Amidst Rising Challenges, Noise Complaints Cast Shadow Over Brisbane’s Live Music

Brisbane’s live music scene is facing a new challenge: relentless noise complaints. Popular venues in West End, Gabba, South Brisbane, and the Valley are under pressure to preserve the vibrant musical culture amidst the trend of inner-city living.

The Burrow, a prominent venue in West End, is in jeopardy due to a dispute with a single neighbour. The owners are committed to the local community but face rising costs and the burden of appeasing one disgruntled resident. The future of The Burrow is now uncertain.

The recent revocation of O’Skulligans’ live music license in Fortitude Valley left the industry stunned. The complaint came from a resident who had recently moved nearby, undermining the venue’s contribution to the local music community and raising concerns about other venues facing similar challenges.

The Milk Factory Kitchen & Bar, which faced closure during the lockdown, encountered difficulties in staying open due to a noise complaint from a neighbouring unit owner. Venue owners like Emily Dennis of It’s Still A Secret and Can You Keep A Secret have experienced immense stress and fear of closure.

The implications of these noise complaints extend beyond individual venues and affect the broader live music community. Even The Bug folk music venue in the New Farm Bowls Club has faced pressure from certain neighbours, hindering artistic expression and enjoyment.

Venue owners, musicians, and industry professionals are demanding greater protection for live music venues in Brisbane. They recognise that this issue is not confined to West End but is a widespread problem across the city and the country. Anonymous complaints and the ambiguity surrounding decibel limits make it challenging for venues to host live bands and manage their operations effectively.

Trina Massey, councillor for The Gabba ward, recognises the importance of venues like The Burrow in nurturing local musical talent and preserving the cultural character of West End. She advocates for the establishment of a cultural precinct to protect and support independent artistic creation and ensure the longevity of Brisbane’s vibrant music scene