Sept. 4, 2020


Press contact: Mikael Elsila,, (646) 765-9663 (voice or text)

A joint statement from the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) union locals in New York State

As New York State continues to take steps towards re-opening, musicians must not be left out. The New York State Liquor Authority has announced guidelines that say: “Only incidental music is permissible at this time. This means that advertised and/or ticketed shows are not permissible. Music should be incidental to the dining experience and not the draw itself.”

It’s clear that the Liquor Authority is attempting to control crowds and limit numbers. We appreciate that concern, but we feel that the new guidelines are overly stringent, misguided, and actually counter-productive.

By preventing venues from selling tickets in advance, a venue is unable to know how many audience members to expect. On the other hand, if venues were allowed to sell tickets, it could set up its crowd control measures in advance and manage the audience more effectively.

We can’t let these guidelines stand. By not allowing advertised or ticketed shows, our musicians’ return to a normal work life is threatened.

We are currently meeting with state and local officials to make our position known: as New York continues to re-open, there should be no restrictions on ticketed or advertised shows. We can create safe workplaces for our musicians without threatening their work.

As union musicians in New York State, we are economic drivers who create jobs, support tourism and contribute to world-class culture. Each of us is also a member of the American Federation of Musicians (AFM), the largest union of musicians in the world.

Entertainment and culture are the engines that makes New York State work. We need to get those engines up and running without any false starts, delays or breakdowns.


AFM Local 802 (New York City) — President Adam Krauthamer
AFM Local 92 (Buffalo) — President Jim Pace
AFM Local 66 (Rochester) — President David Angus
AFM Local 443 (Oneonta) — President Ruth Berry
AFM Local 14 (Albany) — President John Van Voris
AFM Local 78 (Syracuse)
AFM Local 85-133 (Schenectady-Amsterdam)
AFM Local 506 (Saratoga Springs)
AFM Local 134 (Jamestown)