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cherryMelbourne is known worldwide as one of the globe’s great music cities. Any town that has a lane named after one of its mightiest bands, AC/DC, has got be serious about its rock music. Located in the middle of AC/DC Lane is one of the best rock and roll clubs in the world, the Cherry Bar. Not only does the bar put on a great show (New York Dolls, Black Keys, Mark Lanegan), it’s also a popular place for local and international musicians to hang out when they’re not playing (Motorhead, Kasabian, Jack Black). The bar has principles too! They famously knocked back Lady Gaga who wanted to play there, instead staying true to the originally booked band, Jackson Firebird. Owner by local music identity and staunch supporter of Australian music James Young, the club, like many inner city venues, is under constant threat of closure due to the gentrification of our cities. Why people move into a noisy city and then complain about noise is beyond comprehension.

Young has announced that he is addressing the threat of potential closure from noise complaints from new residents through an elaborate and expensive sound-proofing procedure which it proposes to partially pay for through an ambitious direct-to-fan campaign using PledgeMusic. Cherry Owner and Booker James Young explains…

The Background
New residential developments threatening existing live music venues is the biggest issue globally facing music today.

Cherry Bar in AC/DC Lane Melbourne is at the coalface of this burning issue. A 12-storey 189-apartment residential development at 108 Flinders Street now towers directly over AC/DC Lane with its north facing balconies frowning down upon us.

Residents are scheduled to move in in August. And despite the fact that Cherry has not had a single noise complaint in 14 positive and successful rocking years, as soon as these apartments open and one person complains we are on the wrong side of the law and can be closed down.

All the support in the world and all the well meaning, but ultimately ethereal acceptance of the “agent of change principle” (where the entity that instigates the change is responsible for the consequences, i.e. sound-proofing) at Council and Government level count for nothing at this stage because right now the law is immediately on the side of the pop-up complaint maker.

The Solution
Cherry has paid a small fortune to investigate the necessary sound attenuation ‘works’ to make us compliant in all circumstances. These works, in summary, involve a brick wall behind our stage area, double-glazing of all windows and the creation of a two-door soundproof bubble entrance to Cherry. The cost of these works is too high for Cherry to bear alone. Cherry Bar does not have the available funds to complete these works, so Cherry Bar faces the very real threat of being closed down.

The solution to this problem is for Cherry to find a ‘White Knight’ to contribute approximately half of these soundproofing works. And this White Knight is….the live music loving public. Cherry, through a PledgeMusic direct-to-fan campaign, launched on Wednesday 23 July aim to raise the necessary funds to commence work on the sound-proofing, which will mean Cherry is compliant with noise restrictions related to its brand new residential neighbours and accompanying restaurant and will be able to continue to operate as a 7-night-a-week live music venue, one which currently showcases over 1 100 local acts per year. Pleasingly, PledgeMusic are taking care of all transaction fees and donating back 5% of the campaign income to help Save Cherry.

Punters who choose to help save rock n roll and Cherry Bar will be given a wide selection of items to ‘purchase’ (prices range from $18 to $5 000) including T-Shirts, Stubby Holders, Bumper Stickers, named “bricks” in the soundproof wall and medallions for annual and life-time free entry to Cherry Bar. There is also 7-track digital EP featuring donated songs from 7 of Cherry’s favourite Australian bands – Drunk Mums, Child, Hits, F*ck The Fitzroy Doom Scene, Matt Sonic & The High Times, Dead City Ruins and Palace of the King, all of whom regularly grace the infamous Cherry Stage.

James Young concludes, “In some senses this is a sad story. It really is not fair that the venue has to pay for this sound-proofing. It should be the developers’ cost. And it’s not fair that we have to turn to the cash-strapped public and ask for their help to contribute half of our building costs, but I’ve sat through dozens of well intentioned meetings that go round and round in circles without ever providing a solution for the poor threatened live music venues. The conclusion I’ve come to is…to avoid confrontation is the best course of action: to soundproof Cherry so we are compliant and beyond reproach and above complaints from our new neighbours and can 100% stay alive and continue to support live music. This is what must be done and in order to do it, we need help, we need your help. Please help us save rock n roll. Please help save Cherry Bar in AC/DC Lane. Thank you.”

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