Philadelphia City Councilman Mark Squilla has proposed a bill which would require owners of any venue that plays host to large music events to collect the names, addresses, and phone numbers of entertainers in order to share the information when requested by the police. This blanket would cover all forms of entertainment including bands, rappers, DJs, and even streamed events at venues which hold 50 or more people.
The bill would allow city police final judgement on any and all shows held within the city limits. Involved in this ‘decision making process’ would be law enforcement’s evaluation of potential crime, traffic, litter, noise, and parking. Even the consideration for local residencies in the neighborhood could cause events to be rejected under the new policy.
Councilman Squilla responded to questions on the bill to the media with the following statement:
“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.”
When asked as what motivated him to introduce the idea, the Councilman would not mention any specific past incidents.
Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez, who chairs the Committee on Licenses and Inspections also generalized the entertainment industry, but mentioned that the bill will target artists who, “have been known to have created incidents and violence at their previous acts.”
R5 Productions, one of Philly’s largest promotion companies, hosts more than 600 shows a year. Owner, Sean Agnew expressed skepticism towards the idea and how it may drastically change the city’s music industry:
“I have never once received an artist’s home address or phone number. It’s all through booking agents, managers, publicists… There is a firewall in place with the artists. I can’t imagine a band’s representatives wanting to give their clients information over to the police without a really good reason.”
In additional to the extensive procedures, Squilla’s bill would also increase licensure fees for entertainment businesses by 150% annually.
Despite claiming that he hasn’t received any direct push back from local entertainers or business owners, Squilla finds himself amidst controversy. Specifically, he has received criticism directed towards his comments on the proposition as they don’t appear to align with the language of the bill. It’s unclear how this story will end, but at this time it doesn’t appear as if the proposition in it’s original wording will gain enough traction to become implemented. This is still a noteworthy story as other city councils may take notice and draft similar restrictive measures to gain more power over their nightlife.
Source: Billy Penn