Philly's Party Planners Push Back Against the "Promoter's Bill"

By Tara Murtha
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 18 | Posted May. 18, 2010

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Ben Morgan, music director of Millcreek Tavern

“This will certainly hurt small companies like Village Green and Cloud Entertainment who are building their networks by putting on small-scale events. This is how you build a base to eventually make money, but there is very little revenue in small concerts—and it takes years of building before you start seeing the benefits. Honestly, in my world of underground rock-based concerts, no one since R5 Productions has even come close to getting a large-scale concert operation off the ground.”

Mark Wolfe, promoter

“There are already laws governing capacity. Those clubs can be fined or worse, shut down. I’ve seen L&I do that the night of a show for far, far less … As for this booking license thing, this will cause events to be taken out of the city. I know I would not ever consider applying for such a ridiculous thing that has no benefit to me other than a means to sue me and my insurance company.”

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Comments 1 - 18 of 18
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1. Anonymous said... on May 19, 2010 at 11:28AM

“promoters are already liable for people getting hurt at the music biz, they call it "insurance"”

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2. PhillyClubScene said... on May 19, 2010 at 11:31AM

“WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE BEING QUOTED?!?!?! Absolutely no CLUB promoters were interviewed or quoted.”

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3. Elizabeth Flynn said... on May 19, 2010 at 11:35AM

“Thank you Tara for writing about this ridiculous law, and especially for speaking to some of the independent artists, venue owners and promoters in Philadelphia. They are truly correct that the city does not have the bureaucratic capacity to support the policing of individual events in Philly's huge live arts scene. Having worked in the entertainment business in many capacities for over 15 years in Philadelphia, I too can attest that the institution of this law is unnecessary, overzealous and completely impractical. It will only hurt a struggling arts community, that are not doing anything illegal. Artists are not criminals, and parties are not a crime. They are big business, and the city will be taking money out of its own pocket through this bill. Don't let it pass!”

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4. Joe W said... on May 19, 2010 at 11:57AM

“In response to Post#1 by 'Anonymous' -- please read the bill -- the increased liability for a promoter includes the actions of the attendees inside and 'in the vicinity' of the event. So, if people leave the venue and mob through the streets, the promoter is held liable, not the individuals committing crimes.

If the promoter gets on a megaphone and tells everyone to go nuts and burn the city down -- I get it -- BUT! Book them as 'inciting to riot,' not as in violation of some vague amendment to the city's special assembly regulations.

This liability clause feels unjust AND lazy on the part of the police, for events at smaller venues -- for a stadium, sure, make sure you have your security staff keeping people in control, and alert the police if an extra presence is needed. If I throw a show at a small venue like the Khyber, and someone inside gets wasted and then goes nuts outside, that's not my fault. End of story.”

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5. JOdozynski said... on May 19, 2010 at 12:10PM

“Alot of people have been saying this bill is about public saftey, it's not! Like gun laws, there are laws already in place! when have you ever been in a public buliding and not seen a cert of occupation with the number of people allowed in that room? fire codes, electric codes, zoning, entertainment premits, Liquor License, ect. these laws just do not get enforced! MAKE NO MISTAKE THIS ABOUT THE CITY TELLING US WHAT IS AND IS NOT ACCEPTABLE! plain and simple CENSORSHIP!!!!!”

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6. PhillyArts&MusicFan said... on May 19, 2010 at 01:33PM

“All I have to say is whatever happened to the concept of personal responsibility? Any adult: whether a promoter, club owner, performer, audience member, or random passerby, can only be held accountable for their own actions.”

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7. Bill Hubbard said... on May 19, 2010 at 10:10PM

“At the end of the day, preservation of the art and artist is paramount....however, liabilities are also an issue...this is a case of using a "broad brush" on a very small group of entrepreneurs who are doing their "creative best" to survive....I say to consider the backlash if an artists creativity cant be expressed....some happy medium must be established....sooner than later................................Onyx Engine”

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8. Pete said... on May 20, 2010 at 08:05AM

“The cultural economy of Philadelphia would be absolutely crippled. Unbelievable ignorance of the live-arts community crafted this bill.”

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9. Murcury said... on May 20, 2010 at 12:19PM

“'“WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE BEING QUOTED?!?!?! Absolutely no CLUB promoters were interviewed or quoted.”'

@PhillyClubScene: Your point? Represent if you feel it's necessary. I think the folks above articulated the situation very well. It's a broad swatch of folks whom this bill would affect.

Is there a possibility the 'CLUB PROMOTERS' are the catalyst for this bill-wrongheaded as it is? I'm just askin'.”

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10. Sam Wilson said... on May 20, 2010 at 01:45PM

“I regularly host Argentine Tango dance and music events both in the city and the suburbs and I can assure you: if this bill passes there would be no more Tango dancing in the city. Last year, I worked with other promoters to bring Argentine electronic musicians Otros Aires to Philadelphia for a concert. If this bill had been in place, that event would not have happened. This year, two-time Latin Grammy nominated Tanghetto will be playing in Philadelphia over Memorial Day at the First Philadelphia International Tango Festival. I'm not directly involved with hosting that event, but this bill would likely have prevented that event from happening as well.

This bill stands to kill numerous cultural activities in this city. Things that fall below the rader, sure, but the exact things that make this city a wonderful place to live, work and play.

After decades of a declining population, the last things this city needs to do is destroy one of the last and best reasons for anyone to live here.”

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11. Mark Wolfe said... on May 20, 2010 at 04:17PM

“responding to anyone asking "who is being quoted" and why... I did not seek out the PW, they asked me. I provided a detailed list of things I found wrong with this bill and the author chose some of my comments and posted them in the article. One thing I did notice was that my title is incorrect and I was asked twice to provide my title and even still it was not included, I am not a "promoter", but I digress...

I frankly think it is irrelevant who was quoted, the comments, as I read them here, are the same and in unison with those who have been quoted. I also notice there are some club promoters quoted, people who book shows at some well known clubs, regardless of affiliation, we all seem to be in agreement that this whole thing stinks to high heaven and if and when it comes down to a vote and the basic tenants of this bill have not been drastically changed, we WILL march on city hall to give it one final push and ultimately if this is passed as it currently reads, we will boycott it.”

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12. said... on May 21, 2010 at 02:38PM

“There is an easy solution to this. Instead of making promoters apply for a permit for each event, make the promoter apply for a promoter identification number or even a simple business license. The promoter would then be responsible for providing that number "proof" to the venue owner. If there is even an incident, accident or whatever there is documentation of the validity/legitimacy of said promoter.

I mean lets face it, the city wants to have a record of what's going within it's jurisdiction but the reality is that it is next to impossible to keep track of each and every event that occurs without basically crippling the promoters. Honestly, the promoter should have a business license anyway, because well....they are doing business!”

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13. Mark Wolfe said... on May 22, 2010 at 03:02PM

“ Interesting point except that there is no legal definition for a "promoter" which is why this bill is so crazy in the first place. More importantly, there is no distinction between joe-bob sixpack organizing a big family reunion and a someone who is putting on the next lollapaloser and every event that falls in the middle.

People that plan shows, from weddings to arena rock events already have to have insurance and deal with a litany of existing laws and regulations as do the clubs and venues that hold said events.

It seems to me the focus for the police should be on how to best handle crowd issues that have violence or vandalism, weather it is a so called "flash-mob" of facebook organized high school kids or spillover from a well attended show. Since fallout and damage from this problem is the issue, why not deal directly with that instead of making it impossible to hold events in the first place?

More police, better organization & enforcement of existing laws.”

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14. said... on May 22, 2010 at 05:54PM

“Councilmen Bill Greenlee will be live on air at
Sun @ 6pm.
Call in with all of your questions and concerns.”

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15. Angry Pirate said... on May 24, 2010 at 10:53PM

“Yesterday, 5/23, Black Collar Radio had Councilman Greenlee on to discuss this bill for about an hour, and we got some interesting answers, as well as some interesting non-answers. You can listen to the replays at and hear it from the source of it all. Great work by all that made the noise to start Council's initial retreat, fuckin A and rock on.

Black Collar Crew”

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16. JJ said... on May 26, 2010 at 02:26PM

“'s not like muscians need to work or eat, or have families or anything.
There are plenty of other jobs in Philadelphia. We're just not trying hard enough.”

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17. beauracrats said... on Jun 18, 2010 at 05:16PM

“Really thought the city was budget for books for schools,no budget for school lunch(ie if your kid doesn't have money in his pocket he doesn't eat)
no budget for teachers,no budget for public library,no budget for fire department,no budget for music in our schools
But the city has a budget to approve permits......
i be willing to bet that moron city council men got good money from clear channel and live nation for his campaign ......”

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18. Anonymous said... on Jun 18, 2010 at 05:19PM

“U got to be kidding me................
this city is boring enough................
smells like someone is clearing the way for corp America to take over whats left of night life in the nation & clear channel...”


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