That Empty Space is looking a lot emptier these days.There have been many changes at That Empty Space over the past few months. Not only has the student-run venue moved from its home next to the food court, it also has a new programming focus and fewer concerts. Now one more big change can be added to the list as That Empty Space is without a liquor licence.
The Students' Union made a request to the University of Calgary at the beginning of September for a liquor licence for That Empty Space's new location. As the university owns the building, they are responsible for obtaining a licence from the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission. The SU is responsible for managing the space.
SU president Lauren Webber said their request was denied by the U of C.
"This year, being that it's in a space downstairs that was not previously part of our concert operations, we wanted to make sure that we could get a licence for that operation and this is where things have sort of hit a snag," said SU vice-president operations and finance James Delaney.
The SU currently has liquor licences for The Den, Black Lounge and the Conference and Events Centre. Delaney said That Empty Space used to be considered another concert and was covered under these liquor licences. The SU and the university administration are in the process of discussing the issue said Delaney.
There is a possibility the SU can apply again for a liquor licence in the future, said Voula Cocolakis, associate vice provost residence and ancillary service.
"We've had a number of parties come and ask for a licence for a specific space and at this point we've decided to just hold off on all requests," said Cocolakis.
Various student clubs, organizations and groups from the community at large have applied for permits. Applications from all of these groups, including the SU, are being dealt with in the same manner in order to be fair as possible said Cocolakis.
"How it's resolved doesn't matter so much as that it is resolved favourably for us," said Delaney. "Whether it is sort of its own entity and its a licensed monthly event or whether its licensed though as a concert, it doesn't really matter as long as at the end of the day things work out like it was before hand."
According to president Webber, That Empty Space has no track record of incidents or problems with alcohol.
"I think it will definitely cut back on the number of people that go," said second-year psychology student Kathleen Engel. "I hate to say it but a lot of people love to go to concerts and be able to have a beer and if they can't do that they might go elsewhere; go to one of the bars or stay in res and drink if that's kind of their option."
Melanie Bird, a first-year environmental science student, said she thinks the lack of liquor might deter certain people from attending events at That Empty Space.
"The Den is right next door, so if people really wanted to drink they could go there," Bird said. "Though it is really nice to have a couple of beers when you are listening to music so if they could get their license back it'd be pretty awesome. Everybody loves live music right and they've got all sorts of other cool stuff going on, like they've got the yoga and stuff."
While the SU plans to eventually allow clubs to use the space, they have cut concerts to once a month instead of every week.
"Just budgetary-wise we thought that if did a concert once a month we could get a bigger act, a way more recognized one, and put most of our monetary efforts into that," said Webber.
Programming will continue as scheduled in That Empty Space.
"As much we want it resolved, [Cocolakis] also wants it resolved," Delaney said. "It's not that anyone's being difficult, it's just that the university's managing a lot more requests this year and she just wants to put that in perspective. You want to balance these types of things but we are going to be talking to her."