The end of an era
It’s been our home and our heart for 15 years, but today we had to say goodbye to Thistle Hall – our headquarters at the top of Cuba Street in Wellington (the Coolest Little Capital in the world).
We’ve had a thousand and one band practices at Thistle Hall, got dressed up for many a Sevens gig, prepared for CubaDupa and Cuba Street Carnival there, said farewell to our dear friend Sanny there, stored all our gear, held get-togethers and parties, meetings and AGMs, learned together and played together and shared our love of music together, laughed and cried and drummed and danced there.
We don’t know where we’re going to end up – our needs are somewhat specialised – we need space to rehearse, a wooden floor to dance on, storage space for our drums, disabled access, some kind of cooling system (drumming is hot work!), not too expensive (we’re a self-sustaining voluntary community group), heaps of parking space, loos and water, inner city if possible – and of course, somewhere where we can drum for 2 hours on a Sunday afternoon and make a reasonable amount of noise without annoying the neighbours.
Our short-term temporary home until we find somewhere more suitable will be Community Music Junction, Level 1, 4 Hopper Street. As it’s carpeted our dancers can’t dance there without risk of injury, so we hope we’ll be able to find somewhere else really soon. We really don’t want to be separated from our beautiful dancers any longer than is absolutely necessary.
If you know of anywhere that might be suitable, or have any ideas, please contact us at email@example.com or call Lisa on 021 112 1619.
The Dominion Post showed up for our farewell party and final band practice and wrote a very nice article – you can read it here (there’s video, too):
A Brazilian drum band that regularly plays at street parties and the Wellington Sevens has been ejected from its rehearsal rooms for being too noisy.
Wellington Batucada have rehearsed at Thistle Hall in upper Cuba St for 15 years, but noise complaints from a couple living in a neighbouring apartment have forced Wellington City Council to permanently eject them.
Sunday afternoon was the percussion band’s swansong in the historic council-owned building that has housed their weekly practices since 2001. Their ejection has prompted concerns about growing clashes between the capital’s arts scene and its inner-city residents.
“One of the things that makes Wellington great is its community, arts and music, and Cuba St is where this all happens,” Batucada member Alison Green said on Sunday…
Deirdre Mussen, Dominion Post, 1 May 2016
…and here’s a wee video I took of the last few minutes of band practice today:
Thistle Hall – we love you, and we’re really gonna miss you. Thanks for all the good times and the great memories.
PS More stuff (02/05/16 update)
So – this sad story of ours has been gaining quite a bit of traction in the media and on social media over the last day or so.
The Stuff story went up on Sunday afternoon (awesomely speedy work, Deirdre Mussen!). On Monday morning, we made the front page of the Dom Post. Nice!
On Monday afternoon Alan was interviewed on Radio NZ: Wgtn community band kicked out of inner city practice space
Take a look at the comments on the Stuff story too – overwhelmingly in our favour, which is great to see. Here are a couple of examples:
There should be different noise control limits in the CBD. They should favour the many over the few. Cities are and should be noisy. That’s part of the appeal. There are quiet suburbs all over Wellington, Hutt and Porirua where you can have tight noise control policies and people can fairly expect quiet. The Wellington CDB is not a place that you should be able to compain about a loud band. Especially on a Sunday afternoon. Even at 2am I would have thought city noise would be expected. Please change the rules.
Once a week, that is like complaining about the speedway…. I think it is disappointing how longstanding participants can be kicked to the curb by “I didn’t know and I don’t like it”…
you buy an apartment in the city central and complain when their is noise?
especially above Thistle hall for gods sake. Numpties. Batucada are a fantastic asset to the Wellington cultural scene so I hope they can be welcomed somewhere and continue!
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that if you choose to buy next to a community hall, there will be noise occasionally. But this is a typical selfish attitude – their desire for silence is more important than the enjoyment of hundreds (thousands?) of others who benefit from this band.
If the noise is that offensive, the couple in the apartment could always go for a walk every Sunday afternoon and enjoy the different sights that Wellington has to offer. I’m assuming that the band practices at the same time every week?