An Uptown Conundrum

Category: community 227

Quality Block Party host fundraising concert in support of important Saint John venue plagued by noise complaints.

From the outside looking in, Saint John appears to be one of the most supportive arts communities in the province. Over the past few years, the city has all but exploded with an incredible outpouring of live arts, dance and music events making it the envy of many. But from the inside looking out, there’s still a long way to go.

“There’s a reason Uptown Saint John is viewed as a happening place right now and it’s not because they’re shutting music off at 10:30 p.m.,” said Peter Rowan, an artist manager and promotor based in the city.

As the city’s Uptown core undergoes a resurgence with tenants taking up residence in newly developed properties, some of the businesses that promote and support live music and entertainment now face ongoing complaints related to the sound their businesses generate.

Taco Pica is one of those businesses. The Guatemalan restaurant has a long standing history of supporting live music with owner Santos Ruyan welcoming local and touring acts to his Germain Street restaurant on a regular basis.

With business owners and promotors now facing hefty fines, Rowan, together with other members of the local music community, are hoping to raise funds to purchase soundproofing materials to help curb the complaints.  But in order to do so, they need to make a little noise.

The concert event Curtain for Santos! A Fundraiser for Taco Pica! will take place November 24 at Taco Pica’s 96 Germain Street location.

“I think there’s easy practical solutions to it that will really mitigate it and I want to help Santos because he helps everyone else so much and is such a big part of the community,” said Rowan. “But also to a certain extent, I’m hoping to generate some awareness because we need to have this conversation in Saint John.”

According to Rowan, the city needs to clearly define its noise bylaw as a way to support both sides of the ongoing argument.

“The way the bylaw is written in Saint John, it’s so vague,” he said. “If someone is feeling disturbed they can call in a noise complaint. ‘Disturbed’. That’s very vague.

“Part of this event is to show we’re not trying to be assholes here,” said Rowan. “We’re not trying to cause a problem.  We’re trying to do what we do and have been doing from some period of time. We recognize that the area is changing and that there’s new people moving in, but we need to find how we can work together to make this work. You have to be fair to everybody.  You have to be as fair to the punk band playing at the Guatemalan restaurant as to someone who is participating on the boardwalk.  We are prepared to do our part.”

The event will feature performances by several Saint John acts and will be all-ages. Admission is a suggested $10 donation.

Curtain for Santos! A Fundraiser for Taco Pica! | Friday November 24 | Taco Pica | 8 p.m. | View Event

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