Block Island resort temporarily loses licenses after fights

August 23, 2022 GMT

NEW SHOREHAM, R.I. (AP) — Authorities on the Rhode Island tourist hotspot of Block Island have voted to suspend the liquor and entertainment licenses of a beachfront resort that was the site of a brawl during a crowded music festival earlier this month that was later followed by a fight on a ferry to the mainland.

The New Shoreham Board of License Commissioners unanimously approved a motion to suspend Ballard’s Beach Resort’s licenses for 14 days after a six-hour hearing Monday.

Ballard’s allowed the venue to become disorderly, hosted an event with inadequate security, and endangered public safety during the Aug. 8 reggae festival, the board said.

One person was arrested during a fight near the resort, where according to testimony from former interim police Chief Peter Chabot, people were climbing over fences to get into the festival without having bags or IDs checked.

He said after the festival, more than 3,000 “hot, tired, frustrated” people went to board ferries to Narragansett. Seven people were arrested on disorderly conduct and obstructing an officer charges after a fight on board one of the ferries.

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Police arriving by boat leapt aboard, searching the ferry with guns drawn.

Ballard’s owner Steven Filippi during his testimony said he hired additional security, has never had a problem at the 6-year-old festival before, and blamed the problems on a small handful of people. He said he does not control what happens on the ferry.

Filippi’s lawyer said there was no evidence that Ballard’s overserved anyone alcohol, or served anyone underage.

The resort said in a statement it will appeal the board’s decision to the state Department of Business Regulation and state Superior Court.