Reports: Man connected to Asheville’s music scene charged with drug violations


Adrian Zelski, a businessman with strong connections to Asheville’s music scene, has been arrested and charged with trafficking marijuana, according to a story at Here’s more:

On May 6, the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office, along with Homeland Security, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the North Carolina Bureau of Investigation searched a home located at 4514 Dunbar Bridge Road in Asheboro.

Detectives seized 18.5 pounds of marijuana and arrested Adrian Baldwin Zelski and Daniel Stewart Gregg. The total street value of the marijuana seized is approximately $46,250, according to a release.

Zelski, 42, of Old Fort Road in Fairview, and Gregg, 64, of North Pacific Highway in Talent, Ore., are charged with trafficking marijuana and felony conspiracy.

Just last March, an Asheville Citizen-Times profile of Zelski called him Asheville’s new “music tycoon.” The story by reporter Emily Patrick noted that Zelski controlled 2,700 tickets to downtown concerts through his ownership, with three other partners, in New Mountain AVL, and his independent ownership of two other music venues in Asheville.

Zelski’s ownership role in New Mountain AVL is unclear, and he’s no longer connected with the other two, according to online commenters familiar with the venues. But a year ago, his presence on the Asheville music scene was “unprecedented,” according to the Citizen-Times.

Humility aside, Zelski’s ownership stake in the downtown venue industry is unprecedented and affects music lovers and bands. His exact share depends on how you count, but it’s not farfetched to say he’s involved in half of downtown’s music rooms. (Granted, there are plenty of bars, restaurants, event spaces and clubs that sometimes feature live music.)

Can he helm all those venues at the same time? Such a large footprint comes with a lot of risks, but Zelski says every sector of music is about managing risk. He would know; his experience includes stints as a festival organizer, venue owner, band manager for Asheville’s Rising Appalachia, and performer with DubConscious.

“It’s a high risk, high adventure-style business,” Zelski says. “The industry does base itself around partying, addiction, late nights, rock-and-roll, sex, drugs and everything in between. That’s an aspect you’ve got to face, and it’s really hard to keep organized.”

Zelski’s arrest is also making several online commenters irate. They note his generosity in opening his venues to grassroots organizing for nonprofit causes. They are also critical of the enforcement of marijuana laws, noting that its recreational use is legal now in a handful of states.


luther blissett May 10, 2016 - 5:33 pm

“They note his generosity in opening his venues to grassroots organizing for nonprofit causes.”

Ha ha I see what you’re doing there…

Didn’t New Mountain AVL just have a big 4/20 festival co-hosted with NORML where noted hemp & MJ advocate Woody Harrelson also showed up as a ticketed attendee? I know that law enforcement should have many other priorities, but holding a pro-MJ event is probably going to make the po-po suspicious.

C May 10, 2016 - 3:36 pm

Been a long time coming. This guy had a ton of negative karma surrounding him

Matt May 10, 2016 - 12:53 pm

End prohibition.

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