Every week or so, we hear about another great venue in the UK being threatened by closure, and it's now time to do something sensible to stop this happening.
Much like the campaigns to save Bristol's Fleece, Manchester's Night & Day or Brighton's Blind Tiger, rarely are these music venues endangered because of financial problems. Time and time again, this threat is coming from property developers or someone who can afford to buy a property in our expensive city centres who had no idea they moved next door to a venue and they are sick of the noise.
You may sympathise and think it's fair enough to complain about noise, but these aren't abandoned buildings that have been turned into live music venues. You may - somewhat understandably - think they're an idiot for buying a property next door to an established venue and you may just be jealous that they're one of the fortunate few who can afford to buy a property, let alone one that isn't three buses or a £25+ taxi ride to get home from, but don't let that cloud your judgement, as this won't solve the problem and you may see another great venue slip away whilst you shake your head in dismay.
However, what we should all be able to agree on is that something sensible needs to happen to ensure that we don't lose any more independent venues. Especially not venues which have been responsible for some of the best nights of our lives and that have been the hub that has helped birth bands that have taken over the world.
Over on Facebook the Music Venue Trust have a simple suggestion that DiS hopes you will all get behind:
Today we are launching our second campaign, an HM Government petition calling on the Secretary of State for the Environment to carry out an urgent review of Noise Abatement legislation to ensure that the proper balance is being struck between the individual rights of owners/occupiers and the right of communities to be able to enjoy live music.
The Music Venue Trust believes that venues should be good neighbours, engaging with their local communities and addressing concerns around noise and anti-social behaviour. But we believe that being a good neighbour is a reciprocal process, and that people who choose to live near to community spaces are accepting the responsibility to behave as a good neighbour to their adjoining music venue, church or community space; anywhere it is inevitable and should be acceptable that noise will exist. We believe this is a common sense approach - if you hate sport, why move next to a football pitch? If you hate music, why move next to a live music venue?
Being a good neighbour within a community is fundamentally important and any neighbour who abuses his fellow neighbours in any way should suffer the appropriate legal consequences. However, we believe that the current provisions of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 that relate to Noise and the serving of Noise Abatement notices have unintentionally provided rights to new tenants or developers to limit and control noise that are outside the intent of the common sense approach, and that these rights are being misused to attempt to prevent local communities from being able to enjoy the normal, established and historic use of these spaces. We call upon the Secretary of State for the Environment to act in partnership with the Department for Culture Media and Sport and the Department for Communities and Local Government to urgently review all relevant legislation and amend it so that the rights of existing venues and other "noisy" spaces are suitably recognised within the Acts in a manner that reflects the needs and wishes of local communities.
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO:
SIGN the petition
SHARE this Facebook message.
TELL your friends, your favourite bands, your local musicians that you want them to publicly support this campaign. Please ask them to like the Music Venue Trust page on Facebook so we can continue to update them.
CLICK share on the petition page.
We are still looking for more Venue Champions to join our national campaign to change government and local authority perceptions around music venues. If you want to become an activist in that campaign, please email the Music Venue Trust at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo by Mike Hughes.