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Clubs and festivals are demanding that fines be written off and the definition of ‘entertainment businesses’ changed

By Nika Gamtsemlidze
Monday, July 27
Clubs, bars, festivals and music event organizers have issued a joint statement urging the government to write off fines and change the definition of "entertainment business" to "cultural event".

In addition, they demand that the Ministry of Health start cooperating instead of 'punitive measures' and establish regulations that will allow them to host different types of events safely.

The joint statement refers to the meeting held at the Ministry of Health, which was attended by the Minister, representatives of the City Hall and the Ministry of Culture. They said the meeting discussed easing regulations, imposing fines, and promoting business.

Representatives of the creative industry note that it was after the meeting that they started organizing events.

“Because there was no communication from the health ministry, we thought that the agreement that was reached between us and the council was final. Finally, another regulation came into force, which did not include our industry, and we were named as 'entertainment business,’ which is not regulated as of now,” reads the statement.

They say the state has no understanding of the cultural significance of the scene and similar attitudes threaten the scene, which is already in a difficult situation due to the pandemic. According to them, because of this resolution, almost all events were held on July 17-18, where electronic music was played.

“The only precondition for holding the event was the encouragement given by these gentlemen at these meetings. We encouraged ourselves to come into action and then, despite full compliance with the rules, we were fined without any warning.”

Representatives of clubs, bars, and festivals also point to selective attitudes, while talking about other places where, according to them, the regulations are not being followed. The representatives of clubs and festivals talked about a concert in Kikvidze Park and the opening of a dendrological park.

According to them, they are ready to work with the leadership of the country to make sure that they can hold the events, while also working on the safety and security of everyone who attends these events. ‘Mzesumzira’ was fined GEL10,000 for an event held on July 17th. As they say, in their case the reason is electronic music and nothing else.