Friday, January 29, 2016

Philly Musicians May Have To Register With The Police To Play A Gig

A city councilman in Philadelphia isn't exactly showing much brotherly love to musicians, as he's introduced a bill that would require venues like bars, restaurants and clubs to collect the contact information from bands, rappers, DJs and other performers, then hand it over to the police.

“Giving performers’ information to police when requested enables them to review past performances to see if there were any public safety issues during their events,” Councilman Mark Squilla, the sponsor of the bill, told the website Billy Penn via email.

The bill is an amendment to the "Special Assembly Occupancies" section of the Philadelphia code that would grant the police department the ability to approve or revoke a license for gatherings or screenings of more than 50 people.

The bill also raises the license application fee from $100 a year to $500 every two years.

This is just another assault on bars and clubs that has been happening everywhere. Without these venues, not only will it be tougher for musicians to make a living (like it could get any harder), but also make it much more difficult for the next generation of performers to attain the stage time required to learn their craft.

Clubs have it tough enough these days just coping with rising rents and keeping the neighbors happy, but increased police scrutiny for some mystical issue that no one can figure out shouldn't be one of them.

There's a campaign to stop the bill. I encourage you to sign to help not only support Philly music, but music everywhere.

UPDATE: Councilman Squilla has withdrawn his bill after the public outcry, so score one for Philly musicians and all those who have supported them.

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