Following the recent positive news that the live music legacy of Sydney’s Annandale Hotel had been saved, being sold to a publican with local Leichhardt Mayor Darcy Byrne declaring that live music would remain at the venue, another set of politicians are looking to do their part for another troubled Sydney venue.

Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth, Peter Garrett will be throwing his weight behind the cause to protect a Surry Hills live music venue at tonight’s (Friday 31st May) Save Playbar event. The former Midnight Oil singer has joined Playbar’s corner, alongside a fellow Sydney Councillor, in the fight against the Greens Senator who has been threatening the venue’s survival.

Playbar, a newly established venue specialising in jazz and hip-hop nights, has been the subject of noise complaints made to Sydney City Council by NSW Greens senator Lee Rhiannon, whose office is situated directly above the bar. It was found in March that Senator Rhiannon had lodged multiple complaints against the venue, as result, co-owner Daniel Robertson lamented last month that imposed sound restrictions were severely affecting business.

“I do not think [that] her office is aware of what her actions against our business are actually doing,” he wrote on Playbar’s social media site. “We have to shorten staff hours, cancel musicians, and stand to loose (sic) the business.”

The Save Playbar event is the idea of Sydney Councillor and Labor member Linda Scott, who will join Minister Garrett tonight in highlighting the importance of live music venues in Sydney’s inner-city by showing their support for Playbar tonight starting from 8.30pm. The former Midnight Oil singer has joined Playbar’s corner… in the fight against the Greens Senator who has been threatening the venue’s survival.

“Live music is so important to the inner-city” Linda Scott tells TheMusic, “Sydney has a long history here of nurturing new talent and creative expression but after many years of neglect by Councils, our live music scene needs strong support.”

Save Playbar is part of Peter Garrett’s ongoing Labor Loves Live Music campaign, who said at the launch of the campaign last August: “Our city should have heaps of places available for musicians of all genres to play. Even in a digital world, being on a stage in front of an audience is essential for most musicians to express their craft and build an audience, and of course make a living.”

The campaign is aimed at connecting with younger voters and calls on local councils to enact planning controls that promote live music and the protection of existing venues and live music culture. Its aims tie closely with the Sydney Live Music Taskforce, spearheaded by Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore and live music activist John Wardle, and includes Councillor Linda Scott among its ranks.

“There’s a long history of great live music in Sydney and many artists cutting their teeth on the scene, but unfortunately today much of this has disappeared as venues close and opportunities for performances decrease,” Scott has remarked previously. Save Playbar is part of Peter Garrett’s ongoing Labor Loves Live Music campaign

Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon has claimed that her noise complaints against Playbar is not the result of a vendetta against live music venues, but an issue with insulation to curtail volumes between the Greens office and the venue. “We are not seeking to close the bar down,” the Senator told the Sydney Morning Herald. “Quite the contrary. We are just keen to get some insulation and have been working towards this since October 2012.”

Despite maintaining their volumes at levels approved by local council, Playbar’s Daniel Robertson was told the venue’s sound levels were in breach of offensive noise laws with council inspectors sent to the property regularly. In response, says Robertson, “the music was turned down to a level that the senator, not the inspectors, deemed acceptable, leaving people’s voices being too loud… A solution offered was to ask our patrons to talk quietly to each other in the bar.”
Since the dispute began after Playbar’s February opening, Senator Rhiannon’s Facebook has been flooded by angry live music supporters questioning the Greens Senator’s issues with live music.

One incensed “local resident (and voter)” posted: “I am absolutely shocked by the amount of times Dan and Sarah (owners of Playbar) need to turn their music down (well outside of office hours mind you, where’s the compromise on your side?) due to the constant visits by workers from Sydney City Council that you instigate.”

Adding that, “these constant visits areresulting in patrons leaving by the dozen and inevitably their business losing large amounts of money.”

For more details on Peter Garrett and Linda Scott’s visit to Playbar, head to the Facebook event or Playbar website.

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