By GENE STOUT
Mayor Ed Murray has announced Seattle will implement a low-cost, phased-in approach to make it easier for musicians to load and unload their equipment at local music venues.
“Seattle’s music scene is a critical part of our city’s cultural draw and the quality of life in our city,” the major said in a statement. “We want to better serve local music venues’ needs and the musicians (who) play there.”
Five venues have been selected for the Seattle – City of Music pilot program, which will create priority load and unload zones with special signage. The yellow regulatory sign will read “Priority Musicians Loading and Unloading.”
“Seattle’s Music Commission strives to champion innovative ideas that help local musicians make a living making music in Seattle,” said Jody McKinley, Chair of Seattle’s Music Commission and vice-president of Rhapsody International. “Implementing these priority load zones for musicians continues to grow the City of Music mission to support local musicians in a very concrete way.”
So far, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and the Office of Film and Music (OFM) have worked with four local music venues to install the signs. They include High Dive, The Crocodile, The Triple Door and Showbox at the Market.
The City of Seattle invites other interested music venues to request similar load zones. But in order to qualify for the Musician Load Zone program, businesses must meet the requirements defined in the Admissions Tax Exemption for Live Music Venues.
If they do, the city will evaluate whether a load zone is feasible. Businesses should contact Rachel White, OFM’s Music and Creative Industries Program Manager at email@example.com or (206) 684-8504.
“We were able to work with the Office of Film + Music and the Department of Transportation to find a solution that worked for us and for neighboring businesses,” said Scott Giampino, talent buyer at The Triple Door. “Most significantly it means safer, more efficient loading and unloading for the musicians who play here.”
For the music community, the new program should come as positive news after the mayor’s recent sacking of James Keblas, the popular head of the city’s Office of Film + Music.