Everybody loves Blues Brothers tribute act - but officials decide they're too loud
A popular Bath band known for their lively, high tempo numbers had the plug pulled on them by the organisers of the city's Christmas Market last night – because they were too loud.
The Bath Blues Brothers had been booked by Bath Tourism Plus to entertain shoppers at the annual market but, just 20 minutes into their set, were told the gig was too noisy to continue.
Around 200 people had gathered to see them play outside the abbey, with the two-hour gig scheduled to go on until 9pm.
Fans of the band had come from as far afield as Weston-super-Mare to see them play.
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Mark Sellick from the Bath Blues Bothers said the intervention of BTP's chief executive Nick Brooks-Sykes - who stepped in to ask them to stop - left the 13-piece tribute band 'gutted'.
He said: "Last night was a bit of a nightmare. We were booked to play at the Christmas Market back in May which was absolutely brilliant for us and was like busking on a big scale for everyone coming to the market.
“We normally charge around £800-£1,200 to play but agreed to do it for expenses because we thought it would raise our profile and we knew we could pass the hat round afterwards and hopefully get some money in to cover our costs.
“We had to get a drummer in especially for the gig and pay someone to do lighting and we turned down a £2,000 gig in Poole.
“I think we were five or six songs into our set when we were told it was too loud.
“We said we could appreciate that but surely they knew what you were getting when we were booked.
“We said ‘Can we play one more song and try and adjust the levels?’ but it was still too loud.
“There was a crowd of 200 people there and we had only just started – we are absolutely gutted.”
The band - which bills themselves as the best tribute act of their kind in the south west - explained the gig had been cut short on Twitter, where there was an angry backlash from people who had been watching.
Mr Brooks-Sykes said he’d had to make the decision to cut short the band’s performance because he didn’t want to jeopardise the relationship the Christmas Market enjoyed with local residents and businesses.
He said: “The Christmas Market has a massive impact on the city and the last thing we want to do is garner opposition to the market because of one live band.
“I think it is unfortunate - we pick so many acts to support the Christmas Market and we should have realised that with the stone surroundings the level would be amplified to a level we could not control.
“We work throughout the year with residents’ groups, the police, ward councillors and local businesses and we didn’t want to give people any opportunity to oppose the Christmas Market.”
The chair of The Abbey Residents’ Association Ian Perkins said he was not aware of any specific complaints about the music, but that his organisation had a strong relationship with BTP to minimise the impact of the market on people living in the city.
He said: “We discuss any potential problems and try to make sure they are headed off at the pass.
“Clearly noise is an issue for residents, we live in the city centre so we don’t expect it to be a cloister but it is nice that people running events like this do think a little bit about the impact they have.”
Earlier the market's Twitter account had said: "Dust off your trilby and wrap up warm for an evening of the Bath Blues Brothers at Bath Christmas Market tomorrow night from 7pm!"
One of those watching, Nicola Liu, responded: "So @BathXmasMarket, we did dust off our trilbys for a evening of @bathbluesbros at Bath Christmas Market and the council stopped them playing."
B&NES Council said the decision to call short the gig had nothing to do with it today.