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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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News Tue May 13 2008

Chicago lawmakers' myopic music legislation

In what can only be described as a myopic attempt to head off disasters such like E2 tragedy in 2003, Chicago lawmakers are attempting to pass legislation that will make it extremely difficult for promoters to put on concerts at established venues. The legislation would require independent promoters to acquire a license costing between $500 and $2,000 every two years, get fingerprinted and get a criminal background check, and secure as much as $300,000 in liability insurance and be 21 or older.

Adding another bureaucratic and economic hurdle to presenting live music in the city, this ordinance should be put in perspective by the fact that Chicago already has some of the strictest laws on the books in regards to promoting concerts. Given the recently published study outlining the economic impact of the Chicago music scene undertaken by the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Cultural Policy in conjunction with the Chicago Music Commission, one would hope the city would be doing things to encourage the arts rather than further constrict the ways in which promoters operate.

*UPDATE*: Apparently all the noise being made about the ordinance has had favorable results. For now the legislation is being "tabled" so it can be fine tuned for future proposal. We'll keep an eye on it when it resurfaces, but for now we can rest easy.

Here is a letter sent out by the Metro outlining some of the issues and things we can do:

Metro/Smart Bar asks you to oppose the Promoters Ordinance, which would require independent promoters to get licenses to promote events. Under the proposed law, independent promoters would have to acquire a promoter's license at a cost of up to $2000 every two years, obtain liability insurance for every event thrown, even if the presenting venue already has liability insurance, be fingerprinted and background checked, and maintain extensive records of each event.

Metro / Smart Bar believes that this ordinance is unnecessary, as current regulation of PPA licenses and safety and security guidelines are sufficient. The ordinance also unfairly singles out small venues and venues without seating, with no justification for during so. The goal for any additional regulation should be enforcement of current laws and punishment of those who do not obey them, not increased burdens on existing businesses. Additionally, the Promoters Ordinance would negatively affect the Chicago music community. First, it would affect the bottom line of small businesses like Metro and Smart Bar, who make a significant portion of revenue from partnerships with reputable, incident-free independent promoters. Second, losing independent promoters means Chicago music fans would lose out on many small niche events important to minority groups. Third, restricting independent promoters would drastically cut into the ability to do charitable and political benefit concerts at Metro, as it would no longer be financially feasible for non-profit organizations to organize these events.

TAKE ACTION TODAY - Please email or call your alderman or alderwoman and voice your opposition to the Ordinance today! Email or Call your alderman and ask him or her to oppose the Promoter Ordinance. Be polite. Tell him or her you support live music in Chicago, and feel this ordinance would kill many great events. Say you want venues to be safe, but this ordinance goes too far. Place a call to your alderman's office today. This page will help you find your alderman and give you his or her email address and phone number — quick and easy and only takes a couple of minutes.

For more information, read Jim DeRogatis' article in the Sun Times today. Aldermen involved in passing the law will meet tomorrow, Wednesday, May 14th, and there will be protests in conjunction with the meeting. The City Council meets in the Council Chamber located on the Second Floor of City Hall, 121 North La Salle St., 10 AM on May 14.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
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