Live Music in Jeopardy

RECEIVED Wed., Feb. 16, 2011

Dear Editor,
    On Thursday, Austin City Council voted to change the city’s sound ordinance in ways that will very likely destroy this city’s live music. I own four Downtown bars, and I am scared that this council is going to run me out of business. Until this week, when the Austin Police Department measured volume coming from one of my venues, they would do so at the property line – where the music had the potential to disturb neighbors. Now, APD must measure volume from the speaker or instrument producing the music, regardless of how likely the music is to be a nuisance to others outside the venue. I live Downtown and am glad that we have a sound ordinance. There are times when a band or venue is just too loud. But how loud it is should be measured from where people live and work and might be disturbed, not from the source of the music. Due to the unique physics of sound waves, how loud a speaker is doesn’t necessarily translate to how loud it is at a neighboring residence. Gary Etie has regularly explained this issue on his Austin City Permits blog. If council doesn’t fix this immediately, all outdoor music in Austin is in jeopardy. Live music is the cultural and economic core of this city. Don’t let council kill it.
Brad Womack
Owner/operator
Molotov Lounge
The Dogwood
Chuggin Monkey
The Dizzy Rooster
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