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Outdoor music pushes the envelope

BY EVERYNIGHT CHARLEY CRESPO | Numerous Downtown bars and restaurants currently are having musicians perform outside.

This new outdoor music scene sprung up during the pandemic. Not all local residents might like it, however, and might question its legality, charging that it’s stretching the rules. Meanwhile, though, it’s happening.

The Corner Bistro has Chris Campion perform on the sidewalk on Sunday afternoons and Tuesday evenings.

The Escalation Horns roved through Greenwich Village playing for tips on June 30. While restaurant-goers enjoy the brass bands, not all local residents are fans. (Photo by Everynight Charley Crespo)

Café Wha? and Joey Bats Café have musicians perform in the roadside kiosks.

Cuba, Groove and Marshall Stack have musicians perform inside by a window to audiences seated both inside and outside.

Baby Brasa has Chino Pons play vintage Latin music in its large roadside cabana on Friday and Saturday nights.

Nomad recently resumed hosting jazz and world music artists who perform to outdoor audiences on Wednesdays through Saturdays.

Xaxa performed inside Groove to an audience both inside and outside on June 22. (Photo by Everynight Charley Crespo)

The Ear Inn has the EarRegulars perform outside every Sunday afternoon.

Baby Brasa, Caravan of Dreams, the Corner Bistro, Joey Bats Café, Marshall Stack and Nomad all turn off the music by 10 p.m. Groove goes well past that time until close to midnight.

Music no longer has to be “incidental,” as in, not the main draw. Venues can advertise attractions and sell tickets.

Some locals, however, wonder whether some of these venues have a license to present live music at all.

The roving brass bands typically play two songs at a location and then move on.

For the past few months, the authorities have increased patrols in the parks, asking musicians without sound permits to shut off their amplifiers. Many musicians perform anyway, since the patrols come and go. Other musicians are performing on sidewalks. These performances are not scheduled, however, but certain areas, like Tompkins, Union and Washington Square parks, offer a higher guarantee of buskers.

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