So you've decided to throw a punk-rock show at your house, but you're sick and tired of the Man cracking down on you. First they complained about the trash. Then they complained about the noise. Then they complained about the liquor. Now you're up to your elbows in paperwork and fines. It doesn't have to be that way.
Over the coming weeks, RFT Music will embark on an occasional series offering advice to aspiring DIY promoters. We know it's a little square, but a few phone calls and steps taken early in the process can save you the headache later on.
There's a word you're going to have to get really familiar with from the very beginning: Permits. There are layers upon layers of permits. Thankfully, five years ago, St. Louis hired Ann Chance (RFT's favorite geezer of 2011) to run a new department called the Office of Special Events. One of the first things you should do is visit their Web site and fill out this application.
Ignore the $25 application fee. Chance says they don't collect it.
"I have the ability to collect one, but I don't," she says. "That application is really more like a checklist and a timeline for the organizer to look at and see what permits you need. We're working on updating the site to make it a one-stop shop for permits. As you can imagine, some events require permits from different departments."
With this application, you'll provide the city with helpful information, like who you are and where your event is going to take place. You will tell them whether there's going to be amplified sound (assuming there is a band playing, you will check "yes") or whether your event includes a parade involving animals (assuming GWAR isn't playing, you can safely check "no").
Once you have all of your information down, and the application is signed and ready to go, Chance or someone from her office will begin to direct you to exactly which places you need to go for the next stages of this process. Seems pretty basic, right? Well, it can get tricky. The solution, fortunately, is easy: "The best thing people can do is call me," she says. "I'll get them in the right direction."
You can do that right here: 314-368-9445.