Philly, Represent

City Councilmen City Councilmen Darrell Clarke and Bill Greenlee wrote this stupid bill.

Darrell Clarke is well-known for throwing his weight around if you displease him or his buddies. He especially dislikes the artists and musicians that are pouring into Fishtown and South Kensington to rehab the abandoned buildings – in fact, last month he introduced a bill that would would remove the non-profit exemptions from the city’s Amusement Tax, which is 5% of a ticket charge. Councilman Clarke, WTF is wrong with you?

Picture this: you’re a promoter for a club, sitting in your kitchen in Philadelphia, sipping on some Sanka and reading Cracked. Your phone rings and it’s ?eustlove from The Roots! He’s calling to see if he and Tariq and the gang can play a surprise show at That Local Club Where Cool Bands Play. “Aw, ?uest, I’d love to, but you know the rules. I would have had to have asked the cops a month ago. Sorry, Amir.” This nightmare may become a reality.

Those in the 2-1-5th may soon deal with the ratification of Bill No.100267, a restrictive ordinance that would require all promoters to apply  for a permit from the Philadelphia Police Department 30 days in advance of any event (via True/Slant). To be detailed in the request would be security plans, the promoter’s business-privilege-license number, the venue’s capacity and the expected crowd. Additionally, the bill will now hold promoters liable for the crowds’ behavior at shows.

Beyond the tonnage of additional paperwork that this bill will require, the Philadelphia constabulary’s power to deny a request is laid out in not so specific terms in the Bill: “The application shall be deemed approved unless it is denied at least ten days prior to such event.” The “ten days prior” appears to be the only guideline with which to deny an event by the police.

With this new Bill docket-ready, the Philly music scene could potentially face serious problems. As the True/Slant editorial points out, “Such a potential law would drive touring musicians (or celebrities, etc) away from Philadelphia. Booking agents, managers and artists have enough to deal with in the process of planning a tour: The last thing they would want to worry about is that, even with every “t” crossed and “i” dotted, their show could be potentially cut… This bill doesn’t instill confidence in the system, it shuts down a vibrant city’s scene.”

The logistics and headaches of bringing a band to a club to play is nothing short of a nightmare. Between paperwork, scheduling, and a spiderweb of emails, phone calls, and faxes, no one person needs to negotiate through any more red tape than necessary, especially when they’re just trying to get your favorite band to play that favorite song of yours. And by no one person, I soon may actually mean every promoter in Philadelphia.

If you feel strongly against this bill, you can sign an online petition here and really try to Rock that Vote.

Brendan has more here.

4 thoughts on “Philly, Represent

  1. ok, here’s where it starts to get awesome.
    i called greenlee’s office, where a legislative aide tried to talk over me and told me the legislation is still being tweaked and that it’s a response to all the violence and crime that happens at clubs and music venues every single weekend. “we are trying to weed out the good promoters from the bad promoters”. Why they need a law that affects everyone to address that instead of, you know, shutting down bad clubs on an individual basis, i don’t know.

    So I asked her for a list of these crimes, since I haven’t heard about them. and i read both the papers online every day. “We don’t have a list,” she said. “You’ll have to call the police commissioners office, they have a list.”

    So i did. But the Commissioners office said they don’t have any such list, and referred me to the research department, who referred me to statistics. I now have emails into the commissioner, PPD public affairs, and the research/statistics department. I don’t expect to hear anything back, because I DON’T THINK THERE IS ANY SUCH LIST. What i think is that the city sees the music scene as another source of income to tap, and they are using the bad actions of a relative few to pick the pockets of the many. it’s a solution in search of a problem.

  2. The only place I ever hear about violence at clubs are the ones on Delaware Avenue, where we do have occasional shootings.

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