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."