B90 accused of organising concerts, including Behemoth, without required permits

An indictment has been filed in Gdańsk claiming that a Polish venue, B90, has been organising mass events without the required permits. The venue is believed to be in violation of Polish laws in relation to the Act of Safety of Mass Events, starting with Behemoth‘s performance in October 2016 as one of the eight concerts listed in the indictment.

Co-owner Arkadiusz Hronowski is noted by Trójmiasto Wyborcza as remarking (translated by Google Translate); “We do not agree with the charges, let the case be resolved by an independent court.” The charges were filed against fellow co-owner Ewa Hronowski and in the same article, the publication noted that they are potentially facing up to eight years imprisonment.

The news was initially reported by Radio Gdańsk yesterday. However attention outside of Poland was raised by Behemoth front-man Adam “Nergal” Darski, whom lambasted the indictment on his official Facebook page. “Another victims of so called ‘good change’ in Poland. Now it’s B90, probably the BEST concert venue in Poland face the accusations. Theatres, artists, art activists, directors, writers, creative elite, an [intellectual] driving force of this country seems [to be the target of our most beloved totalitarian government.]”

Another victims of so called „good change” in Poland. Now it’s B90, probably the BEST concert venue in Poland face the…

Posted by Adam Nergal Darski on Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Behemoth‘s performance in October 2016 at the B90 is one of eight concerts which is part of the indictment and investigation conducted earlier this year. Police officers determined that the number of spectators during the event exceeded 1,000 and concluded that the concert did not adhere to laws around the organising of “mass events”. In accordance with the law, organisers are required to obtain permission from the Mayor of Gdańsk to host the event. B90 is reported by some Polish news outlets as believed to be limited to hosting events not exceeding 500 people.

However the owners of B90 speaking to Trójmiasto Wyborcza stated that the venue is a “professional concert hall”. Prosecutors contend that the venue is a “pub” in an article published in August.

The difference matters due to the text in the Law of Mass Events (Ustawa o bezpieczeństwie imprez masowych), which offers exemptions to particular types of venues such as cinemas, museums, and libraries as well as theatres, operas, orchestras and types of venues catering for music.

Using Google Translate, the law reads in Article 3, Section 1 and Point A of the act reads;

1) Mass Event – this is the meaning of the event mass-artistic and entertainment, mass a sporting event, including a football match as mentioned in points 2-4, except for events:

a) organised in theatres, operas, operettas, philharmonic orchestras, cinemas, museums, libraries, cultural houses and art galleries or in others similar objects
b) organised in schools and institutions by the managers of these schools and establishments,
c) organised in the framework of competition sports children and youth,
d) sports organised for athletes disabled,
e) general sport of a recreational nature active, free and public, organised on open ground,
f) closed by employers for their employees – if the event is appropriate

The owner further added in August that the venue has gone through all the necessary checks (translated using Google Translate). “We checked all the services: fire brigade, police, construction supervision. The evaluation by these services was positive. There were even opinions of we wish ‘every club is as prepared as B90’.”

Behemoth has had been at the forefront of a number of legal battles over the years. The most recent of which was last week, when a court file charges against the band’s “The Republic of the Unfaithful” artwork. The artwork is alleged to have defiled the national emblem of Poland, which is a criminal offence according to the country’s Penal Code.

Op-Ed: Why is Behemoth being sued for The Republic of the Unfaithful art?