Friday, April 10, 2015

John's Carpet House getting harassed by the city … again

Posted By on Fri, Apr 10, 2015 at 2:38 PM

Last year, we reported how John's Carpet House, the free, outdoor blues party that overtakes a string of lots on the north side of Frederick between St. Aubin and Dubois each week in good weather, was being harassed by the city. As we covered in an interview with organizer Albert "Big Pete" Barrow last year, city officials were putting the squeeze on the weekly festival of music, dance, and sunshine, in another example of the city's one-size-fits-all treatment of inventive, unconventional forms of entertainment. Detroit had been ticketing Barrow, sending police to his house, and attempting to shut the Carpet House down. 

Barrow told us: "It's a harassment thing. We don't have any problems out there. We clean up behind ourselves. I cut the grass out there. I even cut the grass across the street. I wanna say it's the mayor. We got all the council on our side. We got police officers who come out there and jam with us. Same thing with the fire department. We were told that they were given their orders, and those orders come all the way from [Police Chief James] Craig and the mayor. Every other week they've been sending me tickets in the mail. They said that I didn't have a vendor's permit; I'm not selling any food out there. They said I didn't have an event permit; I'm not having an event — I'm just having something in my own back yard. [It] just so happens I have a big back yard! And then they said something about a noise level; if you look in the area, there ain't nothing over there."

As recently as a month ago, though, Barrow and Carpet House supporters were celebrating a victory. A posting on the Facebook page read: "On 3-3-2015 we were approved by city counsel to continue with our free summer jam, the only one with reservation was counsel man Tate, hope to see everyone this summer, Big Pete."

That joy has quickly faded as the city seems to have gone back on its word. On the Carpet House Facebook page, Barrow posted:

On april 1st 2015. we were ordered by the courts to pay a $550 fine for excessive noise, when there are only two houses in a four blk. area, not to mention the other tickets given to us. All of the tickets were illegal, for having a free jam session on our own property, The city admitted that they had nothing to cover what we do on pvt. property, but yet the police and licensing dept, issued us these tickets. … We intend to fight this in court, but we need your help … We have been having this free event for the past 20yrs. problems free, and cater to our seniors, and all blues lover.

The posting encouraged people to donate to the defense of the venue at  We second the motion. And we'll be watching John's Carpet House, and the city, very carefully.

Tags: , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

November 24, 2021

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit

© 2021 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation