More silent nights at CBD bars
Live music at Nelson’s CBD Sprig & Fern bar could be a thing of the past, thanks to noise complaints.
General manager Lee Fern posted to the Hardy St bar’s Facebook page early on Saturday morning, announcing the end of a seven-year tradition.
‘‘The will of one or two people has won,’’ he wrote. ‘‘Tonight for the second time in two weeks we have been served with a 72-hour noise abatement notice, which has put an end each time to the band that is/was playing.
‘‘We have no choice but to adhere to this, and as such I am sad to announce that after seven years I can no longer provide . . . live music.’’
Fern said he could not risk a fine or the seizure of the musicians’ equipment if he continued to have live performances.
‘‘We have always imposed a voluntary self-imposed curfew for the live music of midnight at the latest . . . but it seems three hours twice a week is still too much for someone.’’
Fern’s post attracted nearly 300 comments in support of the live music by yesterday afternoon, and 697 reactions.
Noise has been an issue in Nelson’s CBD before. In 2006, many bars said they would have to cancel live music after a couple took the Nelson City Council to court to ensure decibel readings were taken outside the bar rather than the home of the person making the noise complaint. Bars found to exceed 55 decibels after 10pm would be given a direction from the council to cut the sound back or face a $750 fine.
In 2008, five noise complaints in 11 days about Nelson Arts Festival events at Albion Square saw them moved to Founders Heritage Park the following year.
Bars are subject to council noise control, and officers can confiscate equipment if cessation notices are not obeyed.
Councillors Matt Lawrey and Mel Courtney said they would help Fern take the issue to the council this week.
Courtney said he and Lawrey were called on by commenters on the original post, asking for their help sorting the issue.
‘‘We’ll get on to it and make sure that sense prevails. It’s everything the council wants – we want a vibrant CBD, and music is a part of that.’’
‘‘A city without live music isn’t really a city at all,’’ Lawrey said. ‘‘There must be a way that we can sort it out.’’
Fern did not want to comment when contacted.