Error message
  • Warning: array_flip(): Can only flip STRING and INTEGER values! in EntityCacheControllerHelper::entityCacheLoad() (line 73 of /srv/www/drupal7/sites/all/modules/entitycache/includes/entitycache.entitycachecontrollerhelper.inc).
  • Warning: array_flip(): Can only flip STRING and INTEGER values! in EntityCacheControllerHelper::entityCacheLoad() (line 73 of /srv/www/drupal7/sites/all/modules/entitycache/includes/entitycache.entitycachecontrollerhelper.inc).
  • Warning: array_flip(): Can only flip STRING and INTEGER values! in EntityCacheControllerHelper::entityCacheLoad() (line 73 of /srv/www/drupal7/sites/all/modules/entitycache/includes/entitycache.entitycachecontrollerhelper.inc).
  • Warning: array_flip(): Can only flip STRING and INTEGER values! in EntityAPIController->load() (line 219 of /srv/www/drupal7/sites/all/modules/entity/includes/entity.controller.inc).

Cherry Bar to rock on, but live venues still threatened by residential developments

Cherry Bar to rock on, but live venues still threatened by residential developments
Cherry Bar to rock on, but live venues still threatened by residential developments

Forget sea-changers and tree-changers, more and more people are moving to the cities, attracted to their amenities and the sort of “creativity” social theorist Richard Florida identified in his books The Rise of the Creative Class and Cities and the Creative Class.

But as our cities fill with more residential apartments towers, their new inhabitants discover that the city “lifestyle” they were initially attracted to comes with a price: other towers sprouting and spoiling their view, the noise of 4am garbage trucks, drunken revellers, doof-doof from nightclubs.

Melbourne City Council, more than any other city in Australia, has encourged the growth of its CBD population and promoted converting its once grungy network of laneways into places of cool with street art, cafes, and clubs with a 24/7 appeal. It even named one of these laneways AC/DC Lane.

For 14 years a live music venue in that lane, Cherry Bar, has been pumping with music seven days a week, presenting 1,100 acts a year. Its owner, James Young, says in that time it has not had one noise complaint but now a 12-storey, 189-apartment residential development behind it at 108 Flinders Street towers directly over AC/DC Lane as its north-facing balconies overlook the lane.

The tower’s new resident are due to move in next month and Young fears that one complaint about noise could see Cherry Bar closed down. He says the law is on the side of any “pop-up” complaint maker so he is soundproofing the venue but has launched a crowd-funding campaign to pay for half the cost of the works.

The PledgeMusic direct-to-fan campaign, launched last week will, he says: “mean Cherry is compliant with noise restrictions related to its brand new residential neighbours … PledgeMusic are taking care of all transaction fees and donating back five per cent of the campaign income to help save Cherry.”

Yesterday, Young announced that his campaign to raise funds to soundproof Cheery Bar was a roaring success, with over $50,000 pledged for the works.

On the launch of the campaign last week, we asked Young to to tell us more about being at the coal face of the noise issue which he claims is “the biggest issue globally facing music today”.

How much money do you need to raise from the pledge?

$40,000, which is just under half of the cost of soundproofing works.

How much does it cost to soundproof the Cherry Bar?

$90,000.

How complicated is it to soundproof?

Not complex. Costly. Double glazing windows, double-bricking walls, special ‘box’ entries.

How long does it take to install?

Not long, two weeks.

What guarantee do you have that music inside the venue will not be heard from neighbours?

We paid an acoustics expert a fortune to recommend the soundproofing so that we are ‘compliant’.

Do you have any sympathy for people who buy apartments without knowing about the bar (or indeed any other entertainment venue in the area)?

Yes, but the developers should be protecting them by paying for our works.

Have any of the developers approached you about their plans before they start their marketing?

No, of course not.

Do you know if they tell prospective residents to expect noise in the area from venues?

Sincerely doubt this, why would they? They want to sell and move on.

Do you know if the apartments at 108 Flinders Street are fitted with soundproof windows?

They are double-glazed, yes. But EPA measurements are taken from outside the window so Cherry would be rooted without soundproofing.

Do you think it should be a requirement that new residential buildings in recognised entertainment precincts be soundproofed?

No, just soundproof the source.

Are any of your residential neighbours supportive of the bar and the use of that part of town for entertainment?

Yes, the guy who donated $5,000 anonymously lives 100 metres from Cherry!

But installing soundproofing will not prevent people complaining if they complain about noise from patrons arriving and leaving, will it?

Sadly not.

You say that residential development is the biggest issue globally facing music today. That’s a big statement. Can you explain it more?

Physical music sales are dead. Live music venues are the epicentre of income and learning for bands. And these venues are under threat and being closed by new residential developments.

How are other cities are handling the resident/venue conflict?

Brisbane declared Fortitude Valley a “cultural cluster” exempt from normal sound laws!

Do you feel that the legal and planning system puts all the onus on you to deal with the problem and not the apartment owners?

At the moment, yes, but hopefully this will change soon.

What would the loss of the Cherry bar mean to live music in Melbourne?

Over my dead body will Melbourne lose Cherry. Rock ‘n’ Roll ain’t noise pollution … in AC/DC lane.

This article first appeared on The Daily Review.

Community Discussion

Be the first one to comment on this article
What would you like to say about this project?