Greg Kot, for Chicago Tribune:
Mayor Richard M. Daley announced Tuesday that he won’t be running for re-election in 2011, and he will leave behind a decidedly mixed and often controversial legacy as the city’s de facto overseer of the local music community.
For decades, the city under his administration treated the local popular music scene – and by extension the artists, businesses and fans who make it go – as a second-class citizen. A Radiohead show in Grant Park in 2001 was a triumph, but the city blocked Grant Park shows by the Smashing Pumpkins in 1998 and Grateful Dead spinoff band the Other Ones in 2002, citing crowd management fears – this despite hosting major, densely populated events such as Taste of Chicago and Jazz Fest on the same property.
In 2000 and 2001, legislation was passed that effectively quelled after-hours dance parties in a city renowned for its dance music. The relationship between the city and its nightclubs took another backward step in the wake of the E2 nightclub disaster in 2003 that claimed 21 lives. The fire department conducted more than 2000 spot night inspections that year alone and closed 16 clubs at least temporarily, most for exceeding occupancy limits. One club, Martyrs, was forced to end a show by the Spanish band Ojos de Brujo prematurely and fined $2,500, even though the show was sponsored by the city and the band had been flown over from Europe for the performance. Club owners who had been in business for decades with clean records said they were being scapegoated for oversights made in monitoring E2, a club that was operating despite numerous building code violations.
In 2007, a University of Chicago study highlighted tension between City Hall and the music community, describing Chicago as “a music city in hiding”...
Jim DeRogatis, for Vocalo:
…In any event, reiterating Kot’s roster of musical wrongs and preparing for an appearance to discuss the same this morning on WBEZ’s “848,” here is my short list of the ways Daley has actively hurt the music community, despite the mind-blowing benefits outlined in a 2007 study by the University of Chicago commissioned by the Chicago Music Commission, which called this “a music city in hiding” despite the facts that it generates $1 billion a year and employs 53,000 people (accomplishments a lot more real than the dubious ones the Olympics might have brought).
* The anti-rave ordinance, restrictive legislation written to curb a scene and a culture that city officials never spent a minute trying to understand.
* The heavy-handed post-E2 crackdown on live music venues, ignoring the obvious differences between a licensed club or theater and a dangerous dance club that should have been shut down for dozens of violations that were ignored until tragedy struck.
* The attempts to pass a promoter’s ordinance that would have made it nearly impossible for small, independent music boosters to sponsor shows by forcing them to pay steep licensing fees and obtain tens of thousands of dollars in redundant insurance, even when they were working at licensed, insured, and regulated venues…