“Now that it’s been six months or seven months without sound, people are going to be really sensitive to the fact that it’s there,” Mr Orris said.
“Right now the rules are pretty tough and there doesn’t seem to be any wiggle room as far as noise violations go, the levels we can create are basically loud chatter levels.”
Music Victoria CEO Patrick Donovan says the interstate experience has shown heightened residential noise sensitivity after a prolonged lockdown, as people became used to a “nice, quiet world”.
“There’s been an increase in noise complaints from residents now that music, outdoor dining and hospitality have resumed,” he said.
Mr Donovan believes it needs to be easier for venues to put on gigs outdoors as they find their feet in a COVID-safe environment.
“If any of these promoters or venues are going to actually host live music then there needs to be a streamlining of processes,” he said.
“There needs to be temporary variations of liquor licences for venues that currently aren’t allowed to host outdoor live music.”
Adam King, owner of the Rainbow Hotel in Fitzroy, hopes councils will be more flexible around noise restrictions as Melbourne comes back to life.
“Some people are going to love it, some people are going to hate it,” he said.
“You can’t please everyone can you?”
An Environment Protection Authority spokesman said the organisation had historically taken a balanced approach to regulating music events and festivals.
“Local communities should not be unduly impacted and EPA encourages venues to set up gigs that can be held within the compliance standards,” he said.
While this may be the case, Mr Donovan says Music Victoria is calling on councils and relevant departments, including the EPA and the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation, to clearly outline what will and won’t be allowed.
“These operators need clarity and they need red tape cut to enable them to help the state out and get people out and back to business,” Mr Donovan says.
Musician Dan Oke, who has played at the Pinnacle many times over the years, says he wants the future of the city’s music scene to feel as spontaneous and welcoming as it was prior to COVID.
“Over the years I’ve personally seen a lot of venues go under due to the unfair and unrealistic noise restrictions they face off against,” he says.
“We need realistic regulations for bands and venues, plus more open communication with their surrounding residents, local council and government bodies.”