City Council Still Looking at Event Promoters Ordinance

By Hunter Clauss | Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Photo by Patrick Houdek.

The future of a proposed city ordinance cracking down on event promoters remains in legislative limbo, but an influential alderman says the so-called ?event promoters ordinance? isn?t dead.

Ald. Eugene Schulter chairs the City Council?s Committee on License and Consumer Protection, which would have to sign off on the ordinance before it?s sent to the full City Council for a final vote. He said he doesn?t see any movement on the ordinance in the ?foreseeable future,? but he said aldermen are ?still looking? at the plan.

The event promoters ordinance was first introduced in 2007 by Mayor Daley as a response?four years later?to the E2 disaster in which 21 people were killed in a stampede after a fight broke out in the South Side nightclub. The ordinance would have required independent promoters to purchase a license costing up to $2000 every two years and secure liability insurance for up to $300,000. The Committee on License and Consumer Protection approved the ordinance in 2008, but the measure ended up being tabled before it was sent to the full City Council. Then, in 2009, the Chicago Music Commission, a nonprofit advocacy group, obtained a copy of a revised draft of the ordinance, but that version never went anywhere.

Schulter said the ordinance hasn?t gotten much traction since then. ?I have not heard anything more about it from the mayor?s office,? he said. ?I?ve had my personal issues with it. We?ve got to make sure that we don?t create laws that really hurt the indie people and other individuals. If there are bad promoters, I think we have enough laws on the books to go after bad promoters.?

Critics said the plan would be a buzz kill to Chicago?s nightlife. They claim the ordinance would result in fewer shows taking place in the city and place unreasonably financial burdens on independent promoters and nightclub owners.

Jeremy Scheuch works for Debonair Social Club and does event promotions for the Double Door. He helped organize the 50 Aldermen/50 Artists gallery show, which featured portraits of all the members of the City Council. He said he isn?t sure if the art show would have happened if the promoters ordinance had passed the City Council.??We wouldn?t have known if we were skirting the law,? Scheuch said. ?Most of the people I know, they don?t make any money. Ninety percent have day jobs so they can make art or music. They don?t have the money to get licensed.?

Scheuch said the lack of information coming out of City Hall has some promoters on edge.?”No one knows what’s going on,” he said. “If [the City Council and the mayor] were clear with what?s going to happen, more people would be at ease.”

The mayor?s office did not respond for comment before publication.

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