Music fans and business owners in the Red River district celebrated a small, but important victory last week; a 6 month live music curfew extension. Beginning in May, the city’s noise curfew will extend to midnight on Thursdays and 1 a.m. on the weekends. The city council voted 9-1 in favor of the extension with one abstention.
The goal behind the test run is to determine how the curfew would positively impact the struggling businesses in the area and also looks at examining the possible ramifications of such an extension. “The pilot program will provide us the opportunity to create jobs, to create more opportunities for musicians, to address growing and untenable costs and to collect data to finally find solutions for some of the contentious issues,” said Cody Cowan, general manager of the Mohawk.
While the majority of Austin venues applauded the ruling, not all businesses were happy. Several hotel proprietors expressed concern regarding how the extension will affect a “good night sleep” for corporate guests of said hotels. “We still have an exorbitant amount of guest complaints (with music) going until midnight,” said Sunni Dupree, manager of Hotel Indigo. “To expand that to 1:30 would impact my business tremendously.”
It appears that dissenting business owners want to have it both ways; they want to reap the benefits of being located in a culturally vibrant part of Austin, but don’t want to accept the potential “drawbacks” that come from being located in such an area. In December of 2016, the Westin Austin filed a $1 million dollar lawsuit against Nook Amphitheater for excessive noise and disturbing the hotel’s guests. Nook countered such claims by stating that the volume does not violate city noise ordinances and that the decibel levels are measured every 30 minutes. It’s also speculated that the Westin did not sufficiently soundproof their rooms.
While the battle for Red River is far from over, this ruling is a positive step to return Austin to its musically vibrant roots.