College Underground Magazine Issue 2 - Page 6

panel strongly advised those starting DIY venues to track and keep receipts of EVERY expense. With the multitude of upfront costs associated with starting a music venue, Page 6 CAN I OPEN A DIY VENUE? By Mike Lawrence Last month I participated in a legal panel held on the subject of how to legalize DIY music venues. There has been a tradition of DIY (which stands for Do It Yourself) venues springing up in cities like New York, Portland, Athens, Minne- apolis, and Seattle. These venues created unique music scenes and cultures that spawned a variety of widely successful acts. DIY venues are typically started by local residents in unlicensed spaces. These spaces have also been started by pro- moters establishing make shift concert halls located in industrial neighborhoods within some of the cities listed above. The panel was hosted at Silent Barn, a legal DIY space that moved to its current location in Brooklyn after a major theft. In Brooklyn, a number of these venues have been shut down over the last few years, mainly for operating without a liquor license. I sat on a legal panel that included two other lawyers and two owners of DIY spaces in Brooklyn. People in the au- dience consisted of neighbors, artists, and entrepreneurs interested in starting similar type spaces in NYC. Topics covered during the panel included when to start the legalization process, what legal entity to choose for ownership, and legal considerations to keep in mind while operating a DIY space. While the panel stressed the importance of consulting with lawyers as early in the process as possible, a general consensus was reached that legal advice from an attorney was no substitute for a fully developed the vision for the space. This could be captured in a mission statement that described the venue and how it would serve the commu- nity and its patrons. A well thought out vision would help any consultant cut though all the considerations that have to be weighed when advising ownership as to suggestions they should keep in mind while running their operation. The choice of which business entity to adopt for the operation of the venue should be the first and foremost legal concern of ownership. The choice of legal entity most often turns on the balancing of ownership’s often conflicting desires to limit liability while exerting maximum control. The sole proprietorship and part- nership business structures favor o ۙ\\][Y\[ܙH۝ HۋBYHو\H\[\[]Y\\]^HX]HHۙ\[\XHZ[œ\ۘ[HXXHYHYYوH\[\[ݙ\^[\[ ܂Z\[\[H[&]ݙ\XX[]Y\ˈHۋ\ٚ][ܜܘ][ۈ\[\œX\\Y[ۙ\HXX[]H܈[Y[]\[\[HܛX[\][ۈو\[\܈X]]Y\\ܛYYHۙ\\[HX[[Z\\X]Hو\][H\[\ˈۙ\\وHۋ\ٚ]ܙ[^][ۜ[ܜܘ][ۜ\HۜZ[Y[H۝^H]Hݙ\HX\[ۜ^H[XZH[]^H[]ٚ]وH\[\ˈH[Z]YXX[]HKB[H\\X[HH\[\X\HوXH܈VH[Y\X]\HوH]KBۛ^H][H[Z]YXX[]H]ݚY\[^X[]H]Yܙۙ\\ۈ^\ˈ[HH۸&]][[^[]H۝\][ۈX]^\\K