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Grievous Bodily Harm: Punks Armed With an Ax & Skateboards Try to Destroy a Seattle Ferry in 1987

The tale of the punk rock riot made national news!

The “riot” that went down on the Washington State Ferry M/V Kitsap on Saturday, October 3rd, 1987, made its way to the pages of The New York Times. The paper published a short report on the incident (via the Associated Press), detailing how fans of local Seattle bands The Accüsed and British punks GBH went bananas with an ax and skateboards, destroying defenseless tables and chairs during a ferry ride back to Seattle. According to the article, when asked for his thoughts on the destruction at the hands of his fans on the M/V Kitsap, GBH was “quietly proud” of what went down.

Rioters had done about $40,000 worth of damage to the inside of the M/V Kitsap, destroying tables, chairs, and parts of the asbestos-filled ceiling.

Before we get to the story itself, it is necessary to be aware of how the Teen Dance Ordinance (or TDO) passed in 1985 in Seattle contributed to the angst of young music fans during the years it governed the underage music scene. The passage of the TDO required club owners to obtain a $1 million liability insurance policy for any all-ages event. Another requirement was all underage events were to be staffed by two off-duty SPD officers, a sure-fire buzzkill at any party. Nearly every club was unable to take on the insurance policy, so underage shows in Seattle city limits became a rare occasion. Also, important to note is the fact the TDO was a response to some very, very bad things happening to kids hanging out at underage clubs. Specifically The Monastery, a club/church run by George Freeman, an accused predator of Seattle’s homeless youth. When the TDO became law, Freeman referred to it as the “George Freeman Law.” Read more >

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