Locked out of Sydney

Rich People Think the Sydney Opera House Is too Loud and Ugly

Residents of the city's single most expensive apartment building have been lobbying politicians and even UNESCO to ban outdoor concerts.

by Katherine Gillespie
06 November 2016, 9:57pm

Image via Flickr user Tony Vo

Complaining about noise has always been a successful way to shut down nightclubs and live music venues. Now some of Sydney's wealthiest residents are stepping it up—going so far complaining that noise from the Opera House is losing them sleep. While they're not asking for the iconic venue to be shut down and turned into condominiums, they do want to see some changes.

The residents of the Bennelong building enjoy the single most expensive views in Sydney. But these views don't come with a mute setting. Situated only 200 metres from the Opera House, Bennelong's homeowners are campaigning against the "trashy commercialisation" of the Opera House, and its loud concerts.

Led by the apartment block's most famous resident, shock jock Alan Jones, the Sydney Opera House Concerned Citizens Group are especially angry about the increasing number of outdoor concerts hosted in its forecourt. Another resident, property investor Corey Cooney, also been quoted by The Australian as arguing "noise and disruption is evident even with doors and blinds closed, furthermore affecting my basic sleep and that of my family.

"It is not only the concert itself, it's the post-event noise of patrons leaving the premises drunk and disorderly, late at night, which ­affects our sleep and wellbeing as residents."

He is particularly concerned about shipping containers being set up around the Opera House before its outdoor concerts, saying they made it look like a "bomb site" and an "eyesore."

Not even an upcoming series of concerts from Baby Boomer faves Crowded House will appease the Concerned Citizens Group, who have been frantically sending letters to local politicians, government agencies, and even UNESCO.

Interestingly, the Sydney Opera House has also come under fire for the noise not being loud enough—but these complaints came from musicians and music fans, not millionaires with 9 PM bedtimes. In 2015, Tame Impala's Opera House forecourt debut was criticised for being "too soft," with one Twitter user saying the show sounded like it came from an iPod dock and another saying a "kettle boiling to make a cuppa would've been louder."

Similar complaints followed at other shows, forcing the Opera House to release a statement promising the sound engineering of its outdoor performances would be improved.

Still, a Chet Faker concert the following weekend endured similar complaints, with the musician's sound engineer Karl Cash telling Triple J that the sound levels were "kind of like your mum is in the next room when you're trying to watch TV at a good level and she's like it's too loud you've got to turn it down."

If the mums and dads in the next room get their way, the music might stop altogether—which will force live fans to find other late night venues. Good thing Sydney has so many to choose from.

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