Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Dancing in the dark

As a live music fan, I've been taking a keen interest in the ongoing struggles of venues in the face of a seemingly never-ending series of threats - the most recent being sharp rates increases. Across the Atlantic, establishments are also suffering, many forced to close their shutters after being deliberately targeted by the authorities in the wake of the fatal fire at the Ghost Ship venue in Oakland at the end of last year.

Even if a concern for public safety is the only reason behind the increased scrutiny and pressure, then it's worrying (if understandable) that it's mainly DIY venues that are being affected, simply because they're precisely the sort of places that are routinely the crux of creativity and new scenes.

And in any case, it's doubtful that keeping people safe is the sole motivating factor for the clampdown. As this short history (part of Thump's Dancing vs. The State series of posts) illustrates, the US authorities have long resorted to all means at their disposal (including systematic misuse of laws) to regulate nightlife. Footloose was based on a true story, you know.

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