Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Review: Music Nightlife Handbook

Things to consider from the handbook available here.

In August of 2006, the Seattle City Council passed an ordinance requiring all nightclubs (defined for this purpose as “any business open to the public in which liquor is served between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., except where service of liquor is incidental to an event that is not open to the public; and has a maximum occupancy capacity of two hundred (200) or more people”) to file a written Safety Plan with DEA. Ordinance Number: 122474

CONTACT: Rachel White to see if these Safety Plans (for venues that have all-ages shows) are open to public

Seattle nightlife Business technical assistance program at 206.684.8504

All-Ages Dance License
An All-Ages Dance License is required for anyone operating an all-ages dance of 250 or more patrons, and for all persons operating an all-ages dance venue. This license is not required when fewer than 250 patrons are admitted, or if the dance is sponsored by an accredited educational institution.

Performers as Employees
According to Washington State case law, any performers or DJs
contracted to provide a service in liquor establishments are considered
employees of the establishment and are therefore prohibited from
consuming alcohol while performing that service either on stage or in a
DJ booth.

Maintaining Safety & Security
Your best strategy for maintaining safety & security is to develop
and maintain a comprehensive risk management program and strategy.

The terms “safety” and “security” are often used interchangeably to describe the concept of protection from injury, danger and loss. However the practical applications of safety and security are guided by different principles in achieving this goal.

The provision of safety necessitates the prevention of potential risks and hazards through precautionary tactics. Safety measures often address environmental stimuli that may encourage excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages, contribute to violent or aggressive behavior in patrons, or interfere with an economically viable business.

In contrast, security tactics can be characterized as more reactionary than precautionary in nature. The primary role of security staff within an establishment is usually to survey the crowd’s conduct and to confront intoxicated and/or aggressive patrons.

Generally, people act in a way that is irresponsible for one of three reasons: They don’t know the rules or boundaries; they know of but don’t know how to follow the rules or boundaries; or they know how but don’t care. Effective management requires an understanding of these basic principles and works to support all three types.

Ongoing training of service, security, and management staff is crucial to the effective implementation of policies and procedures. Selecting the proper training requires an understanding of risk, the level of training required, appropriateness of curriculum to the needs of the business, qualifications of the instructors, and the integrity of the agency or organization providing the training.

Hiring Off-Duty Seattle Police Officers
Department policy prohibits, under any circumstances, Seattle Police from working for or on behalf of establishments that sell or dispense intoxicating beverages. This policy is in place to prevent any actual or perceived conflicts of interest.

However, SPD recognizes that under certain conditions, the augmentation of on-duty officers with the presence and services of off-duty officers may enhance public safety in specific areas. Areas with a high concentration of liquor establishments have the opportunity to join together and work closely with SPD to provide additional security officers to specifically defined areas.

SPD may grant permits for the employment of off-duty SPD officers, in a secondary employment capacity, to business associations meeting eligibility requirements and agreeing to be bound by specific terms and conditions. Applications are considered on a case-by–case basis.

All-Ages Dance and Underage Performers

All-Ages Dance
If a liquor licensed premises is open to the public for food service, and not restricted to minors, minors must be off the entire premise after 11pm if there is live entertainment. If the liquor licensee obtains an exception to this restriction, through the WSLCB, then all-ages shows are permitted only when minors may not be present in or have access to any area where they have access to alcohol. There must be an established system for keeping alcohol away from minors - such as restricting alcohol service and consumption inside a lounge area, and not allowing it into the restaurant or live entertainment area.

For dedicated all-ages events or venues where no alcohol is served, performers of any age are allowed at all times during regular operating hours. The City of Seattle requires you to have a license for all-ages dance. See the ‘Special Licenses and Permits’ section of Section II.

Instituting a ‘no re-entry’ policy is strongly encouraged when holding all-ages events. This eliminates the possibility of underage patrons leaving, only to return intoxicated after consuming alcohol off-premises. You are still responsible for an intoxicated person on your premises, even if they drank outside. This includes an intoxicated minor on your premises during an all-ages event regardless of where that minor consumed the alcohol.

There are special concerns when a 21+ venue holds an all-ages show, and a special license is required as well. Consultations regarding all-ages events are encouraged and can be arranged through the Nightlife Technical Assistance Program. If you would like further information on policies and procedures for conducting all ages shows, including how to stage and monitor separation of 21+ from underage patrons, please contact the Film + Music Office at (206) 684-8504.

Underage Performers in 21+ establishments
Performers 18 and older are allowed to play in 21+ liquor licensed venues. State Law dictates that underage performers cannot be present in a venue where alcohol is being served at any time prior to their set, during breaks, or after playing their set.

Performers 17 and under are not allowed in 21+ venues to perform at any time for any reason (unless it is an all-ages show as explained above). The RCW addressing this issue can be found here

RCW 66.44.316 specifically provides:
"It is lawful for: (1) Professional musicians, professional disc jockeys, or professional sound or lighting technicians actively engaged in support of professional musicians or professional disc jockeys, eighteen years of age and older, to enter and to remain in any premises licensed under the provisions of Title 66 RCW, but only during and in the course of their employment as musicians, disc jockeys, or sound or lighting technicians;..."

Hiring underage musicians doesn’t have to be a hassle if you take a controlled approach. ID every band member and clearly stamp or wristband both 21+ and underage performers so staff can clearly identify them. You may be able to provide a designated area where there is no access to alcohol, but if that is not possible your staff will be able to easily recognize who should not be present in areas where alcohol is being served. Either way, be consistent in implementing your plan in order to remain in compliance with liquor laws.

CONTACT: Seattle Police Department Nightlife Security Training: Det. Bob Peth at or (206) 684-8661


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