Barry Gordon: Allowing live music sounds good

Picture: JANE BARLOW
Picture: JANE BARLOW
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WITH many licensed premises open until 5am throughout August, it’s obvious the levels of noise (I’m talking music here) in the city will increase.

For some, though – like those who move into residential areas knowing live music has been emanating from nearby pubs and clubs for years – it still comes as a surprise.

All it takes is one party-pooper to put in a complaint to the council’s Environmental Health Officers and before you know it, the plug is pulled on a guitarist’s amplifier.

Don’t believe me? Just ask those who live close to Studio 24 on Calton Road. Or those who stay near the Southsider Bar, or the Parlour Bar, in Leith.

I used to live above the Parlour Bar, and while it could be a bit noisy during the weekend, it hardly came as a shock – the noise always the result of one too many beers, not one too many tunes.

So why do the council’s Stormtroopers Of Sound turn a blind eye – or should that be, a deaf ear – to music-makers during the Fringe? Is it because they want to be seen to be supporting the arts and not upset visiting tourists?

What is certain is that the council isn’t consistent with its rules on what they class an environmental health hazard. Whether it’s stating a band are playing too close to the door, that they can’t use amplifiers, drums, or that they have to use a noise limiter – it’s unclear and causing bad feeling between musicians and the council.

So, for anyone who doesn’t realise Edinburgh is a small city where music can be heard virtually everywhere; you might want to consider the Outer Hebrides. You’ll get plenty peace there.

Finally, it comes as no great surprise to see certain city centre venues trying to exploit musicians during the Fringe. Those offering “great exposure” and “a unique opportunity” in return for unpaid work might want to check their own moral compass before expecting musicians to play for free. Chancers.