Exactly two months after closing its doors owing to neighborhood noise complaints, Grove-area music venue the Demo (4191 Manchester Avenue) has made significant progress toward reopening. At a hearing with the excise commissioner last Tuesday, the venue's managing partners reached a compromise with the residential neighbors who initially filed the complaint, resulting in the revocation of the protest as well as the subsequent approval of the business' liquor license.
"We now have a few more steps to take with the state, and we will be open," says Cavanagh, who anticipates a soft opening on or around Labor Day weekend, with a grand opening in the works for a weekend in September. The Demo also successfully completed an Indiegogo campaign last Friday, exceeding its $10,000 goal.
Since we last touched base with the managing partners of the club for an in-depth report of the situation in late July, Cavanagh says progress on soundproofing the room as well as the quality of communication has greatly improved. The staff even brought in a band to test the levels with the neighbors onsite.
"Before the soundproofing, I couldn't even hear a movie in my living room," says Rachel Siegert, who initiated the protest against the Demo. "Now, the noise is much, much better. It is definitely still audible but has greatly improved. I feel confident that by finishing the remaining 20 percent of the soundproofing, we can reach an acceptable level."
With mediation between both parties from excise commissioner Bob Kraiberg, the Demo was allowed to proceed with its liquor license as long as specific conditions are met. Within 45 days of the Demo receiving its liquor license, managing partners must complete the remaining soundproofing in the building. During this period all weeknight shows must end by 11 p.m.
After soundproofing is complete, the venue will initiate another sound check to verify that levels are acceptable. Following this, the Demo has agreed to permanently end all weeknight shows -- excepting four events out of the month to account for late starts --- at 11:30 p.m.
"This was really about compromise. It wasn't a situation about the residents 'winning' and the Demo 'losing' or vice versa," says Siegert. "But more about us both giving a little to move things forward.... We've communicated much more over the past couple of weeks than ever before, and we want to help each other out."
"My only concern would be if the channel of communication was lost again," says Cavanagh. "I think as long as we maintain an open channel, we can make progress.... I think we're all optimistic that the little bit there's left to do is going to make a big difference. If not, we'll figure out what's next."
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