Pilot program to open up live performance space wins unanimous council approval

Vancouver city council has unanimously approved a pilot program to roll back restrictive rules and regulations that were strangling live performance in small venues across the city.

Under the old rules, it was virtually impossible to hold a live performance in any venue other than a club, theatre or other venue built for “assembly,” with all that entails for fire exits, permitting and licensing.

Organizing a live performance in art gallery or other small venue could take six or seven permits and $1,000, if it was possible at all.

Event organizers, musicians and gallery operators lined up to praise the new rules, although many wished they went further.

Under the pilot program, steered to a conclusion by Councillor Heather Deal, small event organizers will be able to have up to two events a month at a given location, obtain a licence from a single person at City Hall and pay much reduced fees.

The main complaint: two few events are permitted. That will be reviewed during the course of the pilot program.