SF reopens live outdoor music and entertainment

For the past six months, San Francisco’s beloved music venues have remained shuttered, with no end in sight. Finally, live entertainment has made it into the city’s reopening plan: On Friday, Mayor London Breed announced a new temporary permit program for outdoor entertainment called JAM, or “Just Add Music.”

Until now, one of the only ways for businesses to legally offer outdoor entertainment or amplified sound during the pandemic was to apply for one-day permits costing hundreds of dollars per day. Now, permits will be free, with any of the following locations or activities being eligible to apply: Shared Spaces permit locations, outdoor private business properties (patios, rooftops, parking lots), farmers markets, Public Works’ Café Tables and Chairs permit locations, gyms holding outdoor fitness classes and drive-in gatherings.

“This program will provide some much-needed relief for businesses that are looking for ways to safely offer outdoor entertainment and music and survive the economic challenges of COVID-19,” said Mayor Breed in a press release. “San Francisco is a world-class entertainment city and we are fortunate to have a diverse entertainment and nightlife culture — we can’t let COVID take that away from us. We’re adapting our permitting processes to meet this moment and ensure businesses have the guidance they need to operate safely and in compliance with City rules.”

As venues have struggled to survive and musicians have gotten kicked out of a San Francisco park for playing without a permit, the new permit program is a beacon of hope for some in the local live music scene.

“As the owner of Vesuvio in North Beach, I am very grateful the ‘Just Add Music’ permit will allow us to program live music in Jack Kerouac Alley without a cumbersome or expensive bureaucratic process,” said Janet Clyde, owner of Vesuvio, in the press release. “We look forward to working with our neighbors and the community of San Francisco musicians to make this program a success!”

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