Ballard’s barred from hosting future music festivals in strict agreement

NEW SHOREHAM, R.I. (WPRI) — The New Shoreham Town Council has imposed strict conditions on Ballard’s Beach Resort’s liquor and entertainment licenses following a tumultuous weekend over the summer that resulted in eight arrests.

The town council reached an agreement with Ballard’s Wednesday that will allow the resort to keep its licenses while also ensuring the safety of Block Island residents and visitors.

Under the agreement, Ballard’s can no longer host music festivals. Ballard’s is also limited to having two bands playing over the course of a single day, with only one playing outdoors at a time.

On top of that, the resort must hire a detail of two police officers on weekends and holidays throughout the summer, as well as maintain a minimum number of trained security guards, at its own expense.

Ballard’s has since hired a new director of security as part of the agreement, who will implement improved security policies and act as a liaison between the resort and New Shoreham Police Department.

The agreement also aims to crack down on open containers by requiring Ballard’s to have trash cans near its exits and signage reminding patrons about the state law.

“The granting of a liquor permit is fundamentally an act of trust by the town and by state government,” First Warden-elect Keith Stover said. “The conditions developed by the town and Ballard’s are direct and purposeful, with an essential focus on public safety, and hopefully, they present an opportunity to begin to reestablish that trust with Ballard’s.”

The agreement follows months of back and forth between the town council and Ballard’s, spurred by an overcrowded reggae festival that overwhelmed both security at the resort and on the ferries leaving the island.

The town council suspended Ballard’s liquor and entertainment licenses immediately following the fiasco. The resort filed an appeal in response to the decision, which prompted the Department of Business Regulation to issue a temporary stay so it could review the case.

Ballard’s has agreed to dismiss the remaining appeals it has pending before the Rhode Island Supreme Court and Department of Business Regulation. This means the suspensions of the resort’s licenses will be upheld, though reduced to reflect time previously served.

12 News has reached out to Ballard’s regarding the agreement but has not yet heard back.

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