Council to hold outdoor live music hearing

BAR HARBOR— The Town Council will hold a public hearing next month to see if the town wants to allow for amplified outdoor acoustic music. 

The council voted Tuesday to hold a hearing on May 18 for an amendment to the special amusement ordinance that would permit outdoor music at establishments between the hours of 11 a.m. and 9 p.m.  

“The intent behind this is really to allow a guitar player with a microphone, not to allow full outdoor concerts,” said council member Matthew Hochman. 

The town approved a similar emergency ordinance in September to allow for live music outside after social distancing protocols made it hard for restaurants to accommodate performers. This amendment was largely the same as that ordinance, just not in emergency form.  

“(Musicians are) struggling through the pandemic like everyone else is,” said Hochman, who made the proposal. 

The town did receive a few complaints in the immediate aftermath of the change that later subsided, said Bar Harbor police Lt. David Kerns. 

The amendment would allow for amplified acoustic guitars, violins, basses, mandolins and other similar instruments not designed to be played only with amplification, such as an electric guitar. 

“This is not designed to allow full rock bands,” Hochman said.  

If approved, a business would have to go through the special amusement permitting process, which would include abutter notices.  

Ethan Genter

Ethan Genter

Former reporter for the Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander, Ethan covered maritime news and the town of Bar Harbor.

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