This week, the Chicago music community won a respite of at least a month as the so-called "events promoters ordinance" was sent back to committee before a full City Council vote, with alderman promising to solicit more feedback from venue owners, musicians and music lovers as they attempt to rewrite the law.
By no means is it certain that elected officials will finally get it right -- especially when many believe there is no need for this law at all. As a Sun-Times editorial said on Friday: "It's doubtful whether the city needs to license promoters. Venues already must be licensed and insured. Private contracts between clubs and organizers already insure patrons' safety." (Click here to read the full editorial.)
City officials remain unclear and unconvincing as they attempt to make the case for the law. Witness this conversation on "Chicago Tonight" last Tuesday featuring Ald. George Cardenas (12th), moderator Elizabeth Brackett and this reporter.
So what can the many concerned music lovers do?
The Chicago Music Commission has played a crucial role in attempting to speak for the large and diverse music scene. By no means does the nascent activist group represent all corners of the local music world -- many of the board members know as little about underground hip-hop, electronic music, punk and Latin sounds as the aldermen do -- and some members of the group are more political and agenda-laden than the politicians they're addressing.
But the CMC absolutely lived up to its promise to give the music community a voice in the corridors of power by speaking out loudly and clearly on this issue -- calling out the law for the extremely flawed attempt that it was to legislate something the city clearly does not understand.
Now, the group is asking the community for its input -- and remember, that input can be that there is no need for this law at all, since so many existing laws already ensure safety at licensed music venues or prohibit unsafe events -- and it promises to deliver all comments received by 5 p.m. on Friday, May 23, directly to Mayor Daley and the City Council.
Click here to visit the CMC Web site and fill out its opinion survey. Watch this blog for further developments as they happen. And don't let the promoter's ordinance become the sort of done deal Chicagoans have recently seen with the children's museum and the repeal of the ban on foie gras.