Live Music Prohibition Update

  • News & Opinion by Carly Sorensen

The ‘noise law’ and its effect on Ibiza’s music scene, especially in the San Jose municipal district, has garnered much press this year. Various live music venues, including Can Xicu, Hotel Bahia and Raco Verd, have either ceased to schedule live music in the face of new legislation and sudden enforcement of country wide decibel limits, or had their equipment impounded and sizeable fines imposed.

65 Decibels

As things stood, the technical limit for music was 65db. That is, that fines can be imposed for levels of noise exceeding 65db at the perimeter of a bar or restaurant before 11pm. After 11pm that limit drops again to 40db.

To put this into perspective, a conversation averages 65db and a vacuum cleaner or hairdryer would exceed this limit at 70db. To expect any instrument or singer, let alone a band, to play within this limit is, frankly, ludicrous.

It was a law that Ibiza councils had previously more or less let slide, but this year they decided to enforce it, and enforce it hard.

Local Ordinances

Two local ordinances were passed by San Jose council.

The first in December 2017 requiring sound limiters to be installed in music venues. This was a huge blow to the live music scene as it is nigh on impossible for a band to play through a limiter.

The second to ban outdoor music was passed in May 2018.

This created a very difficult situation for musicians and venues alike. However, the musicians of the island were not going to simply sit back and let their livelihoods slip away.

Associació de Músics d’Eivissa

As we reported back in May, the “Associació de Músics d’Eivissa” (Association of Musicians of Ibiza) was formed in April of this year, with the objective of campaigning for changes to this incredibly restrictive new legislation.

After unifying over 400 island musicians, the association met and elected a board of representatives headed by resident and drummer Danilo Martinez Boerr as President.

They immediately commenced their arduous task of diplomatically seeking changes to legislation affecting live music, focusing initial efforts on San Jose.

Members and the board worked hard to distribute and collect petitions in favour of live music performances within agreed limits and submitted these to San Jose town hall.

The association also met with politicians in Ibiza and carried out several media interviews to highlight their plight, and discussed solutions to the problems they faced.

With several fines handed out, further seizure of equipment and cessation of live performances in more and more venues across the district, it seemed the Town Hall may have disregarded the thousand plus signatures contained within the 150 petitions submitted by the “Associació de Músics d’Eivissa”.

Meeting With Mayor

However, last week the association were contacted by San Jose Town Hall and invited to a meeting to discuss proposals made in the petitions. On the 12th of September, Martinez-Boerr met with the Mayor of San Jose, Josep Mari Ribas and his deputy, Angel Luis Guerrero.

Shortly after the meeting, the Town Hall issued a statement to the press to say that they had proposed making changes to legislation in order to allow for ‘the organisation of small, regulated concerts which respect the neighbours’ and that these changes would be ‘presented to all political parties to be passed with the greatest possible consensus’.

Full details of the proposed changes were not released to the press, but the “Associació de Músics d’Eivissa” are optimistic and positive. Martinez Boerr told us “We’re really happy with the meeting and we’re looking forward to seeing the results. This new regulation will benefit the local culture, the musicians, as well as the bars that program live music, the bars that could not do it under previous laws, and above all, the neighbours. We would like to thank those who have supported and will continue to support our campaigns in defence of live music.”

As an occasional singer here myself, this news is the best thing I have heard in a while. Huge thanks to the board of the association for their tireless effort on behalf of all of us. Long live live music!