The Gap noise is above all else
Silly notions that anyone wants to see the St Lawrence Gap close early! What is early anyway?
It has been closing early in the morning for many years –– say three or four o’clock! Several years ago, the High Court imposed a permanent injunction against late-night music on the then After Dark Entertainment Centre, now Hal’s Carpark Bar and Ole Jamm Inn; and the Reggae Lounge, now The Cove, that never seemed to have been enforced properly in the 2000s.
In 1995, the two nightclubs were ordered to stop the music at midnight from Sunday to Thursday, and at 1 a.m. on weekends and bank holidays. At that time, some said the ban was likely to hurt the clubs. The same nonsense is being said now as the clubs in The Gap continue to play deafening music into the wee hours of the morning most nights! As a long-time resident and visitor living on St Lawrence Main Road, I have observed that most tourists are not going to these clubs after 2 a.m. They are tired from their daily activities in the hot sun, and want to catch up on much needed rest during their vacation by going to bed before midnight.
Visitors who stay in the area, many times while having a casual conversation with me about their usually enjoyable experience of Barbados, will mention the noise levels of the music venues in The Gap disturbing their night rest. They often note the tasty food at some restaurants and the solid drinks at the bars, but complain about unsavoury activities on the street and in the clubs.
Some residents on the St Lawrence Main Road sleep soundly, but often the venues rev up their music around 11 p.m., and some DJs rev up their shouting at the audience, so that one is often startled out of a rest that began around 10 p.m. or so! Who cares about the residents, some of whom have lived there even before the venues opened for business?!
Who cares about the workers in these places who are bombarded with sound levels over 85 decibels for at least four hours every night?
Note that “if a sound reaches 85 decibels or stronger, it can cause permanent damage to your hearing. The amount of time you listen to a sound affects how much damage it will cause. With extended exposure, noises that reach a decibel level of 85 can cause permanent damage to the hair cells in the inner ear, leading to hearing loss.”
Yes, surely we understand that music will be loud in a nightclub, but does it have to be so loud that it even affects persons who are living more than 50 metres from these venues?
In The Nation newspaper of March 18, the writer of an article titled The Gap Closing Early stated that “nightclub operators, food vendors, patrons are all wondering the same thing as the night activities at The Gap usually come to an abrupt close at 2 a.m.”. I remember saying to one owner a few months ago that I had heard from my house on the main road an abrupt end to the music about 1 a.m. a weeknight and I was wondering if the speakers were blown! He said no; there was nobody in the club so he decided to close early.
I have been in Barbados since December, and I have seldom heard The Cove or Monkey Nutts, formerly Sugar Lounge, stop their music before three or four o’clock in the morning. (Monkey Nutts is usually open on Thursdays and Saturdays until 4 a.m.) The Cove usually shuts off the music at 3 a.m.
Can anyone tell me the reason to blast music until 3 a.m. or 4 a.m.? Who does it benefit? Are more drinks sold when the music is deafening? Do patrons really stay longer than an hour or so at a venue if they have to shout at each other and the bartenders most of the night? The venues even compete with each other when it comes to the levels of their music.
Several times when I have attended a fairly busy venue called Crave, which on Thursdays features Mike Sealy, Boo Rudder and guests, the very apt players at The Old Jamm Inn almost drown out their jazzy music when they begin to play at 10 p.m. And Jamm Inn is three buildings up from Crave! Actually the last few times I have attended Crave, the music from Cove next door was now affecting the pleasure of listening to their performers!
I wish the Nation writer of the article would spend a few nights standing behind Thinking Computers or at the bus stop across from Paulo’s Charusco, especially on Thursday and Saturday nights so he could hear the cacophony bombarding the residents of St Lawrence Main Road.
Did he have an in-depth conversation with the owners of St Lawrence Hotel, Rostrevor Hotel and Yellowbird Hotel about how the late-night music/noise affects their guests? Did he speak to visitors or residents of St Lawrence to learn if and why “The Gap is closing early”?
Also, it’s somewhat amazing the lack of technical and other training most DJs have. Most of them think loudness is the key to enjoyment of music. Even if they have very good equipment, they have little sense of the benefits of proper equalization and volume control!
Owners and management of the venues need to work with DJs in the positioning of speakers, proper microphone techniques and volume control. If they did this well, they could very well see an increase in attendance and sales. Another important thing is that they have to learn correct marketing of their venues! Visitors and locals like variety. The Gap is no longer, if it ever really was, the be-all and end-all of regular nightly entertainment in Bimshire.
In recent years, there have been several other spots on the coast of Christ Church, such as Scoopie’s, Blakey’s, Cloud 9, Coast and others, even late-night striptease clubs, where locals and visitors alike go. And it would seem like certain times of the year Oistins eateries have higher patronage.
The lower attendance at some of the clubs in The Gap has very little to do with the police enforcing laws, as the article suggests, and more to do with more competition. It has to do with lack of proper lighting, drug pushing, and harassment of visitors and locals at times. And if there is the occasional violent incident at a venue the local patrons will shift it.
It is a combination of several things, including the deafening sounds emanating from some of the venues in The Gap!