After more than 10 months fighting for late-night music, The Camel got final approval from the Richmond city council to allow bands to play until 2 a.m. any night of the week.
Before the business owners filed to amend the venue’s special-use business permit, music ended at 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. After a few complaints when bands played past their scheduled time, the owners decided to formally apply for a change to their permit.
“There are several different layers of government that you go through,” said Rand Burgess, owner of The Camel. “That was a process. I wish it took only as long as it takes to talk about it.”
With patience and community support, the owners were finally able to adjust their permit. Owner of The Camel, Rand Burgess said he couldn’t be happier after hearing the news.
“Man, I was ecstatic,” Burgess said. “I love the city of Richmond … and I love the music scene.”
During the scheduled hearings for the city’s Planning Commission and City Council, many fans of The Camel came and voiced their support for the decision. VCU alumni, Kristin Longest said she spoke in front of a council hearing for the first time to support The Camel.
“It was really exciting that everybody showed their support and our government in Richmond listened to us,” Longest said.
Longest said she was motivated to speak not only for her love of the venue, but also to support the future of Richmond.
“I think that Rand (Burgess) and The Camel represent something that’s very unique to Richmond, and something we can build off of,” Longest said. “They are entrepreneurs who went to VCU and chose to stay in Richmond and open businesses … and support the community through doing that.”
Burgess said some entrepreneurs are turned away from doing business in the city because processes take such a long period of time. By shortening the process, Burgess said the city could see more vacant buildings being occupied and a more vibrant downtown.
“In turn it would create the atmosphere that you can do anything in Richmond, whether its live, work and play,” Burgess said.
With bands able to play past 2 a.m., Longest said The Camel will be able to host larger acts and bring more people to the business.
“This will raise revenue, raise tours and more people will see (The Camel) as a destination spot for music and art,” Longest said.