Save live music
A temporary veto of new voices on the music scene. Since the summer of 2008, concerts have been banned in ten small venues as decreed by the town hall of Puerto de Santa Maria in Cadiz. Negotiations between musicians and the local authorities are still underway, but swords are drawn and ready for battle while both sides try to reach an agreement when it comes to live music. “It’s just not realistic to think that musicians can go straight from music school or their rehearsal venue and make it on an international playing field. Playing live is an essential part of the process,” explains the musician Héctor Robles who owns the venue El Barcito.
This municipality-wide ban is based on the 2007 Andalusian law controlling public entertainment and which restricts concerts to large venues and nightclubs. At the moment, the town councillor for the local government youth department in Puerto Santa Maria, Francisco Aguilar, is looking for a legal loophole in the shape of a bylaw to allow musicians to play in smaller venues again. “We’re keeping an open mind. We are dealing with a legal issue here and we believe a compromise can be found. The law needs to be adapted or a loophole found because in reality the local police are merely abiding by the law and it would be unwise to overlook that,” explains Aguilar.
Musicians and businesses have suggested a 22:30 curfew for concerts in venues without licences for recorded music. They’ve asked for a 01:30 curfew for venues with a licence. Bars would therefore be granted special status by their support of musical quality and would therefore respect the rules.
“This situation is particularly absurd given that the local police have even suspended concerts organised by the local government itself,” highlights the movement on their website. This issue came up in Barcelona in 2007 and the town hall reacted swiftly creating a bylaw for “music bars with live music” for venues without dance floors.
Support for the movement is rapidly on the up. “The government has delegated responsibilities to town halls who apply the law to varying extents. We are campaigning to transfer responsibility for this issue to the Department of Culture rather than the Department for the Environment given that they understand what we’re facing. Hopefully their laws would be more reasonable,” explains Fernando Pino secretary of COSA, the cultural association for coordinating live music venues in Andalusia. Percussionist Javi Ruibal, an artist affected by this problem, reflects on the issue: “We have written to the mayor so that this issue can be resolved. Meanwhile musicians like myself can’t work”.
Live music doesn’t rouse a great deal of support on the other side of the bay. In Cadiz, the number of concert venues has decreased over the years inciting the creation of a movement known as Rock gaditano en el exilio (Rock from Cadiz in exile) who hold their music festival in nearby Puerto Real. The enigma seems to be repeating itself. “Local police have even tried to shut down concerts organised by the town hall. We can’t even count on the Casa de la Juventud anymore. When the odds are stacked against you and they try to stifle you even more, it usually has the opposite effect,” comments Karim Algende hopefully from the association Akople Local.
- • Official myspace page for Salvemos el Directo
- • Official website for Salvemos El Directo
- • Official website for the Musicarte Association