In a big about-face, music venues in the inner west are set to protected from noise complaints from the ‘fun police’ aka residents that have often curtailed or led to the closure of venues over the years.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, iconic venue the Enmore Theatre will be the first to be offered protection by the local Inner West Council. The action will be led by designating the theatre as a special entertainment precinct and favour it over noise complaints from residents.
Once an area is identified, all noise complaints are dealt with by the local council instead of the liquor regulator, the Land and Environment Court and licencing police.
Innerwest Mayor Darcy Byrne said “In Sydney, the cliche of a person moving in next door to a long-standing pub and complaining about noise has been a reality for many years. Worse still, many operators go broke because noise complaints are prosecuted by more than half a dozen government agencies. This tacit fun police force has been strangling the live music sector.”
This is a long-overdue process, especially with existing venues such as the Enmore Theatre that has been around since the early 1900s. Often, residents, move into the area for its vibrancy end up complaining about the exact thing that makes the area such a drawcard.
The specific noise complaints review comes as part of a suite of amendments announced in State Parliament in November last year that look to fully revitalise entertainment precincts and venues. It includes;
- Lifting a ban on live music in various venues not classified as such
- Lifting the limit of musicians on stage
- Lifting restrictions on the types of instruments artists can play
- Lifting restrictions on the direction of bands performing
- Cutting red tape around live music venue requirements
- Protect venues from overzealous councils in regards to noise complaints
- Protect venues from encroaching developments
- Allow retail stores to hold events with or without music
According to Labor MLC John Graham, there are up to 15 councils vying to be the first to implement the new laws and reward venues for supporting music instead of relying on poker machine revenue.
This joins a raft of positive news for the arts in Sydney with the complete roll-back of the archaic lockout laws, the appointment of nighttime mayor Michael Rodrigues, the foundation of CBD entertainment hub ‘YCK Laneways’ and the NSW Governments ’24-hour Economy Strategy’.
Things are starting to finally look up!