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Dallas promoters and event organizers concerned new ordinance boosting safety will harm business

Dallas City Hall is seen lit at night.
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Dallas city council approved a new requirements for venue operators and promoters who advertise large events. Event promoters are concerned that it will impact Dallas’ economy and cultural vibrancy.

Dallas event promoters who follow the rules say a new ordinance to crack down on unpermitted events will also hurt their business.

The new ordinance was proposed earlier this year after a unpermitted trail ride and concert in Southern Dallas turned deadly in April.

City officials approved a new set of rules Wednesday that they say will help keep residents safe at music shows, concerts and other performances.

“We are staring down summer and there is so much that happens over summertime when things get hot. Tensions and violence escalate. I feel like while we can still listen and continue to perfect this the time is right to go forward with it in the name of lives that can be saved,” Council Member Gay Donnel Willis said.

But event promoter Damany Daniel says the extra fees and paperwork now required will create more barriers for organizers during the busiest season of the year.

“So, if you put them jumping through a series of hoops right on the cusp, of a busy event season is it's concerning,” Daniel said.

Daniel is the Chief Imaginator of The Event Nerd. He is also a board member with the Deep Ellum Foundation and board member with the Dallas International Film Festival. He and a group of leaders at event production companies sent a letter to the city council last week urging council members to delay the vote. But that didn't happen.

“If passed in its current form, this ordinance would adversely impact Dallas’ economic and cultural vibrancy in ways we cannot currently calculate due to its ambiguity,” the letter stated.

Daniel said the process felt rushed and not all key stakeholders got to weigh in.

"This feels like a bit of a knee-jerk reaction to some significantly unfortunate and dangerous circumstances that have happened over the course of the past several months,” he said.

“... Things that they're asking for in this ordinance are already being handled or can already be handled through existing laws, through existing ordinances and through existing code enforcement,” Daniel said.

Council Member Adam McGough said at the meeting he wanted to make sure residents are safe.

“The concern I have with the delay is that there will be another incident. Something tragic would and could happen,” he said.

The ordinance requires:

  • Commercial promoter to register with the city as a commercial promoter and pay a $175 fee.  
  • A special event permit.  
  • A general safety plan that details what the event is about. 
  • A contact person who can be contacted 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in the event of an emergency. 
  • An estimate of how many people are expected to attend. 
  • A crowd management plan. 

Event promoters could face a fine of $500 to $2,000 if they don't follow the rules. And they could be responsible for any costs resulting from an emergency response.

Got a tip? Email Alejandra Martinez at amartinez@kera.org. You can follow Alejandra on Twitter @alereports.

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