A SCULPTOR wearing earplugs and earmuffs, and operating an angle-grinder, says noise from a nearby seaside concert was so loud she couldn’t work, causing her to go home in tears.
“And that was just the soundcheck,” says J-Shed artist Janet Dixon of last Saturday’s concert by Freo band San Cisco.
As well as being under fire from neighbouring businesses and residents over the noise, promoter Sunset Events is in the bad books with Sea Shepherd, for litter left near coastal scrub.
“This is the council and promoter that promised all sorts of respect and sophisticated music, instead blasting us with unacceptable noise for hours,” says resident Richard Mehan.
Ros Fairhead, owner of Fremantle Visitors Apartments, wrote on mayor Brad Pettitt’s blog that she saw youths from the concert throw a witch’s hat through the window of a Notre Dame university building.
She and husband Tony tried to report the incident to Sunset’s security guards, but they’d already left. Mr Fairhead tracked down someone from the uni who reported it to police.
Dr Pettitt replied he’d been at the concert and hadn’t found it too loud, and hadn’t seen any anti-social behaviour afterwards. He says it would be difficult to prove the vandals had come from the concert.
Ms Dixon is furious the artists in the two studios next to Sunset’s, including sculptor Greg James, ceramicist Jenny Dawson and photographer Peter Zuvela, were given no notice of the impending concert. Their licences guarantee “quiet enjoyment” of their studios.
City ward councillor Rachel Pemberton acknowledges San Cisco’s concert was the loudest of Sunset’s series so far, but as the band finished at an early hour it was a reasonable compromise. Cr Pemberton says she understands Ms Dixon’s frustration — she works outside John Butler’s rehearsal studio and is sometimes distracted by his strumming — but says the concerts are aimed at activating the area.
Mr Zuvela says his photography courses are in jeopardy and there’s no way he can stage exhibitions with San Cisco-level noise nearby.
Ms Dixon is also a wildlife rescue volunteer and she’s fuming over the amount of rubbish that was left behind, days after the event: “If you’ve ever had to pull a plastic bag out of a turtle’s stomach, I can tell you it’s not fun, and it’s hard to keep them alive after that,” she told the Herald.
Sea Shepherd head of marine debris Liza Dicks is a Fremantle resident and, after viewing the aftermath of the concert, she’s also unimpressed.
“There is a trend of this happening,” she says.
She has particular concerns about cable ties used to hold up fencing, which is often cut and simply cast aside on the ground.
Following Sunset’s Corona beer-sponsored event on South Beach in January, Sea Shepherd volunteers recovered 173 cable ties. The beach also coughed up 9500 cigarette butts.
“We are not out to stop these events as they make a great addition to Fremantle — and I’m a Fremantle resident — but just to make them better with a bit of tweaking,” Ms Dicks says.
Council arts and culture manager Pete Stone says the council will meet with Sunset to discuss cleaning and other lease issues. Sunset Events was contacted but didn’t get back.
by STEVE GRANT