The Hamptons Police Department Music Code Enforcement Unit carried out a sweep last weekend spot-checking local restaurants and bars that feature live music.
“It is established in the code that musicians are indeed allowed to play in certain locations,” Hamptons Police spokesman Larry Hirsch says. “But under no circumstances may amplifiers be used in such music performances, because then the music becomes audible to many people, and that’s what the code is trying to prevent.”
Hirsch reports that, while many venues were in compliance, with performers completely inaudible over the din of patrons, initial investigations proved that in several restaurants and bars where live musicians were playing, the music was clearly audible, as evidenced by the fact that officers themselves could hear the music being played, and by the fact that several patrons seemed to be attending to and even enjoying the music.
Apparently, officers even encountered dancing in a few locations.
“When officers did find audible live music, the second step was to check and see if amplifiers were in use,” Hirsch says. “One telltale sign of amplification is a microphone. Because, unless it’s just a prop, a microphone is a transducer that converts sound waves into electrical signals that then require, yes, amplification before being sent to a speaker or speakers to be converted back into sound waves.”
Hirsch says that amplification can take numerous other forms, but usually results in sounds becoming more audible. “It’s one of the principal reasons for using an amplifier.”
During the sweep, after determining that in fact amplifiers were in use in several locations, officers arrested the offending musicians and took them into custody.
Several members of the public pointed out to police that many restaurants and bars play recorded music over sound systems—a situation that also requires amplification and tends to result in audible music—and they wondered if there wasn’t a double standard at play.
Hirsch did not take the bait, however. “Look, these places are free to feature live music, but we don’t want to hear it. No amplifiers.”