Noise complaints tone down cafe

01:52, May 05 2014
Coastal Pacific passenger train
MUTED RESPONSE: Le Cafe owner Peter Schoni will be scheduling concerts earlier in the evenings to avoid noise complaints.

A Picton cafe famous for its live music is being forced to tone things down due to a string of noise complaints.

Le Cafe had helped put Marlborough on the international music map but owner Peter Schoni is learning that not everybody likes the musical vibe.

He is now scheduling concerts earlier in the evenings to avoid noise complaints. On Friday, Scobie had German jazz-rock band Solid Brew start at 5.30pm; they played just two sets and were restricted to playing "quiet, mellow" music.

Schoni opened Le Cafe on London Quay 13 years ago and it has become a regular performance venue for music identities like Greg Johnson, Julia Deans and the Warratahs. International line-ups play there, too.

"We are not talking heavy metal bands. We are talking acoustic instruments," Schoni said. He had learned from noise control officers, though, that any music heard out on the street could be regarded as excessive.

George and Rebecca Houghton who own Century 21 Lifestyle Realty a few doors down from Le Cafe were surprised to learn there had been noise complaints. Le Cafe brought people - and their money - to Picton, they said.

On Wellington St, Escape to Picton hotel-restaurant owner Juliearna Kavanagh said she had been told by noise control contractors to stop "loud" music at her venue. She has challenged noise control officers to prove the excess volume by showing her a decibel meter reading. They never did.