Though it has played host to acts like Avicii (pictured above), Skrillex, Major Lazer, and Flosstradamus, Chicago’s Congress Theater has bowed to pressures from neighbors and banned EDM shows, even if the venue is sold to a new owner.
According to DNAinfo, The Congress, which has been shut down since last year after losing its liquor license, has faced significant opposition from neighbors of the club over the type of crowds attending EDM shows. The agreement to end EDM shows at the venue was signed July 30 by the city of Chicago and the Congress’ owner.
The agreement defines EDM as “music created by a DJ or multiple DJs primarily using specialized equipment and software instead of traditional instruments… And an EDM performance shall be defined as a performance of Electronic Dance Music or any performance by a DJ or multiple DJs featured the playing of prerecorded music. Performers that incorporate electronic beats or prerecorded music in their acts shall be allowed, provided those performers either sing vocals or play an instrument(s) (or do both) during their performance.”
One alderman, Joe Moreno has spoken up and said the ban has gone too far, and places more blame on the owner rather than the genre itself or its fans:
“It’s not the genre, it’s the way the owner handles the genre. I don’t blame the genre or the artists, it’s the operator who has to be able to handle the crowd. Unfortunately, the Congress has a history of not being able to manage certain types of crowds. It’s the same thing other genres have gone through.”
However, Gregory Steadman, the city’s liquor control commissioner, stated that it was about safety and the desires of the community surrounding the venue.
“The city wanted [the plan of operation] at that venue because of the historic problems with Congress… the [liquor] license revocation had to do with EDM events there. The community does not want those events there. We’re not saying EDM [shows] are all bad but in venues of this size–5,000 seats–we don’t feel this is appropriate for the Congress… There’s a rising level of concern about these events and whether or not they’re safe, but this is about what the community wants and the type of entertainment they want to see there.”