Amid Ghost Ship Fire aftermath, Emeryville Event space Midsummer Studios undergoes scrutiny by City

Published On December 19, 2016 | By Rob Arias | News, News & Commentary

I’ve heard many stories from decades past when Emeryville was vast warehouse spaces for artists, musicians and underground music events. The Emeryville Warehouse Lofts, where I now live with my family, was one of these spaces and hosted bands like Flipper, Counting Crows and Green Day (there’s even a facebook page for “survivors” of the Warehouse Co. to share memories.). Artists & musicians gravitated to Emeryville because of affordability – my, how things have changed.

Those spaces are pretty scarce these days save a few industrial enclaves in our town. One of these is a fairly unassuming building along Horton called Midsummer Studios. Midsummer offers its space for rental for photo and video shoots, concerts, private events, “or anything else you can think of” it notes on its website. “Midsummer Studios is a convenient and happy one-stop shop, with the square footage to do just about anything.”

Ironically, a public benefit to help victims of the Ghost Ship tragedy where nearly 1000 people RSVP’d may have put them on our city’s radar.

The event was subsequently moved to an alternate location after city staff intervened to remind them of permit requirements for events larger than 50 people. This might be a sign of things to come for this and the few other “underground” event spaces in our city. This SF Gate article details what may be the local impacts of the Ghost Ship fire being felt in Emeryville.

Emeryville film show latest event shut down after Oakland fire

By Michael Bodley
The Emeryville warehouse known as Midsummer Studios has long hosted weddings and concerts, children’s camps and fundraisers, mostly without city-required permits.

That never seemed to be a problem until now. A Saturday night film screening expected to draw about 200 people to the 3,000-square-foot studio space was called off, organizers say, because the city said events like it need approval.

The event is the latest casualty of what many say is a magnifying glass on not only artist spaces, but also their activities — in the name of safety. After the Dec. 2 fire at Oakland’s Ghost Ship warehouse, where 36 died at an unpermitted music show, many events lacking approval have been shuttered in California and across the country.

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About The Author

is a third generation Californian and East Bay native who lived in Emeryville from 2003 to 2021. Rob founded The E'ville Eye in 2011 after being robbed at gunpoint and lamenting the lack of local news coverage. Rob's "day job" is as a creative professional.

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