Beloved Melbourne music venue The Bendigo Hotel, located on Johnston Street in Collingwood, is the latest live music venue to face complaints of excessive noise from local residents, with venue owners tonight entering talks with local council in an effort to resolve the dispute without litigation.
As Mess and Noise reports, representatives from the Collingwood establishment will be engaging council in a “last-ditch” effort to resolve the dispute, with owners reportedly scheduled to appear at a hearing of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) tomorrow.
According to Beat, the dispute arose from the complaints of a single resident, who began leasing in the area in March, first contacting the licensing authority, before the local Council, and police a month after. The Bendigo has no history of breaches with the police or the licensing authority.
“I’ve never met him,” Bendigo owner Guy Palermo told Beat, of the resident. “He refuses to meet up with me. In four years, this is the only time I’ve had a complaint. Once his lease ends, I’m sure he will be gone, leaving me out of pocket thousands of dollars,” he continued.
“It is possible he may cause the end of live music at The Bendigo after 100 years of the hotel’s operation,” added Palermo, who bought the run-down venue four years ago and spent $10,000 turning it into a respected live music venue that runs four live gigs a week.
As part of his restoration, Palermo soundproofed the 300-capacity venue, as well as bringing on acoustic engineers who check sound levels weekly. On The Bendigo’s official Facebook page, staff referred to the complainant as “just one bad egg on a street where everyone else is fckn rad!!!!”
However, City of Yarra Mayor Jackie Fristacky offered a different narrative to FasterLouder, telling them there had been a total of 14 complaints made by a “few different people over the course of the past 12 months” and that acoustic testing found noise levels above the acceptable limit.
“This is not about who is making the complaints,” Mayor Fristacky told FL. “It is about the fact our officers have identified the venue as being in breach of the EPA guidelines several times and requested the venue to introduce acoustic treatments to deal with the issue.”
As for the $10,000 Palermo spent on soundproofing, Mayor Fristacky said, “Council appreciates there can be significant costs to venues involved with acoustic treatments but we also have a responsibility to ensure those venues are making an effort to do the right thing by their neighbours.”
News of the venue’s troubles quickly circulated on the internet, resulting in a change.org petition that has so far garnered almost 8,000 signatures, as well as offers of help from Music Victoria and Save Live Australian Music, who contacted The Bendigo to offer resources and advice.
Stay tuned to Music Feeds and we’ll keep you up-to-date with this story as it unfolds.