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Multiple injuries in volatile US festival weekend

Two people have died and dozens were injured in a turbulent festival weekend in the United States.

At least 22 people were hurt in the early hours of yesterday morning after a gunman opened fire at a 24-hours arts festival in Trenton, New Jersey. Witnesses told TV station WPVI that attendees at Art All Night Trenton initially mistook the gunfire, which occurred at around 2.45 am on Sunday 17 June, for the sound of fireworks. “All of a sudden, my brother goes to me, ‘You hear that gunfire?’,” said local resident Angelo Nicolo. “I go, ‘It sounds like fireworks.’ He said, ‘No, that’s gunfire.’

“Next thing you know, we turn around and everybody’s running down the street. All hell broke loose.”

Around 1,000 people were believed to have been at the festival, held at the historic Roebling Wire Works venue in south Trenton, at the time of the shooting.

Police said the incident appeared to be part of a gang dispute and not related to terrorism. The suspected perpetrator, 33-year-old Tahaij Wells, who had just been released from prison, was killed by police officers.

Four victims were were left in a critical condition as a result of their wounds, said prosecutor Angelo Onofri – although three of them, including a 13-year-old boy, have, as of this morning, been upgraded to stable. The last person in critical condition is believed to be a suspect, while a 23-year-old man, Amir Armstrong, is in police custody on suspicion of firearms offences.

Attendees at Art All Night-Trenton initially mistook the gunfire for the sound of fireworks

In western Colorado, police are investigating after a man shot himself in the stomach – apparently by accident – at a country music festival in Mesa County.

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports that the 30-year-old man shot himself on Friday evening while attending the Country Jam festival, promoted by Townsquare/Madison Square Garden Company.

The shooting was an isolated incident, according to Mesa County sheriff’s office spokeswoman Megan Terlecky. “We believe it was accidental, but we’re still investigating,” she said, adding sheriffs are looking into how the gun came to be at the festival, which prohibits firearms and searches all bags.

Meanwhile, at Red Frog Events/Goldenvoice’s Firefly Music Festival – which has taken place at Dover International Speedway, in Dover, Delaware, since 2012 – a 20-year-old woman died after being found unresponsive in the campsite early on Sunday morning.

According to WDEL-FM, the cause of 20-year-old Caroline Friedman’s death is not yet down, but authorities have largely ruled out foul play.

Arctic Monkeys, Eminem and Kendrick Lamar headlined Firefly 2018, which ran from Thursday 14 to Sunday 17 June.


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.art, TLD for “world’s creative community”, launches

With seemingly no end in sight to the dispute over the ownership of .music, London-based UK Creative Ideas (UKCI) has launched an an alternative domain name for the arts and cultural sector: .art.

Describes as a top-level domain (TLD) for the “world’s creative community in all its diverse forms”, .art’s early adopters largely consist of art galleries and museums, including Paris’s Centre Pompidou, Tate in London and the Guggenheim Museum in New York, although UKCI says .art “goes way beyond the visual arts to embrace performance, decorative arts, applied arts, literature, film, music, education, collectables, and could even take in cookery and sport”.

“Our mission is to preserve the cultural legacy of the global art world,” says .art founder Ulvi Kasimov. “We are honoured that so many respected institutions from all over the world share our vision and conviction that .art will transform the arts community’s relationship with the internet and help protect their brand’s heritage online.”

.art domain names will be available to register from February 2017.

Similar TLDs include Accent Media’s .tickets and Rightside’s .band.


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Live music fine art after all, rules Cook County

Chicago’s small venues are breathing a sigh of relief following the decision by Cook County – the unit of local government centred on the Illinois city – to officially recognise popular music and DJ performances as legitimate forms of art.

As reported in August, several Chicago music venues were locked in a dispute with the county over US$200,000 worth of “crippling” back taxes after one official, Anita Richardson, said DJs, “rap music, country music and rock and roll do not fall under the purview of ‘fine art'”, making them ineligible for exemption from Cook County’s 3% amusement tax.

Thanks to the efforts of John Fritchey, a commissioner (roughly equivalent to a councillor) for the 12th district of Cook County, that position has now been reversed, with Fritchey, local music industry figures, the administration of Cook County board of commissioners’ president, Toni Preckwinkle, and the city of the Chicago all agreeing on “the validity of live music and DJ performances as recognised artforms”.

“This agreement makes it clear that it was never the intent of the administration for the county to play culture police and make decisions on what is, or isn’t, music or art, and that fact is bolstered by President Preckwinkle’s desire to co-sponsor my amendment,” says Fritchey. “By bringing together public officials and music industry representatives, we were able to arrive at language that all parties agree recognises the diverse and robust nature of live music while providing the county with the ability to collect those taxes that are legitimately owed to it.”

“This agreement confirms that government officials should not be the arbiters of what constitutes art”

Joe Shanahan, the owner of the Metro (1,100-cap.) and Smartbar (400-cap.) venues, adds: “These musical styles are all recognised as art around the world, and Chicago is rightly recognised as the birthplace of some of the best-known artists. This agreement confirms that government officials should not be the arbiters of what constitutes art while affording small venue owners a sense of certainty as they continue to present musical talent to Chicagoans and the many visitors who flock to our venues based on our city’s international reputation as a music capital.”

Fritchey’s proposal to amend the amusement tax code will be heard on 26 October.

Last month the city of Berlin afforded a similar tax break to the Berghain nightclub, ruling the techno mecca should pay the same 7% as museums, theatres and classical venues.


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