Music Community Fights Back As Single Noise Complaint Threatens Aus Venue

1 September 2023 | 3:04 pm | Mary VarvarisEllie Robinson

"It's touch and go..."

The Cave Inn

The Cave Inn (Source: Facebook/The Cave Inn)

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The Cave Inn, a music venue, bar and restaurant in the Brisbane suburb of Woolloongabba, has been threatened with a noise complaint that’s put the space on Struggle Street, the Courier Mail reported this week.

While noise complaints and the money required for soundproofing can (and have) destroy music venues, the Brisbane music community has rallied behind The Cave Inn since co-owner Dylan Jeffreys started a GoFundMe fundraiser on the 18th of August.

“The Cave Inn, like most hospo, has been struggling to keep its head above water,” the GoFundMe mission statement reads. “We have had a noise complaint that means we need to fast-track finishing our sound treatment for the wall behind the stage. We have wanted to do this for ages, but Covid and the bastard cost of living crisis has stopped us. We desperately need it done so we can keep our license and continue trading.”

Co-owner Marcus Lavers, speaking with The Music, says, “We just shut because we didn't want to get fined or anything. So, we've been in here working, just shoring up all the soundproofing; we’re in there right now just working. So, we’re shut till Sunday. It’s been hard.”

Their Facebook page notes that The Cave Inn has been closed from Wednesday until Sunday this week for soundproofing renovations.

The Cave Inn’s owners – Jeffreys, Lavers and Ruth Gardener looked to raise $10,000 on their GoFundMe. They’ve already surpassed that goal, with the fundraiser currently sitting at $11,700 and allowing the owners to update the goalposts to $20,000. Raising over $10,000 in such a short period is a remarkable achievement, one that Lavers notes represents the music community in Brisbane.

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“It's a community not sitting down and allowing the things that don’t need to take place,” he said. “I think what we hear from people is you're not allowed to shut down [laughs]; they don't want us to; we’re not allowed to [laughs].”

On the GoFundMe donations, Lavers adds, “That was pretty amazing, to be honest. It was. We didn't want to do it because it felt like asking for charity. But in the end, we had no choice.

“And we were like, we can't not do something,” he explains. Lavers tells The Music that after paying bills, staff, and maintenance in August, “there’s just nothing left. It's tough times. But you know, we just sort of struggle on. But then that [noise complaint] happened.

“And I mean, I wrote that bid for the GoFundMe and took some pictures in 10 minutes. And I just went for, like, what are we going to spend hours and hours and hours on this? We'll just put something like this up. Dylan's like, just put it up. And then, what, 180 people [178] have donated already? It's ridiculous.”

“I just refuse to get dragged into stuff like that,” Lavers says about the noise complaint. “Because what's it gonna do to me? It just trips me up. As far as I'm concerned, it's a wake-up call to shore up all of the soundproofing.

Lavers thinks somebody bought a house nearby and, in the noise complaint, left specific details documenting the times The Cave Inn is open on their website. “It does seem a little bit fishy, but I don't think that matters to licensing,” he says.

Lavers says that without the local live music-loving community, The Cave Inn “probably would have had to shut off again – it’s touch and go as it is, anyway.” But the venue managed to stay open through Covid-19, the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, and show “a capability of surviving. We need to grow and thrive,” he says, fighting for the venue and the community.

And those efforts have paid off. Lavers continues, “We've had a lot of interstate bands since COVID calling us up [asking], ‘Can we play there while we're going up the coast?’ So we're known about in Melbourne, Adelaide. These bands come through here now.”

You can contribute to the GoFundMe to help The Cave Inn here.