In the last couple of weeks, the news has come to light that another of Melbourne’s most beloved music venues, Shebeen has been forced to close due to noise complaints from a neighbouring property. Sure, the property backs onto the sleeping quarters of the Melbourne Police Station, however noise complaints and residential encroachment keeps popping up as a high priority issue throughout big and small venues in metropolitan and regional Victoria.
In a push to reduce complaints from neighbours and affected individuals, the state government in association with Live Music Office and Music Victoria have formed a new initiative called Good Music Neighbours – which in a nutshell is set to help live music venues operate their day-to-day business without upsetting anyone. Chatting to Nick Cooper, the interim operations and project manager, this is a positive move for Victorian live music.
“We are hearing more and more often about residential gentrification and encroachment on inner urban areas such as Ballarat, Geelong and Bendigo as well as inner city Melbourne suburbs. The more attractive these suburbs become, the more culturally active and vibrant they are,” Cooper says.
“There is always going to be a clash in residential living and with a live music venue offering high class cultural entertainment there is always going to be that culture clash. This program is aimed at informing both parties and arming them with the tools, including soundproofing to live together and coexist and be good music neighbours… it’s arming venues with some funding to be on the front foot so that they can be industry leading.”
Opening on July 4, the Good Music Neighbour grants will allow venues to take control of the situation and keep everybody happy. That said though, we all know that managing noise is a costly expense, however a little change can go along way to offsetting the emissions of sound. The grant entails three different levels of support to help with sound control, with options being open from up to $5k, $5k-$15k and $15k-$25k to help with various different methods of sound control.
From installing acoustic insulation in walls to heavy drapes or carpet, the opportunities of this grant are quite open ended depending on each particular case of the music venue.
“The range of activities is quite broad and can be as simple as getting the right advice from an acoustic consultant or to the construction of a new wall or roof. It’s a match funding program so the venue put in a dollar and the Government will put in a dollar if they are eligible,” he says.
Once your application is submitted by the 13th of July, an assessment review panel will be sifting through dozens of applications and working out which are a priority and need to be addressed.
“The timeline from the closing of applications to the assessment period is somewhere between 6- 8 weeks which is about mid September. It is important to note that work that is successfully funded via an application cannot commence until they find out if they are successful or not,” Cooper says.
While not a Good Music Neighbours success story, The Great Wall of Fitzroy as it is now known that resides at the Rainbow Hotel, is a prime example of how government funding working with a popular night time venue can produce a positive outcome for all involved.
With a three-year plan in place with funding rounds opening mid year in 2017 and 2018, hopefully with just a little luck, everyone can live harmoniously in one of the world’s greatest live music cities.
Written by Tex Miller
For more information visit www.musicvictoria.com.au/gmn and see how it can benefit your venue. The first round of funding will be available this July, opening on July 4 and close on July 13.