With these requirements, teen dances outside of schools were virtually banned in the city, as no promoter would field the costs involved. For a city the size of Seattle, shows that would only allow 15-20 year olds could not draw a large enough crowd for the event to break even. In addition to the $1 million insurance bond, hiring off-duty officers was a huge expense. Ironically the non-profit exemption meant the ordinance did not apply to the Monastery; it was closed using pre-existing civil abatement laws. In the 15 years of the ordinance, almost no one applied for a promoters license for youth events, and no one has been prosecuted with it.
While the ordinance only regulated "dances," the distinction between a concert and a dance was not outlined by law, and the police were accused to defining a dance so liberally that the dancing done in the audience of a concert was enough to qualify the entire event as a "dance." All-ages concerts were thus subject to being shut down by police who were vigilant in making sure promoters did not skirt the law. As a result, some nationally touring acts refused to do shows in Seattle because they insisted on all-ages audiences. With Seattle becoming an epicenter for alternative rock and the grunge scene in the early 90's, teens had to go to neighboring cities to attend concerts and dances.
Proponents of the TDO said that the ordinance ensured the safety of underage patrons and discouraged gatherings where youth consumed drugs and alcohol. They also invoked the memory of the Monastery, where they said adults preyed upon vulnerable kids susceptible to offers of drugs or quick cash. Excluding adults from underage youth would create a "bubble of safety."
The repeal of the ordinance was a key goal of JAMPAC, a musicians and promoters political action committee founded by Krist Novoselic of Nirvana. Since its founding in 1995, the group has been lobbying the City Council to repeal the TDO. In addition to JAMPAC, the ordinance was a focal point for a vocal young activist community in Seattle.
A new ordinance proposal to replace the TDO was passed by the City Council in 2000, however it was quickly vetoed by Mayor Paul Schell. The veto caused JAMPAC to launch a suit against the City of Seattle, claiming that the TDO's virtual outlawing of dance infringed on the First Amendment right to free expression. A judge however ruled for the City on JAMPAC's suit in May 2002, claiming there was no infringement on the First Amendment and that the matter is a political one for the Council to decide, not the courts. Nevertheless, during the course of the suit, Schell was voted out of office (in the aftermath of the disastrous WTO meetings of 1999) and the new mayor Greg Nickels, a proponent of the bill, resubmitted the ordinance to the Council. On August 12 2002, the new All-ages Dance Ordinance was passed replacing the TDO.
The new provisions of the All-ages Dance Ordinance (AADO) eased on restrictions to accommodate new youth events. They include:
The new rules, while more liberal than before, still disappointed many activists who pushed for the TDO's repeal. They viewed the new ordinance as only moderate changes to the rules and not liberal enough to actually encourage all ages shows. Proponents of the TDO also criticize the new AADO, saying the new all-ages events are now ignored by the police, and that the new law is confusing and ignored by unlicensed promoters. Raves have also been points of criticism; they have now been classified as concerts and are outside the scope of the ordinance while frequent use of Ecstasy by attendees have been reported.
In March 2006, in the aftermath of the Capitol Hill massacre where a gunman shot several partygoers after a rave, The Seattle Times editorialized against the new dance rules and called for the city's all-ages dance rules to be "thoroughly re-examined and re-tooled. Local community leaders however have so-far ignored such pleas, noting that the incident was the work of a deranged gunman whose intent to kill could not be stopped with new city laws.