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Boston warns residents not to host unpermitted paid events on private property

Illegal events can “cause harm or danger” to hosts, attendees, and neighbors, the city said. 

Boston officials are hoping to deter residents from hosting unpermitted, paid events on their private property. 

The city’s Inspectional Services Department urged residents to be good neighbors in a Twitter post Tuesday. Illegal events can “cause harm or danger” to hosts, attendees, and neighbors, the city said. 

Officials specifically singled out the practice of hosting backyard parties for a fee. The events could be shut down, and those organizing them could face fines and court action. 

Those considering hosting events should contact the Inspectional Services Department at 617-635-5300 or by emailing [email protected].


“Ensuring Boston residents have a fun and safe summer is our top priority. We regularly encourage all residents looking to host large scale events to contact Consumer Affairs and Licensing for details regarding hosting a ticketed or large event,” an ISD spokesperson said in a statement to Boston.com.

Concerts hosted at residential properties, or house shows, are popular in Boston, specifically in neighborhoods such as Allston and Brighton. Some Twitter users took issue with the city’s warning, as house shows provide a valuable avenue for young bands to connect with their communities.

Small music venues like Allston’s beloved Great Scott, which closed in 2020 after 44 years, are becoming rarer in Boston. Despite raising almost $300,000 to fund a move to the former site of Pizzeria Regina at 353 Cambridge Ave., it was reported last year that the space would not be used to resurrect Great Scott.

The future of that specific venue remains uncertain, but it is clear that a desire still exists for places like it.


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