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Knocturnal goes dark–for now

Snug Harbor announced it will no longer host the popular hip-hop night, leaving the 7-year-old party without a host venue

Photo credit: Brian Twitty

Snug Harbor announced it will no longer host the popular hip-hop night, leaving the 7-year-old party without a host venue

On Sunday June 30, a day before Knocturnal’s regularly scheduled Monday night event, Snug Harbor released a statement saying it will no longer host the party, effective immediately.

The statement cited issues of over attendance as the cause of its sudden cancellation:

“We have some shocking and tough news to share. Without mincing words, Snug can no longer host Knocturnal Mondays, effective immediately. The party has grown increasingly popular over the years, which is a great problem to have, but unfortunately, it is a problem. We can’t increase the size of the building and so we can’t, with good conscience, keep hosting the party every week at Snug.   

We’ve tried adding a cover, increasing that cover, adding staff, then increasing staff, but we continue to be overwhelmed by attendance. Which is a huge testament to the talented DJs, B-Boys, B-Girls, Freestylers, and Snug Staff that have made this night what it is. 

It has been an absolute honor to see Knocturnal grow into an internationally recognized party celebrating hip hop culture and we couldn’t be more proud. 

It is our hope that Knocturnal will find a larger home. If not, you can bet that you have not seen the last of any of these talented people. Stay tuned.”

Knocturnal founder Justin Aswell says he has already heard from several venue owners interested in acquiring the seven-year-old event, which showcases local and regional hip-hop artists and culture.

“Knocturnal isn’t over. I’m confident we’ll relocate.” said Aswell, “Our relationship with Snug isn’t an issue either. They supported us for seven years.”

An average of 400 people attend each Monday night, and Aswell estimates earnings from the event net about $250,000 per year for Snug Harbor. Recently, there’s been interest from promoters and sponsors in bringing Knocturnal to other cities, both nationally and internationally. Aswell said he was focusing on what that type of expansion would look like when he was suddenly told he’d have to re-evaluate the event on his home turf. 

“Obviously, we’re going to have to put new processes in place to make sure wherever we go, overcrowding isn’t a problem. We want to maintain the good vibes we’re known for, while hopefully still being able to accommodate new artists and friends,” he said.

Over the course of Knocturnal’s seven years, Snug Harbor has seen few related incidents of violence. In the early morning hours on a Tuesday in 2016, a man was shot and wounded outside. In 2017, a man left the party and drove through a construction zone on I-77, injuring five workers. Snug immediately instituted a more robust entrance policy following that incident, but it put the venue under extra scrutiny from the Mecklenburg County ABC Board. 

Despite Snug Harbor having a back patio nearly equal to the size of its indoors, it has a maximum capacity rating of 142 people from the fire marshall. This is based solely on the size of the indoor portion of the club.

“It would’ve been tight if we could’ve done at least one more night at Snug,” said Will Gilreath, a Knocturnal resident dj. Ray Krol, a fellow dj, agreed. “It feels like the end of an era. But I’m ready to start a new one.”  

Disclosure: the author of this article is related to Justin Aswell and was previously involved with Knocturnal when it began in 2012. 

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