Just last week, Music Victoria proclaimed victory by moving forward with the cutting back of red tape and legislation reforms to make it easier for live music venues to host live shows for young music fans, an age-old issue for Melbourne’s live music scene.
Now another of live music’s bugbears has reared its ugly head once again, with noise complaints from a single resident threatening the operation of a Melbourne live music venue.
The Bendigo Hotel, located in Johnston Street in Collingwood, has come under attack from a single local resident over noise from the venue’s 300 capacity band room, which hosts live music four days a week with a 3am license, and has been under fire since March, as Beat reports.
It is believed that the anonymous resident has been contacting the licensing authority, the City of Yarra council, and local police shortly after moving into the area in March.
The Bendigo Hotel, which has a clean record of complaints or breaches, has attempted to mediate with the complaining resident, but to no avail.
“I’ve never met him. He refuses to meet up with me,” says the venue’s owner, Guy Palermo. “This should be a situation where the resident and venue work together to ensure harmony. But the resident will not communicate…”
“In four years, this is the only time I’ve had a complaint. Once his lease ends, I’m sure he will be gone, leaving me out of pocket thousands of dollars. It is possible he may cause the end of live music at The Bendigo after 100 years of the hotel’s operation.”
Palermo, who has built up The Bendigo Hotel into a local live music hotspot alongside band booker David Collins since he first purchased what was a run-down site in 2009, has sound-proofed the venue, to the tune of $10,000, and regularly engages acoustic engineers to sound check levels to satisfy noise and licensing conditions. The Bendigo Hotel operator even offered to take up the complaining resident’s lease.
“This should be a situation where the resident and venue work together to ensure harmony,” he says. “But the resident will not communicate with venue in any way and he doesn’t own his property.”
Palermo is heading to the Victoria Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) tomorrow (Tuesday 26th November) to address the issue.
Posting about the VCAT trial on the venue’s Facebook page, The Bendigo Hotel’s operators add: “I am so sorry about all of this and I hope to hell that we get a good outcome; for all our staff, bands, punters, musicians, artists, sound engineers, our awesome neighbours, friends & family. He’s just one bad egg on a street where everyone else is fckn rad!”
Local residents and live music lovers have already thrown their support behind the embattled venue in the dispute. Additionally, a petition in support of the venue has also sprung up online at Change.org reaching over 3,300 signatures in just 48 hours, with another 1,683 needed ahead of the VCAT trial tomorrow.
Residential complaints over live music are unfortunately nothing new, nor is it an isolated problem. In fact, mediation between neighbours, council, and live music venues was one of the key recommendations of Sydney’s recent “groundbreaking” action plan to revive the city’s ailing live music scene.
The document essentially reads that inner city residents need to put with noise rather and “the catastrophic impact neighbour complaints can have on the business viability of a live music venue has been one of the sector’s most serious concerns,” the Live Music Matters report reads.