Just this morning, there was the report of Melbourne music studios and residents in Richmond unifying in outcry over a proposed residential development that had been rejected by Yarra City Council based on objections to the surfeit of noise complaints that could rise from the apartment block.
Just one of many cases of live music venues facing the threat of closure or immense financial costs over noise complaints from encroaching residential development, and – as if on tragic cue – comes the news that grumbles of local residents as well as legislative red tape with local council have forced another Melbourne venue promoting live music into cutting back on their efforts.
Melbourne’s Northside has received a blow to its live music scene with news that the B.East is severely scaling back its live music program. A notice from the burger bar, located at 80 Lygon street in Brunswick East, announces that: “due to pressure from the council, and noise complaints from neighbouring residents, The B.East is having to scale back its live music operations in line with its current licence.”
The news comes as a shock to the northern suburbs music scene, as the thriving burger joint was quickly developing a name for itself as a great live music venue with live events four nights a week.
Located in a dense residential area along the business end of Lygon Street, the venue’s operators emphasised that they were continuing music events but would be reducing to special events and singular one-offs with DJs and music, as opposed to bands and larger-scale concerts as part of an overall shift that puts the focus on food.
Representatives from The B.East said that the venue was winding back its live music and putting the focus on its culinary strengths after assessing the financial needs of acoustic engineering and soundproofing needed to continue as a live music venue as a “losing battle” with multiple residential apartment blocks going up in the near-future.
With the northern suburbs becoming more vibrant, and an estimated 30-40,000 new residents moving into the inner city in the next five years, ongoing pressures from residents and council over red tape and noise complaints, meant that scaling back proved to be “the sensible choice,” said venue operators.
Since its launch last April, The B.East has hosted local bands such as Howlin’ Steam Train, Naked Bodies, and The Bitter Sweet Kicks and its loss from the scene is a reminder about the fragility of small live venues in Melbourne and how important the work that SLAM and Music Victoria are doing.
Melbourne venues have come under attack many times in recent years with venues such as Pure Pop Records in St Kilda, The Prince Public Bar In St Kilda, Portsea Hotel in Portsea, Wesley Anne in Northcote at odds with neighbours. The Birmingham Hotel in Fitzroy, though a thriving live music venue throughout the 1980s and 90s was forced to close a few years ago after incessant noise complaints. In the northern suburbs The Empress on Nicholson St was also forced to scale down their operations and undergo heavy renovations after a new resident moved in in 2003 and complained about the noise. The venue had been operating since the late 1980s.
The news comes at a particularly bad time as the inner north’s rapidly growing cultural scene is being celebrated at the new Leaps and Bounds Festival this July as well as the well established Sydney Road Street Party, part of the Brunswick Festival.
Currently there is no official word on when the last band night will be or what shows have been cancelled as bands and acts directly affected by this new development are still being contacted.
It’s unclear if the forthcoming Queens Birthday Beastly BBQ, held on Sunday 9th June at The B.East and featuring a musical lineup of Howlin’ Steam Train, Heel Toe Express, DJ Ginger Light and Tim Nielson, would be affected by the news.
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