The future of live music at Sydney’s Hideaway Bar hangs in the balance after the Enmore Road venue copped a noise complaint at 7pm on a Saturday.
Yep, you read right. 7pm. On a Saturday. While the sun was still up.
If you didn’t think that was even possible, then you’d be in the same boat as venue owner Dean Kirk-Ayton, who tells Music Feeds that police have since warned The Hideaway that it could have its PA system switched off for good if it gets hit with one more noise gripe.
“Police came in on the night, then a day after called a meeting with us and warned us that if another complaint was to happen we could see us not being able to do live music,” explains Ayton, who’d invited a graduate student from the Sydney DJ school to come in and spin some tunes at the time when a P-O’d neighbour phoned the fuzz.
“I didn’t even think it was possible to make a complaint at 7pm,” he adds.
The young venue, which celebrated its 2nd birthday just last month, may not have been around for all that long, but it’s already had a huge impact on Sydney’s cultural landscape. The tiny bar attracts hundreds of weekly visitors with its free live music nights, running Wednesdays through til Saturdays, while giving local artists and fans from a huge range of genres — acoustic, punk, hardcore, heavy metal, hip-hop, EDM you name it — somewhere to go and soak up the music they love.
It’s a noble crusade, particularly in a city where lockout laws have seen to the demise of more live music venues than we can bloody well count. Sadly, Ayton confesses to Music Feeds that the venue’s brush with the law has been so disheartening that it’s made him wonder whether it’s all worth it.
“The moment it happened and the cops came in and grilled us we sat back and had a big look at everything and the question came up: is it worth it…. and should we keep it going?” he says.
Thankfully, the venue ~hasn’t~ decided to unplug its speakers just yet. Instead, it’s launched a crowdfunding campaign to help raise money for an “air-tight sound proof door” to fortify itself against future noise complaints.
At the time of writing, the campaign has already reached north of $3K of its $5K target, and Ayton says they’ve been floored by all the support.
“It does give you that extra spring in your step when you see it and makes you want to keep doing what you do,” he says.
If you’d like to help protect the future of live music at The Hideaway Bar, you can throw your support behind its Go Fund Me campaign right here.
Shittily, this is far from the first time we’ve heard of a live music venue facing shut-down following a noise complaint in Sydney.
Recently, historic pub the Harold Park Hotel was forced to bin it’s seven-year-long Sunday arvo acoustic session following a noise complaint from a neighbour who’d moved into the area just two weeks prior, and lest we forget the ugly shamozzle that’s erupted between the actual SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE and the residents of a neighbouring high-end apartment called The Toaster, who want to see the iconic Aussie venue banned from hosting outdoor concerts (like the ones we recently saw Crowded House perform) because of how the noise affects their beauty sleep.
“We can’t legally post the things we’d like to do to those kinds of people,” anti-lockouts group Keep Sydney Open have posted on Facebook in relation to the noise complainer who targeted the Hideaway Bar. “We need to protect music in this city!”
Too right. Where are you when we need you, live music Batman?!
UPDATE 23/02/17 9.00am: The Hideaway Bar has officially reached its $5K crowdfunding target for soundproofing, meaning its live music agenda will live on. Congrats you bloody rippers!