Friday, 9 July 2010

The Freebutt Statement - 9th July

* First of all we would like to advise people that the Freebutt has not ‘shut down’ the Penthouse Bar above the Freebutt is still open seven days a week between 7:30pm and Midnight (1am Friday/Saturday). Please come in and show your support for the venue. *

It’s with huge regret that we have to announce that the volume limiter installed in the downstairs live room of The Freebutt has been reduced to a level of just 94dBA rendering it impossible for live unamplified drums or backline amplified guitars to perform in the building.

The immediate repercussions of this are that we are unable to host live bands in the venue. Currently booked shows (with the exception of Adelaide’s Cape on Friday 16th July) at the Freebutt have either been re-housed or are in process of being re-housed. Please check the official website for the all the latest changes. We have also been forced to make redundant 14 members of staff.

On Friday 2nd July representatives from the Environmental Health department and the Licensing department of Brighton and Hove City Council visited the Freebutt along with two specialist impartial audio engineers at our request. Upon undertaking a number of tests both within the Freebutt and the complainants’ home it became apparent that there is indeed a continued audio nuisance to the complainants caused by live bands performing here.

Whilst we sympathise with the complainant we still maintain that the only way to solve this issue is to provide us with a reasonable period of time in conjunction with EHO in which to undertake sound proofing works to eradicate the problem once and for all while still being able to trade and raise funds for the works.

Unfortunately it was decided that the Freebutt must immediately cease causing an audio nuisance and as such EHO took the decision to substantially reduce the setting of the volume limiter from 105dBA to 94dBA as to make the sound created in The Freebutt inaudible to the complainants.

It’s difficult for us to determine the long term effects of this as obviously a substantial amount of sound proofing works must be carried out at vast expense; the initial estimate is in the region of twenty thousand pounds. Frustratingly this is very much beyond our reach, particularly when we are unable to have any of our current 2010 bookings (which totals around 100 confirmed shows) perform in our venue.

As the council are quick to stress, The Freebutt has technically not been ‘shut down’. However, for a live music venue to be financially viable in a recession in a city the size of Brighton with a calendar made up solely of acoustic music would be an impossible challenge. The Freebutt has always been a diverse venue that caters across the board and brought such key acts as The Libertines, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Explosions in the Sky, Razorlight and Grizzly Bear to Brighton in their infancy. The closure of the Freebutt live room will undoubtedly have a devastating effect upon the musical culture of not only Brighton but the entire South East.

The Penthouse bar above the Freebutt remains open seven days a week between 7:30pm and Midnight (1am Friday/Saturday), please stop by and continue to support us.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has helped throughout our fight to keep the Freebutt open, your support was unprecedented and moved us all. Within just a week our petition gathered over 4000 signatures, that’s 2.5% of the entire population of Brighton and a quarter of the number of people who voted the Green Party into the Pavilion constituency.

Our petition is still open so please continue to spread the word of our plight and please contact your local councillor if you feel particularly passionate about the issue.