I think the thing that all of the venues need to decide is if they want to be an eclectic mix through the week or cater to a particular crowd. I'd like to see more non-rock-n-roll houred venues (music shouldn't run 11pm-1am on a Tuesday) & more places that aren't so dirty I don't feel uncomfortable inviting my sister to a show. A major problem going on is 75% of the folks attending shows are part of the music scene (meaning they themselves are in local bands) & we (as an artistic community) need to find a way to draw more income from other folks rather than all of us passing the same dollars back & forth to each other. How do we do this? By getting more venues to cater to the idea of getting people to go to see live music two or three nights a week instead of watching TV & movies seven nights a week as a life long habit. Which means having venues that cater to high schoolers & venues that cater to young parents & venues that cater to people who have to get up at 6am the next morning. Are there too many venues & not enough local talent? I say no. Just not enough excited attendees.
To me I think the way to get the law changed to make sense (rather than to deal with giving special treatment to an individual case) is probably by sending in complaints about all of these meetings that are now theoretically illegal & flooding paperwork to create a change just because the city is too lazy to process all of the things. Because the idea of gathering people in your home seems like it should be legal unless you are breaking another law like fire hazards or noise ordinances.
Having done a lot of performances at house shows & non-traditional venues across the country, these are a few reasons I've seen places shut down for shows:
1) Admission fees. Admission fees instead of donation is generally considered something that needs different zoning. A place I used to play in Cleveland got shut down for what was deemed aggressive pushes for donations, they had a phrase that was something like, "If you don't think this is worth donating money for then you should leave."
2) Noise Ordinances. Playing loud after 10pm or 11pm or 9pm (depending on the city) is a reason to get shut down & I think it's reasonable.
3) Selling alcohol without a permit (or giving it away for enforced donations) &/or distributing alcohol to minors. Yeah, obvious no brainer on getting shut down for that one.
4) Applause. Seriously, a venue I played in St. Paul was not allowed to have applause because they would be deemed a live music venue & then required to have two public bathrooms. It was one of the venue's claims to fame that people would boo & hiss after songs because that isn't technically applause. Of course once the city is really after you, your days are numbered anyway.
Hey, thanks for the kind words. I didn't notice a link to the Silber website, so http://www.silbermedia.com
Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
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