Backlash against ban on bagpipes

Simon McLean
Simon McLean
Dunedin residents have labelled some George St retailers "small minded" and in need of "a life" after they had a top Dunedin bagpiper banned from busking in the city for 72 hours.

Simon McLean (21) was performing outside the Scottish Shop in George St on Monday with a busking permit and the store's permission when a noise control officer told him to move.

The incident has angered many residents, including Margaret Barber, who was left wondering what the world was coming to.

"I am absolutely appalled at the small-mindedness of the business people who have complained. Most of the businesses in the main street have billboards cluttering up the street. These are more of a nuisance than Simon is.

"These business people need to get a life. At least it is decent music and enjoyed by many people. I have heard Simon playing and must say he is an accomplished musician . . .

"Simon is a good ambassador for our city and an attraction to the many tourists who visit our city via the many cruise ships."

While most George St businesses spoken to by the Otago Daily Times were shocked and disappointed Mr McLean had been moved on, two businesses said they were pleased.

An anonymous business owner said the bagpipes were painful and annoying to listen to.

"It's OK for residents. They don't have him standing outside their door."

Many of the businesses who supported Mr McLean said the council should issue noise control notices to boy racers and noisy buses instead.

Mornington resident Marion Potter said the council action was "surprising and petty", given Dunedin was a place of Scottish ancestry in the midst of celebrating Robbie Burns' 250th anniversary.

She was also upset the council could act so quickly to hush a piper in George St and yet be so slow to get her Mornington neighbours to turn down their stereo.

Happy Hens owner Yvonne Sutherland said the incident was "utter nonsense and an embarrassment for Dunedin".

"Bring back the pipes. I can't believe the stupidity of the bagpipe ban."

DCC environmental health team leader Ros MacGill said the council received five complaints in four days from George St businesses about Mr McLean's music-making and she stood by the council's decision.

• Mr McLeod blew in the face of the council and was playing in George St again yesterday.

"I took the risk and played in places where I hadn't had complaints about my playing before. It was great - really supportive crowds."


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