There are many things to consider when operating a venue designed for having musicians play music live on stage. When alcohol is being consumed there is generally an age restriction on who can and cannot attend these shows. If everyone is over 18, the concerns about underage drinking and minor liability increases substantially. Generally, having a higher age restriction lowers any liability; if the people attending the show are all above the age of 21, this lessens concerns about underage drinking.
The consequences can be devastating to a proprietor
But there are serious risks and penalties involved when there is a possibility of serving alcohol to a minor, even unintentionally. This doesn’t even require that you or a member of your staff actually have to service the minor. If, for whatever reason, a minor is found on the premises, in possession of alcohol (even if it’s given to him or her by a friend), as the owner you could be held liable. There are hospitality insurance programs designed to help you deal with issues of this nature.
The penalties related to offenses of this nature often arise from a compliance check conducted by local police, or the state liquor licensing authority. Some venues end up being cited for underage drinking secondary to an inciting act (for example, alcohol poisoning, fighting, etc.) where police are called in and a violation is discovered later on in the process.
Administering safety procedures
One way to help lessen your exposure is by having a thorough check of identification at the door, as well as at the bar. If the show is intended for those 21 and over, no one underage should be allowed admittance.
If your show is being attended by those 18 and up, make sure to supply custom wristbands for everyone over 21 years of age. Also you should have a strict policy on the types of identification allowed at your venue. The safest way to do this is to only allow passports or a valid license from the state you are in.
Have your security team wear uniforms clearly identifying them as security. Have them constantly patrolling, looking for underage drinking and any signs that patrons have been over served. Make sure anyone deemed intoxicated is safely escorted out of the building and tended to as needed. Hospitality insurance programs are designed to lower your risk factor, but this is provided you take the steps to reduce exposures to fines and penalties.