An article i found from Music Week...The amount of times club managers say police and councils don't want urban music nights at there venues is ridiculous...
Read and support!!!
A Manchester promoter is calling for a public inquiry to investigate what he claims is widespread and systematic discrimination against urban music concerts.
Gold National Events director Mike Forrester, whose own planned festival fell victim to over-zealous council officials, now believes there is a case for an investigation as part of a wider public inquiry into the licensing of events.
Forrester won a legal battle with Manchester City Council earlier this year after the local authority pulled the plug on a Bob Marley tribute event he organised in 2008.
A financial award relating to this has still to be decided with the parties returning to court this week. In the meantime, the publicity generated by the case has seen Forrester inundated with messages of support from the live industry, with many recounting similar licensing cock-ups and forced cancellations.
“We’ve heard from promoters, venue owners, people in the music industry itself and even a MOBO-winning DJ who turned up at a club in Birmingham to find a notice on the DJ booth reading, ‘No Soca. No hip-hop. No R&B. No rap.’ That is just wrong and it’s time to do something about it,” says Forrester, who claims the police and local authorities often start from a position of opposition, believing that events aimed at the black community will lead to violence. “That is just patently not the case, so we need to highlight these issues and change the system,” argues Forrester, who has written to Prime Minister David Cameron asking to discuss the matter.
Cameron wrote back saying his diary was full, leading Forrester to start up a Campaign for the Freedom of Music, which asks that licensing matters are dealt with fairly. “No matter what the genre of music and where issues arise, there is a level of accountability to give promoters and venue owners some sort of recourse,” says Forrester.
He adds than once 250,000 names are on the petition he will return to Cameron and demand a public inquiry, of which he is already approaching leading figures in the music industry to support.
“We want to ensure that procedures with councils and police forces in the booking of events in public parks and open spaces are fair and transparent, with consequences if they fail in their duties,” he says, claiming he had to put his house and car on the line to fight his case with Manchester City Council. “I don’t think anyone else should have to endure that, but the number of stories I’m hearing from other people around the country proves that this is a nationwide problem. We’re supposed to be living in the 21st Century, not the 1800s, but when it comes to organising any kind of urban music event, the only word I can think of to describe the reaction of the licensing authorities is apartheid.”
Forrester is also hoping his campaign will capture the imagination of the public in acting to take control of the entertainment they want to see in their local parks and venues. He adds, “My ideal would be if the public could take power back from the licensing authorities. We are the ones who are paying our council tax, so we should be the ones who decide what events are staged in our local parks, not the police or local council who have no idea what urban music is.”