AROUND 100 island bar owners and entertainers are expected to stage a silent protest today after being forced to install new €3,000 sound limiters.
It comes after Calvia Council imposed draconian new rules, in effect from May 1, in a bid to ‘reduce noise pollution’.
But British and Spanish business owners say the new laws are ‘killing’ the party hotspot and are ‘prejudicing’ live music and karaoke venues.
The new limit is – incredibly – the level of an air conditioning unit at 100 feet and less than a vacuum cleaner.
“This could put us out of business, it’s unreal,” Fennigan’s bar owner Mick Cormican, 55, told the Olive Press.
“A car going by is louder than the limit, it’s particularly prejudicial to live music and karaoke bars as they simply cannot perform within the sound limit.”
A collective of 20 business owners and entertainers yesterday marched down to Calvia town hall to petition the mayor, where they were met by Guardia Civil, police and a TV crew.
They plan to return at 3.30pm today (Thursday), when the councillors discuss the new limiters, in the hope they can change their minds.
If unsuccessful, all venues around Calvia will be ordered to install the limiters through the same engineering company by May 1.
Once installed, the device automatically turns down music if it goes over 62 decibels, described as ‘restaurant conversation or background music’ by industrialnoisecontrol.com.
Those going over the limit will face hefty fines, with some allegedly already being fined €6,000.
“I already have a limiter that works fine and I have never had a complaint,” said owner of Stepps, Dave Woodward, 59.
Meanwhile, British singer Steffi Lorena, 25, claims the limits are affecting the livelihoods of performers. “It’s impossible to sing within the new limits,” the owner of Santa Ponsa’s Retro bar told the Olive Press.
“We opened in February and I was forced to fork out €3,000 on a new limiter and if we have a loud crowd or they start clapping the music goes down and you have to strain to be heard.
“It’s got to a point where it is actually damaging performers, it’s not worth it.”
Some local singers have developed nodules, making them unable to perform.
“It’s affecting our work and health,” she added, “It could prevent us singing.”
During a meeting of 100 business owners and performers, attended by the Olive Press, the group blasted the council for ‘giving in’ to tourists who come to the party areas for a quiet holiday.
“The council are protecting the wrong people,” one exclaimed, “They are protecting two Brits who come for a quiet holiday and complain about the noise, it’s a disgrace!”
One bar owner, on the island for 15 years, claimed the council is being manipulated by hotels and clubs who want to drive business away from the bars.
“The new rules are twisting the spirit of EU rules, and instead of helping us, they are punishing us,” he said.
“We will be forced to keep noise levels lower than in the industrial areas… the rules are impossible to comply with and we fear police are likely to fine anyone who fights back!”
He alleged that clubs sell tickets from stands without the correct licenses but that the authorities look the other way.
“The council knows that the sale stands from the clubs break the rules as they use secondary licenses known as ‘Licencia complementaria’ when the primary license operating the business is closed,” he added.