Back to top

Acoustic ordinance gives more opportunities to small businesses, musicians

December 22, 2016

City Council

Published by:

City Council

Neighborhood businesses can now host acoustic performances without having to get a live entertainment license or a change of occupancy.

Mayor Walsh signs the Acoustic Live Entertainment Ordinance into law.
Mayor Martin J. Walsh has signed the Acoustic Live Entertainment Ordinance into law. The ordinance was  inspired by the successful "Acoustic on Main" pilot program. The law allows small businesses in designated business districts to host acoustic performers without needing a live entertainment license.

Filed by City Council President Michelle Wu, the ordinance aims to increase foot traffic to neighborhoods and bolster small businesses. The hope is that these performances further support the City’s vibrant arts community, and offer another reason to "shop local."

To hold an acoustic performance, a business must:

  • be registered with the City Clerk and have a business license
  • have no more than five acoustic performers, musicians, or both at their venue at one time
  • only allow performances from 10 a.m. - 10 p.m.
  • keep the amplification of sound to just one microphone
  • not sell food or drinks unless they are a licensed food establishment or bar, and
  • make sure their venue stays handicap accessible during performances.

You can download the ordinance to learn more about the program:

Download acoustic ordinance

The Humble Brothers perform at the Suya Joint restaurant in Roxbury.

Members of the band Humble Brothers performed at the Suya Joint restaurant in Roxbury on Wednesday at an event where Mayor Walsh signed the ordinance into law.