CONCERT RATING SYSTEMS: The Censors New Offensive for '98.

In the wake of all the hysteria created in 1997 by the religious right and some over- ambitious politicans in their attempts to shut down the Marilyn Manson tour, the new rallying cry for the forces of censorship in 1998 is "Concert Ratings."

Michigan State Senator Dale Shugars (R-Dist. 21) plans to introduce a bill that will criminalize venue owners and promoters who allow minors unaccompanied by an adult into shows that contain what he calls "offensive acts and speech." Shugars proposed bill calls for 90 days in jail an/or fines up to $5000 for violaters. Shugars bill, which is currently being drafted. is expected to be introduced in Michigan in early 1998.

South Carolina State Representative Daniel Tripp (R-Dist.28) was very active in last years campaign against Marilyn Manson in that state. Tripp has drafted legislation that could forbid certain bands from performing at venues owned or financed by the state.

Meanwhile, a number of venue owners and promoters are scampering to come up with some form of ratings system on their own. Their rationale for this is, "if we don't do something, someone else will." Among the ideas being thrown around are warning labels on tickets, warning labels on all advertising or promotions material, barring anyone under 18 from attending "objectionable " shows unless accompanied by an adult, to outright refusal to book "objectionable" bands from their venues. These owners and promoters believe that their plan will be a "lesser evil" if it can be implemented without any legislative action. But will it be a "lesser evil?" Rock Out Censorship thinks not. Censorship is censorship regardless of the dosage you are forced to swallow.

We intend to vigorously oppose ANY and ALL concert rating schemes that come down the pike, be they from the politicians or the venue owners and promoters, and we strongly encourage bands, fans, and others to do likewise. It is imperative that musicians, bands and fans in Michigan and South Carolina begin to organize actions against Concert Ratings NOW!

Michigan State Senator Dale Shugers

South Carolina State Representative Daniel Tripp

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