Silent night for bar goers in Spain

LAST UPDATED: 4 Sep, 2011 @ 09:13
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Silent night for bar goers in Spain

By Paul O’Connell

A GROUP representing more than 70 Costa-based bar owners has hit out at the licensing authorities over what it describes as ‘draconian measures’ employed when dealing with noise levels.

The Keep Music Live campaigners, from Mijas, claim the police are using ‘overt and questionable methods’ to enforce the law, with some alleging discrimination.

They claim that they are often visited by police regarding noise levels, while Spanish bars offering live music are left alone.

The publicans joined forces last week at Manana’s Bar in Fuengirola to put their concerns to Councillor Rodrigo Morales, following a spate of recent closures.

In one case, authorities allegedly closed an Irish bar – stating that no amplified entertainment should be played in bars in that part of town – while 17 other bars in the immediate vicinity continued to play music without any problems.

Group spokesman Laurence Pike told the Olive Press: “We were delighted at the turnout on Tuesday and I believe that all business owners are fully supportive of the formation of a non-political association to assist them in achieving a more level playing field.”

11 COMMENTS

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  1. A cheap device was invented over fifty years ago. It is called a “limiter”. It measures the sound level in the bar and limits the music output. It can be installed using a decibel meter outside so assure accepable noise outside. Then, whether it is the music that is too loud, or the people inside being too noisy, the box just lowers the volume automatically. A.d as it is an old invention, it is available very cheaply. The settings could even be sealed by a townhall official. You can buy one to ensure you disturb nobody. But it is not considered in the law. The law is stupid. There are very cheap solutions available to solve this problem of music in bars. Just enforce the use of limiters and give a music licence to all who have one. And equip the police with decibel meters. Or let them download one on a smart phone. There are noise standards, including on what is acceptable in the night. But the police do not know. So they ask for a licence which they already know you cannot possibly have, then spot a small speaker box, then fine you because la ley is la ley. Closing a bar, provided they did not keep the whole street awake every night…, is ridiculous. There are very simpke and cheap solutions to keep noise acceptable.

  2. The police seem to be persecuting the british bar owners in particular. I think the police and the mayoress should remember who pay their wages. The tax payers and the tourists who no longer see the point in coming to the Costa Del Sol on holiday because there is nothing to do. Stupid blinkered people. The place is fast becoming like a ghost town. R.I.P CDS.

  3. Following on from the meeting last week Keep Music Live has established the ‘Fuengirola Bar Owners Association’…..for more information on how to join (you don’t have to own a bar in Fuengirola)log onto Moo Moo’s Bar on Facebook

  4. Hey, the problem is clear. The walzing mathilda singers inside. And the oh mandy group. Shouting louder, louder, louder. The next night they have to catch an early flight and complain about the noise. It is not easy to keep the balance, especially in august, when you just can not sleep unless all the eindows are open. Bar owners have a responsability as well in that. Keep it nice… Noise. In summer I hardly go to Fuengirola, not because of the music, but because of all the kids on mopeds. Sceaming noise. But apparently legal. Yesterday I was on a terrace of a friend who had licence problems for live music. A man shows up in the street with a trumpet, playing besame mucho. Just a bit and then he asks for money. My friend cancelled the live singer he normally had. Then the place was still nice. And I say **** off to the man with the trumpet. Besa mi culo. Speaking of culo, the bottom line is to keep things acceptable. That is all it takes. Police should respect those that do just that. At the moment I could just wipe my behind with the law that they say la ley es la ley. After I haf a paella in that restaurant that does not care much about food quality. The law here is stupid. So is the policeman who I still try to respect. But when they come to close a place down… Then all in Andalucia could still go back to picking olives. Who needs us? Fact is we were never invited. And they were used to eating grass or cook a cat pretending it was a rabbit. They might even be more happy with that. Fair enough.

  5. Following the closures of several establishments over the weekend, and bars fined for minor infringements too petty to mention – I can only hope the dutiful culo besoing cops – and the mayoress of Fuengirola will be happy when their town is deserted and there’s mass unemployment. It’s not only the english who will suffer, but the spanish are too ignorant to realize that. The knock on effect for the local economy will be devastating. But it will take a few spaniards to suffer the consequences of the draconian actions of the zero i.q. mayoress to realize what they are doing. Red Cross for food parcels anyone? because this winter that place will be swamped. You better wake up Spain, you are doomed. Like greece.

  6. A few bars in Fuengirola will not make the economy. Don’t forget Spain has a bigger economy than that. Also do not forget the police can not close a bar just like that. They simply can not. But they can intimidate and when you buy that, not knowing the law, they can go home early. The problem with the law is that it does not leave room to be reasonable. It is like you have a jew in the house, somebody reports you, he gets sent to the camp and so are you. And then nobody cares how many you employed. It is really up to the mayors and mayoresses to find a balance. Summer is where the money comes in. When many want to party but others want to sleep with all the windows open. The problem with the law is that police do not tell you hey, do it like this, like that, give the oh mandy singers the bill, keep it down a bit. No, they say you crossed the line and sling an axe in your back. And that is it. For a Spanish bar as well. It does not lead to a very workable situation. So the karaoke microphone is hereby passed to the mayors and mayoresses. Angeles Munoz, who I voted for is invited as well. Shove your laws and policemen, and define reasonable. Non of these politicians make any appeal, when the season starts, to do your best but keep it nice. Even policemen sometimes hate to do their job like this. The mayoress is at home at night, does a swim in her pool, thinks about which jobs and contracts she can give to the family and in the mean time all the police have to do is enforce the law and report in the moring. I challenge all mayoresses to state this is not true.

  7. It’s high time that the coast came under the jurisdiction of one town hall with a single major. Think of the money it would save. It’s ridiculous that each town is run independently. I pay absurd house taxes, and yet the street is filthy, almost as bad as Bangkok. I don’t know about Fuengirola getting an award for being clean, it’s the filthiest town on the coast. The streets and pavements are so dirty they have never been washed down in the 15 years I’ve lived here. Where is the money going in EU handouts? Yesterday I saw an entire family with young children scavenging through the garbage bags being thrown out of El Corte Ingles – what a sight for tourists and residents alike. It was a damning indictment of how the other half are living on this coast.

  8. I have to say that since being invloved as a technician AND working musician for the last 20 years on the costa-del-sol i can comment on the situation with a thorough and ACCURATE knowledge of what is happening reagards the closure of SOME “live music bars”.ok, here goes…
    hardly any bars have what is loosely termed a live music license, they are expensive and very time consuming to get and there are many variations of the license, the most sought after being a “salon de fiesta” which enables you tp play live and “piped” music and runa disco until 6.0 am in the morning at 95 decibels, which is set by the technician at the time of the sound check/test. guess what? the techician MUST be the one recommended by the town hall and normally supplies an overly expensive sound limiter, ive seen and heard tales of being charged anywhere between €450.00 and €800.00 for the same unit, which is made in…..you guessed it, Spain! even though better and cheaper units are available all over the world. even then i have been present when the bar owner has “kindly persuaded”the technician to add a few extra Decibles so the limiter doesnt kick in too quickly and compress the “live” sound to an un-workable level.
    That´s a very small insight into the murky world of limiters from me, a working tech and musician, but back to the police enforcing the law…
    the town halls are broke, the police are towing cars and handing out fines with much less discretion than ever and so the case is the same with the music. they get a call ( or not)! about noise and go to investgate, they check the usual papers, opening license, music license (or rather lack of it) issue a warning or a fine, report it to the town hall and go, unless….they get another call the same night and the they usually go back and shut the place! remember years ago the police used to just tell you to turn it down, not now, they have a different attitude altogether. due to the crisis some town halls are looking the other way and letting bars with no license carry on as long as no complaints are recieved, some bars however still let people leave the doors open or carry on after 12.00 so shouldnt be suprised when the cops come! off course ALL nationalities call the police to complain about noisy bars, some have a grudge, some are simply jealous of the bars success, BUT crucially, if the bar has the correct paperwork the most they can do is issue a denucia which your lawyer can suppress the next day.
    i hope that this information i have supplied will be read in the context i have meant it to be, that it will be of help to the bar owners facing trouble from the town hall and police.

  9. Once there was a nice restaurant in the suburbs of marbella. Everybody famous was there, including Michelle Obama. Next door was a veey exclusive night club. With a very old garden. I live about 1 km away, every I could hear the same Tom Jones and Barry White music being played. Never realy bothered me. But people living closer complained. So the whole old garden was demolished. A new building was built. With double windows. It became a club with water pipes. The old wall paintings were just painted over. It became a club for kids with a 500 note from daddy and for girls from Estepona. Sorry, from Estonia. And still I hear the music 1 km away. No problem, I can sleep very well. But then, it became a gathering place in the street. Even when the club is closed. I hear the kids shouting and drinking in the street. Have to take another road to get home because I ran into a police checkpoint where there never would be police before. No problem, but I rather drive home right away. And with all the drinking kids on the street, it is better to take another road at night, you never know if one drunk and on pills runs over and I had two beers to many as well. The Golden Mile. First these kids were in Banus. Now they sit on the street with their supermarket bottles on my way home. The noise is more than before. I wonder what all the direct neighbours think. But nothing happens. Then, if you have a e.g. simple pizza hut and you put the radio on, the police comes and with the little, if any, profit you make, suck the last bit of motivation out of you to keep going. No discussion. Law is law. No licence, big multa. But in the heart of the once golden mile, kids drink and shout in the streets. For the whole summer now. Very funky. Just wondering if anyone runs this town. And what the plan is for the future.

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