A Lawful Party: Live Music At Clancy’s

“I’M STILL VERY CAUTIOUS of having outdoor music sparingly,” said Clancy’s owner Jeff Hurlburt. “I don’t want to change anybody’s living experience in our neighborhood.” PHOTO: FRANK DEANGELI

Few parties require a police presence on hand to help direct traffic. 

One such Denver area gathering is the annual can’t-miss St. Patrick’s day event at Clancy’s Irish Pub. Held for four days split between two weekends, this celebration draws hordes of green-beer-drinking Coloradoans to Wheat Ridge every year. Patrons are treated to cheap drinks, delicious food and hours of live music on the patio. 

This party, along with other live music events held in Wheat Ridge, is made possible in part by the city’s noise ordinance. Enacted in 2021, Wheat Ridge has allowed businesses like Clancy’s to apply for up to eight Outdoor Amplified Sound Event Permits (OASEPs) annually. A special use permit also exists to allow certain venues to go over the eight-permit limit. 

“We just kind of gambled that [they] wouldn’t get shut down,” says Clancy’s owner Jeff Hurlburt about previous years’ St. Patrick’s Day parties. “That was a huge risk given the amount of revenue that’s involved behind something like that.”

Hurlburt says that this year’s party was the venue’s biggest since 2019. 

Though Clancy’s never fails to obtain proper permits for its events, some folks still call and complain about the noise. But Hurlburt has been impressed with enforcement of the 2021 ordinance. Particularly helpful to venues hosting outdoor music events has been the creation of noise thresholds, which establish a standard of just how loud they can turn it up. 

“[Police] have decibel meters on them, which is really good, because, to be honest with you, the old noise ordinance was so vague. It was basically – in layman’s terms – if they thought it was too loud, it was too loud.” 

A born-and-bred Wheat Ridger, Hurlburt does his best not to ruffle feathers with neighbors and police. He understands that the long-term success of Clancy’s depends on maintaining a positive relationship with nearby residents and business owners, and his intention is to be respectful. 

“As I operate right now, I’m still very cautious of having outdoor music sparingly. It’s not something I want to have every weekend. In the summertime, people have their windows open, it gets dark out later. I don’t want to change anybody’s living experience in our neighborhood.” 

It’s hard to call Clancy’s 2023 St. Patrick’s bash anything other than an outright success. With any luck (perhaps of the Irish), neighbors and visitors alike will enjoy this party for years to come. 

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