Lack of all-age venues causes trouble for Las Vegas’ underage crowd
Until recently, being under 21 had never really prevented me from doing many things—I’ve always considered that one of the bonuses of being a college student in Las Vegas.
Attending one of my friends’ gigs downtown at The Beat, we approached the front door to be met by a bouncer who informed us that we couldn’t get in since we were both under underage.
With nowhere else to perform that night, my friend decided to play her set outside a casino, only to be shooed away by a security guard.
Unfortunately, the city has a lack of all-age music venues, which has proven to be a major problem for younger musicians in the local scene.
Across the street from UNLV on Maryland Parkway lies the vacant building that used to house Yayo Taco. The former taco shop was once a popular venue for local and lesser known bands traveling through Vegas.
Plenty of all-age venues have come and gone in recent years, including The Farm and The 702.
Not having all-ages venues damages our local music culture by limiting musical output from the younger generation of musicians. It can be discouraging to younger musicians trying to pursue musical ambitions with a lack of places to perform at.
Now, there are only a few places left for younger musicians to perform, including Sam Ash Music Store and scattered coffee shops hosting occasional open-mic nights.
Still, these smaller venues come with their share of complications.
Recently, I drove out to a coffee shop on Blue Diamond Road to perform at a Friday open-mic session with some friends. And despite the shop’s website stating the show was that night, I arrived to the shop only to find it shutting down for the night.
The primary reasoning for the lack of all-age music venues is because of Southern Nevada’s strict licensing for all-age venues.
All-age venues in Las Vegas, with the exception of religious or educational facilities, must reside at least 500 feet away from a business that provides alcoholic beverages or sex-related entertainment.
With the heavy presence of these types of businesses, the prospect of a business operating as an all-age venue is obviously limited.
Despite the strict codes, venues such as The Joint or The House of Blues that host all-age shows for larger acts are allowed to sell alcohol within their premises.
If the city is trying to maintain its best interest for the public, then it should reconsider its building codes for businesses that would like to serve as all-age music venues. Minors who would like to perform or listen to the bands play might be less likely to get into trouble if the codes were less restrictive for businesses.
If the community wishes to protect its youth, it has a better chance of doing so by allowing more all-age venues where younger performers can be more closely supervised, but one can only hope.