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Don't fiddle the bone: Performers and fans get in tune to save music venue.

Byline: Sophie Blakemore

The owners of the Fiddle and Bone pub have launched a campaign to save it from closure after it was stripped of its public entertainments licence.

Performers and fans of the Sheepcote Street venue have shown their support for the venue since it was revealed that the city council had refused to renew its licence. The decision came after residents in the nearby King Edward's Wharf apartments complained of high noise levels on several occasions.

Following complaints the pub was issued with a noise abatement notice last year. But at a review earlier this week the city council's licensing committee withheld the licence, which allows bands with more than two members to perform at the popular nightspot, because of alleged breaches of the noise abatement notice.

The venue's proprietors have vowed to appeal and have launched a campaign while they wait to discover the date of the hearing. The pub has received hundreds of phone calls and messages of support from fans.

Some residents of King Edward's Wharf have also expressed their concern that the pub may have to close.

One, who declined to be named, said: 'There has been noise nuisance caused by the pub but none of the residents who complained want the venue to close.

'It is a shame it has come to this as it is part of the city's culture. It's a two-way thing but there needs to be something done about the noise.'

Steve Layton, a musician and organiser of events for the Fiddle and Bone, said they were organising a rally in Victoria Square to canvass support.

A date has not been firmly set for the rally but the committee set up to promote the campaign hopes to stage it a week tomorrow.

Mr Layton said: 'We have spoken to the police and they said we can hold a rally in Victoria Square whenever we like. We will be booking bands to play at the event and collecting signatures on a petition. We want to get as much support as possible because we don't want to see the Fiddle close and Birmingham lose such a great venue.' The owners have printed posters for the campaign and will be producing T-shirts featuring the 'Don't Fiddle with the Bone' logo. Fitters start work in the pub today to secure sound-proofing drapes to the back and sides of the stage - work which was already under way prior to the licence hearing.

The venue is also looking at fitting a noise limiter which monitors sound levels by the use of colour-coded lights to let bands know if their music is too loud and a noise shield for the extractor fans. If the licence is not renewed the pub will only be able to stage performances by solo artists and duos from August 18.

But the owners have said they would rather close than carry on without an entertainment licence.

The council said there had been 16 alleged breaches of noise regulations since the notice was served in September.

Comment and letters, Page 10
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jul 19, 2002
Words:509
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