Chicago Sun-Times
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UPDATE: Promoter's ordinance tabled (for now)

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Following a nearly unprecedented outpouring of concern from the Chicago music community and a meeting with activists and some of the top concert promoters and venue owners in Chicago, Ald. Eugene Schulter, chairman of the City Council License Committee, decided on Tuesday that he will not present the so-called "event promoter's ordinance" to the full council for a vote on Wednesday -- and that the committee will go back to work on fine-tuning the law.

Schulter, several other aldermen and representatives of the city Department of Business Affairs & Licensing met with members of the Chicago Music Commission, Metro owner Joe Shanahan, Jam Productions talent booker Nick Miller, Martyr's owner Ray Quinn and Double Door co-owner Sean Mulroney Tuesday morning, a day before the law was expected to be passed by the City Council.

Made aware of concerns in many corners of Chicago's arts communities, Schulter asked DBA for more facts and figures about the alleged "problem venues" and "underground promoters" that the ordinance was designed to curtail. Some of those who attended the meeting said DBA had to admit that it had no hard information and that it has not formally studied the extent of the alleged problem that the law was crafted to address; they had only the anecdotal evidence of the single tragic incident at the E2 Nightclub five years ago.

The law will return to committee for more work and public input before a council vote is considered again. Schulter told the meeting he expects that process will take at least a month.

"We are not sure when it will come out of committee for a vote, but we hope that Chairman Schulter will wait
until he and the city have engaged the music community publicly and meaningfully so their concerns can be heard and hopefully incorporated into the eventual law," said Chicago Music Commission board member Bruce Iglauer.

"We are pleased that Chairman Schulter has responded to community concerns here, and we look forward to working with him, members of the Committee, DBA staff and other music community stakeholders to come up with a workable version of the ordinance."

"I feel that the cultural aspects of the city sent a message that something was in trouble in the music world over the weekend, and I feel the city listened today," Shanahan said. "People are starting to take the music community seriously. Now we have to roll up our sleeves and come up with some reasonable rules, because this isn't over."

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36 Comments

Thanks Jim for bringing this to everyone's attention. I have never called my alderman before, but I gave them an earful today. I have had it up to here with Chicago's city council and their "mommy" laws. STAY OUT OF MY SOCIAL LIFE!

so do we still need to show up tomorrow?

so do we still need to show up tomorrow?

I'm suspicious anytime the city and established business gets together in the name of safety and then what generally comes out is protectionism for those companies already established in the industry with extreme barriers for entry for a new company without clout. Usually these ordinances in the name of protecting the public usually protect the insiders. What do you think?

I want to say thanks to you and applaud you for making those of us in the general public aware of this issue. This could have really hurt the music scene in Chicago, and I'm thrilled to hear that they're going to try to retool it.

Thanks again Jim, good work.

This is good news for now. Our Station Manager, Patrick Oliver, had a conversation with 42nd Ward Alderman Brandon Reilly last night and Mr. Reilly shared Fearless Radio's concerns about the ordinance in it's current form. The city of Chicago has a good reputation as a music town and has great opportunity to continue to improve this perception to become THE city for radio play, recording, video shoots, and "must-play" live venues. Far from affecting only venues, clubs, and musicians, any ordinance will have far-reaching implications in Chicago's entertainment industry. As such, it should be given thorough research with input from musicians, promoters, entertainment companies, venues, radio stations, and production and recording studios.

The sad truth about the E2 tragedy is that there were safety provisions in place - they were just not properly enforced. Perhaps we should look at what we can do with the safety codes that already exist.

Whew! I'll breathe easy -- for now.

You're the best, Jim!

I wish to thank the almost 6,000 petition signers at http://savechicagoculture.org for all of their individual and collective efforts to stop this ordinance.

I understand that the large organizations were called into the meetings about this ordinance and the reaction to it, but it is also the efforts of the creative singer/songwriters/bands that spent their personal time to get the word out to the music community. Six thousand music professionals and listeners become like the roar of a lion.

Peace,

Michael Teach, Host
CAU

Thanks Jim!

Great. I thought I was gonna need a background check & a fingerprinting to tell my friend's I'm playing at Potbellie's

It is great news that they decided not to go forward with the proposed ordinance. But they do not need to retool it. They shouldn't pass anything at all. We do not need any new regulations regarding this. Things are fine as they are, ANY new regluations in this area just means people paying more money that they never used to have to.

Leave things be, this is all unnecissary!

It is great news that they decided not to go forward with the proposed ordinance. But they do not need to retool it. They shouldn't pass anything at all. We do not need any new regulations regarding this. Things are fine as they are, ANY new regluations in this area just means people paying more money that they never used to have to.

Leave things be, this is all unnecissary!

Can we get on some sort of E-mail list for the first signs that this is coming back for vote. I will weigh the new revision but I would like to know as soon as it is available to read...

I would be very wary of City Council. Remember what happened to Meigs Field.

I'm truly in awe of how quickly information was disseminated and then acted upon by so many. Jim, thanks to your blog, and to Michael Teach's SaveChicagoCulture blog -- and all my friends who e-mailed me to let me know about this, and then acted themselves!

It will be interesting to see what happens next...

As great as this city is, it is sad that such an ordinance that shows complete disregard for the city's creative community at large could re-surface (let alone come so close to a final vote). While we understand safety concerns, attacking the creative community is not the solution. It is the creative capital of this city that gives it's cultural legacy. It would be nice if it were treated as such.

what the hell does E2 have to do with this? it has nothing to do with promoters being accountable
it was an anomaly - stuff happens. buildings burn down, stampedes, if this idiotic ordinance is somehow in response to a single isolated mob action incident, then it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

the city won't make any money off of this because nobody will buy the licenses and get fingerprinted and all that crap, and they'll spend more sending schmucks around to enforce it. they tried this in New York in the 1840's it resulted in a disaster

Just to let you know that you got many supporters from absolutepunk.net =)

Anything that limits or restricts small venues and local music from thriving is detrimental to the cultural survival of the city.

Keep up to date at chicago-music.org. Chicago Music Commission is kind of a Command Central for this effort and needs your support.

Jim: I've slagged you in the past, especially for your indifference / hostility to all things jazz - but thanks for your efforts here - this unearthing helps all of us.

The next thing that has to happen is we have to vote Schulter out of office. The guy is no friend to the arts, believe me. He also has very little concern for the businesses in his ward. A bunch of us recently had to fight him on trying to use eminent domain to close legitimate businesses, so he could give away the land to developers. We won for now, but I have no doubt that if he stays in office, he'll try it again. He'll also try to get this passed as well. Trust me, his only concern is big business. That's what this ordinance is all about too. The big music promoters will rule the roost with no competition from the little guys, and trust me, they fear the competition.

The next thing that has to happen is we have to vote Schulter out of office. The guy is no friend to the arts, believe me. He also has very little concern for the businesses in his ward. A bunch of us recently had to fight him on trying to use eminent domain to close legitimate businesses, so he could give away the land to developers. We won for now, but I have no doubt that if he stays in office, he'll try it again. He'll also try to get this passed as well. Trust me, his only concern is big business. That's what this ordinance is all about too. The big music promoters will rule the roost with no competition from the little guys, and trust me, they fear the competition.

Jim writes: "Some of those who attended the meeting said DBA had to admit that it had no hard information and that it has not formally studied the extent of the alleged problem that the law was crafted to address; they had only the anecdotal evidence of the single tragic incident at the E2 Nightclub five years ago."

What a complete and total lie!! Such comments by DBA were never made at this meeting. Please contact Paul Natkin from the Chicago Music Commission who was at the meeting and he will be the first to tell you that DBA made no such comments, on the contrary, DBA gave a long, indepth analysis of all the research conducted over the past 5 years including detailed reading of transcript expert testimony from both the Rhode Island and E2 disasters, regarding the safety hazards in non-fixed seating music venues. Such total outright misrepresentation of the city's work is maybe one reason why the city feels they can't work with this industry because instead of partnering to move forward to solve real issues many in this industry would rather sabotoge and obstruct. Every one of the music venue representatives at this meeting (Ray Quinn from Marytrs, Paul Natkin CMC, Dan Lurie CMC, Nick Miller JAM, Joe Shanahan Metro, Sean Mulroney Double Door)agreed that licensing of event promoters was needed and were willing to work with the city to get it done. They just felt that the ordinance as written needed some work. Why doesn't Regotis interview one of these guys on his blog to tell all what was actually said instead of using the anonymous "Some" to hide behind false comments. People may not like this ordinance but at least they deserve to hear the truth about what is being said. Very disappointing Jim.

Jim DeRo responds: I interviewed several people present at the meeting: Aldermen; members of CMC; venue owners. I stand by my report -- whereas you cannot even spell my name correctly, and it's at the top of this blog.

Thanks for the update and please keep me posted. I'm not sure what this was suppose to do but hurt the creative culture in chicago and hurt the starving artist,dj's,promoters,and the small venues that have events in the city. Then it will drive business and the people to the suburbs. Chicago IS a cultrual melting pot, but if this passed it will all just melt away!
If this is the city's answer to the tragic E-2 fiasco that happened 5 years ago, isnt it too little to late and extream? Making small promoters,bands,dj's accountable for the extream disregard for the all ready current laws in place is not the answer.

Good work DeRo. Thanks for supporting and caring about the scene.

I'm really glad Jim DeRogatis has been diligent in reporting on this issue.

My issue is with these "meetings" and the lack of transparency on the part of the city, like who initiates these meetings, who's invited, who attends, are they open to the public, and where are the meeting minutes, especially when there's an internet and a city website they should be posted to?

If it's true that all these big music venue representatives at the meeting agree that licensing of event promoters was needed, this seems contrary to much of the public outcry against any licensing at all. I also wonder or hope they are truly representing the interests of smaller music venues (those with capacities less than 100 that are exempt from needing a PPA) and promoters of shows at those non-PPA venues.

In the first round with this ordinance, the United Centers and such balked, so they got exempted. Now the medium-size venues are balking, and they'll probably be exempted or greased in some way as well to suit their interests, good for them. So where does that leave the little guys who struggle to break even while pursuing their love of music?

As it has been stated, if the city only enforced the laws they already have on the books...

Thank you!
Please advise of future work that we all can work together

This city is losing it!! Next thing you know there will be a pop and water tax...

WAIT!

Woo HOO! Thanks Jim, thanks Michael Teach (without whom I never would have found out about this) and to all of you who stood up and made your voices HEARD. I've never been prouder to be a part of the greatest music and art scene anywhere, and to help defend something I believe to be really beautiful against something so lame and unnecessary.

Sure Jim, you will stand by your report even though you still don't have the guts to name your source or even had the decency to interview anyone from DBA to get the city side as to what was said at that meeting. Some unbiased reporting. Your quote from Chicago Tonight, "I don't have a dog in this race, I just am reporting the facts". As a famous Chicago Bears coach once said. "Who you crappin?" You then went on and gave an entirely biased one sided interview on Channel 11. You have no credibilty and your editor should discipline you for such shoddy, irresponsible and unfair reporting. Your act plays well with the wacko knee jerk reaction crowd that buys anything anti-government you say but you don't fool the rest of us. After all your distorted reporting I think you need to get a promoters license. P.S. Nice come back, I make a typo on your name and you use that to attack my credibilty! Get a life and a new job dude!

Hooray. I think this is only the second time I've ever contacted my alderman - who happens to be Schulter - and it turned out to maybe make a difference. This just sounds like more Chicago political blustering and I have a feeling it will quietly disappear. Clubs are already supposed to enforce capacity, undergo structural inspections, etc. What would this extra couple thousand dollars in licensing fees and god knows how much in insurance policies be preventing, exactly?

The Chicago Music Commission is providing a forum for anyone concerned to articulate their concerns, suggest changes and amendments to the current draft ordinance. Please participate before May 23rd!

www.Chicago-Music.org/promoters.php

The Chicago Music Commission is providing a forum for anyone concerned to articulate their concerns, suggest changes and amendments to the current draft ordinance. Please participate before May 23rd!

www.Chicago-Music.org/promoters.php

Here is my concern:

why the need to "fine tune" the law. why not abandon it altogether? Why waste time, with so many other issues on hand. we are doing just fine, the city was fine without this law, we don't need to spend time on this. now that the venues spoke up, what about the musicians and the audience? i don't want anyone who has a house party once every 2 years with a live band to get arrested, fined, etc... (which may work out for the smaller venues, as perhaps the occasional house party is a threat to their turnout??)

Let's let sleeping dogs lie. Am I wrong? If the issue was the E2 disaster, a lone incident, would any law have prevented it? Isn't anyone else of the opinion to just drop it?? hmm....

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Jim DeRogatis published on May 13, 2008 1:00 PM.

"Chicago Tonight" looks at the promoter's ordinance; meetings taking place today in the final hours before a vote was the previous entry in this blog.

Da Mayor speaks out on the promoter's ordinance is the next entry in this blog.

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