Where Kids and Booze Mix

"I just got a call from the agent who has MC Lars ["Hot Topic Is Not Punk Rock"]," says promoter Sulo King. "They were going to book him at 'Canes, but they decided to put him in the Jumping Turtle instead because we are all-ages." King says he books the only music showcase in the county that can mix drinkers and nondrinkers on the same floor.

Downtown's House of Blues is the only other venue in San Diego that mixes minors and drinkers, but the two age groups are kept on separate floors.

At the Jumping Turtle in San Marcos, the security crew must ensure drinks aren't passed between drinkers and under-age kids who stand on either side of a yellow line on the floor.

A competing promoter says, "The reason they got to do it is because they are so small; it slipped under the radar. Plus, they are in North County, and things are different up there. But they are flirting with disaster. Eventually some 21-year-old guy will slide a drink to some 17-year-old hottie, and she's going to pick it up. Plus, some kids told me it's a clusterfuck with their security, that their [security] have never seen hardcore dancers before."

"I'm working on that," says King, who believes the only downside he faces in bringing a national act to the Jumping Turtle is that the club requires those under 18 to leave by 10 p.m.; so, headlining bands must be done by 10.

"I would like to go to the city and ask for a change [in curfew]. Even if it could be 11 p.m., that hour would be crucial."

Sgt. Rich Williams of the sheriffs' San Marcos substation says his department would not recommend the city extend its 10 p.m. curfew because in order to comply with the countywide 11 p.m. curfew, there needs to be a "buffer" hour to allow minors time to get home.

"Two weeks ago there was an incident at the Jumping Turtle where a minor got hurt in a mosh pit by someone over 21," says Williams. "That does not bode well for them trying to get their hours extended."

A curfew extension would enable King to book more national acts, yet the club is handicapped by a 250-person capacity. An all-age venue such as the Epicentre in Mira Mesa holds 500; Soma can fit up to 2400.

"I was once told by [other promoters] that booking national acts north of Solana Beach was a waste of time. They told me I would never make it in San Marcos. I started in May 2005, and within six months I started getting national acts."

MC Lars appears there on February 6.

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