan," Vic Richardson said before he had gotten official word that the plug was being pulled. "I don't think they should cancel."

Now Big Vic Promotions is planning to sue Prince George's County police and the Show Place Arena over the cancellation. In the meantime, those who bought tickets should be able to get a refund.

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