Monday, May 12, 2008

Promoter's Ordinance Spells Trouble for Chicago Music Scene

This Wednesday, May 14, could spark a crushing blow to Chicago's indie music scene.

That's when the Chicago City Council meets to decide the fate of legislation that would place numerous tight restrictions on event promoters in the city. If the legislation is passed, anyone organizing an event, including independent musicians, could find it next to impossible to do so.

The Promoter's Ordinance was approved by the Committee on License and Consumer Protection last week, resulting in a frenzy of outcries from the local music community.

As reported by Chicago Sun-Times music writer Jim DeRogatis, activists in the Chicago Music Commission don't plan to sit back and let it happen:

“The language of the ordinance as drafted unnecessarily and perhaps prohibitively increases the cost of doing business for any promoter seeking to work with PPA- [public place of amusement] licensed music venues, including, among many others, Schuba’s, Buddy Guy’s Legends, the Vic Theater, the Riviera Theater, the Metro, the Hideout, Uncommon Ground and Martyr’s,” said Alligator Records founder and CMC board member Bruce Iglauer.

“The ordinance will reduce the amount of music in Chicago, make events more expensive for consumers, dampen the large and growing economic engine that is Chicago music and create a much less supportive business climate for Chicago’s small music business community.”

Here are some of the implications of the ordinance:

- Any event promoter must have a license from the city of Chicago and liability insurance of $300,000.

- The definition of "event promoter" is loosely defined, meaning it could apply to a band, singer, or visiting theater company.

- An event promoter must be licensed and will pay $500 to $2,000, depending on expected audience size.

- Applicants for a license must be over 21, have fingerprints taken, submit a background check and more.

- Smaller venues are targeted, as venues with 500 or more permanent seats are exempt.

- Police must be notified at least seven days prior to an event.

Find out more here.

Please sign the petition opposing the ordinance here.


  1. Right on! I just made a post to my blog linking to yours and the petition.

  2. Hooray! Looks like there was such an uproar, they decided to table the ordinance til they could work out a set of rules that wouldn't cripple the local music scene! :D