When I first read about this article on Slashdot I thought humm, someone is throwing parties for underage kids with drugs, alcohol, and hookers or something. So I clicked on over to the actual article published at Slate.com. As I read the article it became clear that the Boston police were targeting the music scene for some reason. I am not going to address the methods they are using to seek out live music people are performing. I’ll leave that to another argument.
Forget for a moment a scenario where a local band is playing at a backyard gathering and a neighbor calls the police to complain about loud music and read the actual ordinance. Pay particular attention to section 16-27.2 of the ordinance. It defines a ‘gathering’ as, ” … a party or event where two or more persons have assembled for a social occasion or social activity.” A PDF reader is required to read the copy of the ordinance I have available. Boston-Docket-1052-Revised-1.
I don’t know about you but two people having a beer in the backyard qualifies as a gathering. No shit ya say? Well consider the context of this ordinance. It tries to define things in a way most people would usually think is common sense. However a few things it doesn’t define is “excessive noise”, “substantial disturbance”, and “quiet enjoyment”. All this ordinance really does is attempt to give justification to interfere with private people doing what private people do in their own privately held homes (even though the ordinance also specifies commercial and business property is fair game too).
The impact of this to music could be far reaching. Since the ordinance specifically designates private property, residences, commercial and business property anything that anyone finds objectionable to their ear could be shut down and fined. The ordinance specifically states that a police officer does not need any kind of “noise measurement” to enforce the ordinance.
Folks … this is outrageous. Boston has a strong history of music and this only damages the growth and enjoyment of musical culture in Boston.
All genres of music are being attacked here. The article specifically points out “Indie” music but the words and definitions of the ordinance spell out something entirely more ominous. The Boston Symphony, Music Businesses, Practice Halls, Weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, or any gathering of two or more that creates sound in any location!
Not only does it stifle music it stifles social activities of all kinds. I dare say it infringes upon people right to the Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Assembly, and the Freedom of Association guaranteed to us in the US Constitution.
Whether you agree or not I would appreciate your feedback.