Underground music gets scrutiny after deadly Oakland fire

This Dec. 19, 2016 photo shows the interior of an underground music club known as known as Purple 33 in a Playa Vista neighborhood of Los Angeles. About a week after 36 people died in a fire at an underground music party in Oakland, inspectors acting on a complaint discovered a makeshift nightclub and unpermitted living quarters concealed in a warehouse near Los Angeles International Airport. Authorities searching the drab, two-story building found an illegally constructed dance floor, paired with a bar and DJ booth. (AP Photo/Christine Armario)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The closing of an illegal Los Angeles music club highlights growing friction between underground venues and authorities who see them as disasters-in-waiting.

About a week after 36 people died in a fire at an underground music party in Oakland, inspectors acting on a complaint discovered a makeshift nightclub and unpermitted living quarters concealed in a warehouse near Los Angeles International Airport.

After the deadly fire, officials in LA, Baltimore and other cities announced plans to aggressively pursue illegally converted warehouses and other jerry-rigged living spaces.

The threat of a crackdown is unnerving musicians and artists who routinely accept risks that can come with performing on unlicensed stages.

Musicians and promoters in the underground scene say there are few other options and costly permits and licensing can make events unfeasible.


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