Local Group Works to Change Laws Regarding 18- to 20-year-olds Playing Music in Bars
ANCHORAGE - Anchorage is a great place for up and coming bands. The trouble is many of those groups have members between the ages of 18 and 20.
They are adults but can't play in bars or nightclubs, the mainstay for musicians.
But a local group wants to change that.
At first glance, the band playing at the Anchor Pub on Thursday night might not seem a lot different than other bands.
Thunderfish has been playing together for three years.
But if not for a table of its biggest fans, the band wouldn't be able to play here.
That's because three of the band members are under 21.
"It's definitely been an obstacle; there's not ever been that many all-ages venues in town," said Carl Bartenstein, Thunderfish’s drummer.
But a group called "Let Them Work, Let Them Play" is trying to change the rules so bars can allow 18 to 20 year old band members to play without their parents there.
"Its basically the rewording of those laws so that the bars know they have a choice – they don't feel like they have a choice right now," said Darrin Huycke, a local promoter.
As it is now, bands on the verge of success are stymied if a parent can't make the show.
“At home it’s just me and my mom, so if she's off busy somewhere, which happens, it's even harder to schedule gigs around,” said Thunderfish guitarist and vocalist Tony Taylor.
“I don’t want him to wait until he is 21 before he can perform. They are doing very well, and I support their success... their attempt to succeed,” said Tony’s mom Kellie.
The group is one of many who want the Anchorage Assembly to clarify the laws so they can play without mom or dad having to tag along.
But that doesn't mean a free reign for the kids.
There are two separate ordinances governing the issue: One says adult teens can work in a bar or club without parental supervision if they are contract employees, which most bands are.
But another requires anyone under the age of 21 to have a parent present.
Even if the laws are changed here in Anchorage, the state would still need to sign off on it.
To view the 'Let Them Work, Let Them Play' petition and proposed ordinance language, click here.