For over 20 years, John’s Carpet House has put on weekly free jam sessions, that bring all sorts of people together to enjoy good music. But for the past year, the city of Detroit has been trying to shut it down with various violations, including excessive noise and not having a license to operate the free event.

John’s Carpet House began as nothing more than a juke joint, in a small wooden shed that had the ceiling and walls covered in carpet for insulation and acoustics. It was built by John Estes, who was a drummer that just wanted to share his love of the blues with everyone else. When John passed away, Albert “Big Pete” Barrow took over keeping the weekly sessions alive in a field across from where John’s house originally sat. The city had made Barrow purchase the land previously, making it private property as well.

Barrow, who has had to start a GoFundMe page in order to combat the rising costs of the tickets the city continues to hand out, says “there is no reason for the city to do what they’re doing to us.”

The jam sessions are set to start May 3, but the city is still fighting to shut it down. Mayor Mike Duggan’s chief of staff says that Barrow has to follow the rules, which means getting the permits and licenses needed for events.

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