Beloved Sydney venue Harold Park Hotel has shut down live music after noise complaints from neighbours

A beloved Sydney venue is under threat after after six years of putting on live music due to – you guessed it – noise complaints from a neighbour.

Photo by Hidden City Secrets
Photo by Hidden City Secrets

Beloved Sydney venue Harold Park Hotel has shut down live music after six years following noise complaints from neighbours.

The Harold Park Hotel in Glebe, which has been open for more than a century, has hosted live music in its courtyard every Sunday since 2011. That was until the Sydney Council asked them to stop.

The shows the hotel put on are low key acoustic gigs which pub owner William Ryan says have been supported by the local community for years. “It’s upsetting that one person can ruin it for the greater good,” he said. “I’ve had thousands and thousands of Facebook posts and tweets and personal letters and phone calls about the support for the music on a Sunday afternoon.”

“I’m not talking about playing heavy metal until three in the morning … it’s appropriate low-risk music and I’d like to think that’s … a sensible policy.”

It appears, however, that acoustic music isn’t low-risk enough in the suburb of Glebe.

An aggravated neighbour was successful in shutting down the Sunday afternoon sessions after just one complaint which led to a review of the hotel’s conditions of development consent.

Ryan admitted that the sessions were outside the hotel’s development rules and technically not allowed, but is upset by the turn of events saying “the system ain’t right” if a single complaint could lead to this live music staple being shut down.

“No one complained in five years. The system is broke if one person can upset the apple cart,” he said. “I’m not in the right here but I’m definitely not in the wrong.”

When asked why he never applied for permission to have live music outdoors, Ryan said the compliance costs were too high, including a $15,000 acoustic report and additional costs. “It could cost me between $20,000 to $30,000,” he said.

The affair has spurred plenty of debate online. Many are outraged that a newcomer to the suburb could shut down a local institution with one strike, and once again we are reminded of Melbourne’s progressive policies for such a circumstance.

Ryan said he was contacted by several councillors and state MPs since discussing the issue on social media last week. He said he holds no grudge against the City of Sydney for enforcing the law by threatening him with a $6000 fine if he persisted in the outdoor sessions.

“Council has done nothing wrong. They’re not the bad guys,” he said.

The council’s adviser for live music and performance has been working with Ryan to discuss amending the pub’s development, including a possible $5000 grant so that they can continue putting on shows in the courtyard.

We reckon that neighbour needs to loosen the fuck up.

[via SMH]