NEW SHOREHAM, R.I. (WPRI) — Ballard’s Beach Resort is being kept on a tight leash as it appeals a two-week suspension of its liquor and entertainment licenses.
The Rhode Island Supreme Court has agreed to stay the suspension of the resort’s entertainment license, but only under certain conditions.
The court ordered Ballard’s not to host live music, nor advertise any live performances, for the remainder of its season. The resort must also have at least four security guards present on weekdays and seven on weekends, all of whom must wear identifiable security apparel.
In addition, Ballard’s was ordered to coordinate appropriate crowd control and security efforts with the town.
The decision comes nearly a week after the state’s Department of Business Regulation granted an emergency stay on Ballard’s liquor license that requires the resort to close by 10 p.m.
The suspension was handed down Monday night by New Shoreham’s licensing board in response to a tumultuous day earlier this month that resulted in eight arrests.
Thousands of people attended a reggae festival at Ballard’s, which overwhelmed security at the venue and on the ferries leaving the island later that night, according to Rhode Island State Police Captain Peter Chabot.
Chabot described the scene as “extremely chaotic,” adding that some people were jumping the fence to get into Ballard’s and there were several verbal and physical altercations.
Ballard’s owner Steven Filippi unsuccessfully pleaded his case prior to the licensing board’s decision, arguing that the event wasn’t heavily advertised and he tried to limit the amount of people entering the resort.
Filippi also told the licensing board that he didn’t believe the patrons were his responsibility once they left Ballard’s.
But the licensing board determined Filippi’s decision to stop the music and close the bars early that evening “resulted in a mass exodus of thousands of patrons exiting Ballard’s and heading to the nearby ferry terminal,” posing a health and safety risk to the community.
Ballard’s appealed the two-week suspension the next day, with the resort’s attorney describing the licensing board’s decision as “an effective death penalty.”
The stay on Ballard’s liquor and entertainment licenses will remain in effect until Sept. 8, when the full court will further review the matter.