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What is the Promoter Bill and What Should You Do About It


Promoter Bill PetitionTheatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia, among other local arts & culture groups, recently released a statement/call for feedback on presenting ideas to City Councilman Greenlee’s proposed amendments to Bill #100267, a.k.a. the “Promoter Bill.” The call for action from TAGP states that Greenlee “is working on drafting amendments to the bill, given the input which they have been receiving from the arts and entertainment community.” For the many bloggers, advocates, and arts activists in the city who see the bill as the potential death of Philadelphia’s music scene, this is great news and an opportunity to influence the bill’s effect on the city’s live arts scene. 

The bill was introduced April 22, 2010 by Councilmen Greenlee and Clarke (politician) and proposes that venues/promoters will be required to submit applications 30 days in advance to the Police Department providing entertainment licenses, liquor licenses and security plans before each show to be scheduled. (To emphasize: before it is even scheduled. One might wonder: what’s the issue with that- how could this potentially be a problem? 

Peter, over at Crushing Krisis (Philly’s longest-running blog), explains why this bill is problematic for the local live arts scene:

“Speaking anecdotally from personal experience, let’s just say that I’m not always booked 30 days in advance, the promoter is often me or a friend putting something together on a lunch break, that our shows don’t usually require private security, and that I very rarely have a written contract to refer to as an artist or a promoter!” 

Brandy Hartley, venue manager, Johnny Brenda's discussed the controversial bill as well (as quoted on Yelp).

"[This bill] would put a lot of legitimate promoters and venues out of business if we would have to file paperwork for individual event permits to our local police district, who could deny the permit up to 10 days prior for any or no reason at all. Since JB's puts on approximately 300 events per year, this requirement would be onerous not only for us, but for our local police ... I also do not believe that the venue-promoter contracts should be a matter of public record ... It seems as if a few out-of-hand events have led to a bill that cripples a lot of legitimate promoters and venues with its bureaucratic requirements, when what the Council really wants to do is punish a few fly-by-night promoters and special-assembly licensees. In essence, the current bill is so indiscriminate that it is akin to using a crop duster when a fly swatter would do." 

You can also hear an interview with Councilman Greenlee (2 minutes in) here. He discusses the amendments and the scheduling of hearings regarding the bill. He feels that venues and Council are reaching "a happy medium." Apparently, he has not read the blogs quoted here. The economic impact of this bill could be pretty significant and he fails to address this concern.

If you feel strongly about the bill and want to sign a petition to stop the bill, you may do so here. If you would like to add your ideas, statements, or feedback to the TAGP’s packet of amendments to be presented to Councilman Greenlee, send them to natalee@theatrealliance.org. You can also join the conversation on Yelp, or read about local artists’ take on the Crushing Krisis, Pistola, or Philly Metal. Philly Weekly also wrote about the bill and an article in the Inquirer appeared.



Joe is a native Philadelphia who began writing music at the age of 12. He has worked with the cellist Alisa Weilerstein, and members of the Philadelphia Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, and Seattle Symphony, among others. He has also entered the world of pop music and remixing. He teaches both privately and at Drexel University. Joe has been writing for the arts for 10 years. You can follow Joe on twitter at twitter.com/HallmanComposer. You can find his music on iTunes and all other major digital retailers. For a taste of his music, check out: www.reverbnation.com/JosephHallman 

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