‘We are still here, we are still listening’: Musicians march on City Hall

What started as a protest turned into a victory lap this week, as Philly’s music community rallied to protest and then celebrate the death of the controversial ‘special assembly’ bill.

JARED WHALEN/BILLY PENN

JARED WHALEN/BILLY PENN

It was supposed to be a protest. It turned into a victory march.

Philadelphia musicians learned after organizing that they’d gotten their wish: City Councilman Mark Squilla was killing bill 160016, a piece of legislation that would have required venue owners to collect musician’s contact information and provide it to the police, artists and music fans.

Last week, Billy Penn’s story about the potential impact of the bill went viral across social media, exploding in music community forums and Facebook groups. A very vocal and opposed music community sent numerous calls and e-mails to Squilla, bombarding his social platforms with questions and complaints as well.

A protest had been scheduled for February 4, but in light of the bill being withdrawn it was decided by its organizers to repurpose it as a victory march.

“We’re partially here because it’s a victory and we’re partially here to keep the pressure on,” says Léa van der Tak, one of the planners of the demonstration. “These people here are expecting a rewrite that could still threaten them, that could threaten their music scene. By being here, we’ll let them know that we are still here, we are still listening, and we will pay attention.”

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JARED WHALEN/BILLY PENN

 

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