SMALL VENUES in Barcelona are hoping the city council will decide to change the law to give their businesses some protection.
The creation of the Espais de Cultura Viva (live culture spaces) designation would see a relaxation of rules around audience size for venues of up to 150-capacity and host a minimum of 40 events a year.
The proposed change would also introduce a new category of “semi-acoustic music”.
Currently small clubs and bars cannot programme amplified music unless they have soundproofing, but it is hoped this restriction will be dropped, provided noise in the venue does not exceed 95dB, and 45dB outside it.
Daniel Granados, director of Cultura Viva and the city council’s culture advisor behind the proposal, says that despite there being a long history of small music spaces in Barcelona, there was no regulatory framework to protect them.
“We have to create a cultural circuit that works from the bottom up,” he says.
Music industry organisations including the Association of Catalan Concert Halls have urged lawmakers to confirm the proposals, with a decision expected within two months.
“We’ve been here for 24 years, having to operate outside the law, because Spanish rules say you need a metre-square space per person,“ Albert Pijuan of Heliogàbal tells Audience,
“We usually sell 90 tickets per show, but if we stuck to the law, our capacity would be 33 people – including the musicians. That doesn’t make for a very good atmosphere for artistes, let alone allow us to be a viable business,” he says.
“These changes would allow us to continue operating as we have been, but this time within the law. I really hope they are approved.”