Hairy Dog in wrestling event license row

Derby City Council is investigating the Hairy Dog for allegedly running a wrestling event without the correct licence in place. The city centre music venue says it is part of a long-running licensing battle with the council and that they are licensed for indoor sporting events.

The wrestling event was held on 6 October and due to the size of the ring reduced the capacity of the venue from 400 to 200, but the council say a licence was refused because of potential for causing congestion in the area.

General manager of the Hairy Dog Paul Keenan told the Derby Telegraph, “We have a licence which covers all live music events as well as indoor sports events.

“For some reason the council decided this excluded boxing and wrestling so we had to apply for a temporary event notice instead. This was refused because they said it would cause too much congestion in the city centre on a Friday night.

“That is an absolutely ludicrous decision to refuse the licence. We usually have a capacity of 400 people but because of the ring in the centre of the venue the maximum number we could fit in was 200.

“So we had half the usual amount of people and they still refused the licence. I went out that night and the city centre was dead.”

Keenan says the council plan to prosecute him over the issue but he plans to fight them in court.

The venue recently ran a crowdfunder in order to raise money toward building improvements and has already made changes to the smaller room upstairs in the building, which is now Black Rebel Coffee Shop. Recent sell-out shows include Cock Sparrer and the large-capacity room has also been used as part of the city’s 2Q Festival.

Re-opened in 2016 to increase capacity with the addition of a large stage the venue has consistently championed underground, emerging and alternative music as well as bringing bigger touring acts to the city. As well as the event licence issue the council’s environmental protection unit say they have received three noise complaints this year.

Noise complaints against music venues are nothing new but in recent years developers and new residents have put under threat, or contributed to the closure, of small independent music venues around the UK. Keenan puts this down to a newer block of flats on nearby Bramble Street but says the onus should be on developers to make sure new builds are adequately soundproofed for the area they are built in, including where music venues and other night-time businesses already exist, while the council says they take all complaints seriously and notify the business owner when they are received. Two complaints made against the venue have already been closed while the third remains ongoing.

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