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Remember that rave bust a couple weeks ago?

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Marisa Demarco

Between 50 and 100 people gathered in support of Fusion Factory Downtown this evening. The old Banana Joe’s building was the site of a so-called “rave” bust in mid-December.

But business owner Joe Hernandez takes issue with the term “rave.” To Hernandez, who owned and operated all-ages rock venue The Compound for years, a rave is an illegal party in an abandoned building with no safety measures and no security. He says he’s been leasing the building for about a month, has a business license, and spent thousands on inspections, a stage, a sprinkler system and fire alarms. The night of the bust, he adds, he had hired a security force that was wanding patrons upon entry.

His goal with the Fusion Factory is to support a variety of music.”The reason I moved from my little place to this big place is because I want to be a part of the Downtown music scene.”

Officials found no drugs and no alcohol, Hernandez says. But he was given a misdemeanor nuisance citation. He’ll be in court mid-January. After the raid, the media also made a point of mentioning “teenage girls in lingerie and bikinis,” he says. Hernandez, who’s a parent himself, says he’s not going to tell someone else’s kid how to dress. “Yet they [media] took pictures of these kids and put them up. I think that’s grotesque. If I was their parents, I would be so not cool with that.”

He says he’s worked hard over the years to develop a good reputation with parents and kids. Parents are allowed into his events free and are welcome to stay for the duration, no charge, he says.

The demonstration tonight was put together by 18-year-old Dyanna Garcia and 17-year-old Danielle Chavez. Hernandez was advised to steer clear of this protest, lest it be viewed as him instigating another unlawful assembly.“It sucks that I can’t go down and shake hands with everyone and say, Thank you for allowing me to be a part of the music scene and for your support.”

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