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July 28, 2008

Live music legislation

I'm late to the game on this one, but with K-Swift's death and the new arena announcement all coming down the pipes last week, I was buried with breaking news.

City Council President Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake (that's a mouthful isn't it?) introduced a bill that would let more bars and clubs apply for live music licenses.

She proposes establishing a five-member panel to review applications for annual live entertainment licenses.

I don't see this being a big hit with neighborhood associations.

Nobody who lives near a loud corner bar wants it to get even louder with live bands all the time.

But this would be huge for the local music scene. More bars and clubs to play in is always a good thing.

Wonder if it will pass. 

(Photo from Sun archives) 

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 12:15 PM | | Comments (10)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Local music


the implications that this might have on baltimore's amazing underground music scene scares me - will there be yearly license fees, massive paperwork, fines? also, having a panel of 5 people deciding the cultural output of a city opens up the possibility of all kinds of discrimination and bias.

Would be interesting to see how many people in her own district would actually want something like this.

Instead, it impacts those of us in areas where there are already noisy neighborhood joints. But if it gets more fees, like the recent drastic increase in street level food/wine allowed in neighborhood joints, we'll see it passed regardless.

I think that it would be great. What's the difference between a live band and a loud jukebox. It should be a noise ordinance problem not whether or not it is "live" entertainment. Live music would draw more people into the city. The bars have always been there. They increase the value of the neighborhood. They are a major reason why people move into the city.

Stephanie Rawlings-Blake now as city council President represents the whole city. I have no empirical evidence to support this position but I am certain some people in the city are in favor of it.

This is an awful proposition that could potentially destroy live music in Baltimore.It only requires 10 people within 10 blocks to nix a club that has been around for decades?There is no protection for already existing clubs in this.Potentially alot of smaller non-full time clubs that allow smaller artists to play would be shut down,like Sidebar,Charm City Art Space,and Barclay House.This decision doesn't affect only Baltimore residents,but musicians and fans all over the state,not to mention touring bands whose tour schedules could be ruined.Simply disastrous.

Garrett, I understand your situation, but the same is true with bars in general. If enough people don't like a certain bar they can try to nix it. This proposition would allow bars that don't have live music to obtain it. Please let me know if I am reading this wrong.

This would not be "huge" for the Baltimore music scene--it would kill it. Many venues will not be able to afford the $1,600 in fees. Five appointed persons will have the right to deny and revoke a venue's live entertainment license. Sounds scary. And your missing the point--this WILL be a big hit for neighborhood associations. All they have to do is file 10 complaints against a venue to shut it down. And they will exercise that right frivolously.


This is killing me.

Don't worry Mark I'm working on it.

would love to have an update on this matter Sam, I haven't heard anything about this. It would be a better way for the city to make money other than fining shops, restaurants, and bars $500 for having an A Frame outside.

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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