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Lacking permit, hip-hop dropped

(ran East, South editions)

Local promoters who aimed to start a tradition of free hip-hop concerts on Martin Luther King Jr. Day found their plan derailed Monday because they lacked a permit for the show.

About 30 performers were scheduled to appear Monday night at the first Martin Luther King of the Burg Rap Fest, in front of Sound Avenue, an auto accessories store at 1460 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. S. Hundreds of people, including multiplatinum New Orleans rapper Juvenile, were going to attend the event, said Alberto Jose Maisonet, who helped to organize the show.

"Martin Luther King Day is pretty much the only day out of the year that you'll see people out there congregating in big numbers in St. Petersburg," said Maisonet, who goes by the rap monicker Senor Salu. "They were out there anyways. If there was going to be an issue about people crowding around, they're out there anyway."

After the promoters ran an ad in the newspaper, police discovered there were no permits for the event, said Lt. Melanie Bevan, the event commander for post-parade MLK Day activities. With hundreds of people possibly crowded into a small lot, Bevan worried that the crowd might spill into the street. Bevan said the noise from a live concert could be a problem in the neighborhood.

Normally a concert requires approval from the city's zoning, fire and building departments, said Barry Critoph of the city's building department. The promoters did not get approval from any of them.

Maisonet said that disc jockeys had played in the lot in previous years, and he did not know that a live concert would be different. But he said he plans to reschedule the concert for February _ this time in a park instead of a parking lot and with the requisite permits.