Live music still threatened: report

Music fans listen to Wellington band Wiri Donna at the Crown Hotel. The hotel is one of the last...
Music fans listen to Wellington band Wiri Donna at the Crown Hotel. The hotel is one of the last live music venues in Dunedin. Photo: Fraser Thompson/
Noise level restrictions and a lack of suitable venues are still hampering the Dunedin live music scene, says a wide-ranging council report.

Councillors will receive the updated Dunedin Live Music Action Plan (Map) at the community services committee on Wednesday.

It builds on the work of Save Dunedin Live Music (SDLM) and council staff, who hope to revitalise the city’s music scene.

"Faced with challenges regarding inner-city venue noise control, SDLM brought their concerns to the DCC with a unified voice.

"Drawing upon a love for live music and a deep sense of community, they spoke of the importance of preserving the vibrant live music scene in Ōtepoti Dunedin."

The Map report also noted concerns around noise control restrictions, and the apparent lack of planning for venues.

"There are concerns that the current regulations do not acknowledge and appreciate the significant contribution that live music makes to the cultural identity and overall wellbeing of our city," the report said.

"As an example, despite the challenges faced by Ōtepoti Dunedin’s music ecosystem, The Crown Hotel stands as a resilient stronghold.

"While the city once boasted numerous thriving and well-equipped live music venues, the options have become increasingly limited."

The Map report said the DCC "acknowledges its responsibility in managing these tensions and this plan will be instrumental in addressing the complex challenges involved".

"We are creating clear, accessible information about noise complaints for music communities, and we are reviewing the acoustic insulation

requirement provisions and acoustic insulation for music venues’ noise management provisions in the district plan."

SDLM spokesman David Bennett said the report was a "living document", but the group was waiting for some actual decisions about funding to be made.

"They've pushed the funding out; and I think that speaks to the fact they haven't costed everything.

"Some of the longer-term projects are going to require a lot of political will."

The need for a mid-size live venue was a "big ticket item", as was the commitment to rehearsal spaces.

Rules around noise levels remained a concern for SDLM, but the council approach had improved, Mr Bennett said.

"We have heard the council is approaching music venues with a less heavy-handed regulatory approach to noise, which is a fantastic culture change.

"But we haven't seen any reflection of that in actual policy changes. We want it stated in their documents."

Mr Bennett said everyone was in a "holding pattern" until the resourcing gets sorted.