An Exeter night-spot is planning to combat noise complaints – by making itself a permanent silent disco venue.
The Arcade Exeter has been forced to close its club section after neighbours complained, which has led to staff losing their jobs.
Now, the venue hopes to reopen the upper floor of the building by turning it into what could be the UK’s only silent nightclub.
Owner Damian Sluman started a Kickstarter pledge to raise money to buy the necessary equipment to turn the club into a silent venue, including 30 sets of silent disco headphones.
Noise complaints began around six months ago, and Damian told Devon Live about the unique plans.
“So we thought we don’t we try to make this into a silent venue? There can’t be any noise complaints as there won’t be any noise!”
The building, located on Fore Street, which has had several previous owners, has always been an Exeter city centre night-spot, and Damian said the noise problem is an issue that should have been dealt with years ago.
He said: “The last 10 or 20 years there has been a club upstairs. Okay people have not necessarily utilised it as well as we have, but it’s always been there.
“There’s been a pub on this location for 200 years, so it’s not like it was a new thing. The council said there has always been problems with this place, but it wasn’t until we came that the complaints happened.
“So it’s a case of close or spend silly money on a problem that should have been dealt with 10 years ago.”
Should The Arcade go ahead with the plans, it would be a unique addition to the venue, which could be the only place in the country that permanently hosts silent disco events.
Damian added: “It’s a bit of a sad story really but we’re going to make the most of it. So we started the kickstater, so we can rise from the ashes and make something unique to Exeter.
“We don’t think there’s any venues in the UK that do this on a permanent basis and try and make something truly unique.
“We had to find new activities to keep the pub running. Sadly in that process we had to let staff go as we couldn’t have those nights. We put a dart board up and sorted the pool table. We were able to do karaoke nights pretty successfully.”
The kickstarter has already reached more than £400 of it’s £700 target, with the campaign ending this weekend.
Anyone that donates to the cause will be given a gift as a thanks you, from a pint glass to a free night of silent karaoke.
Damian has already planned what events to have, including bringing live music back to The Arcade.
He said: “We spent a few months researching silent discos and what we could do with it, like getting an electronic drum kit, and getting live bands in without the huge quantity of noise, which was causing the issue in the first place.
“The £700 is the foot on the ladder which would be used to get the headsets and all the equipment we would need.
“From there we would run a few nights and grow it into what would be quite a unique thing for Exeter.”
“The gifts are a thank you we can give to people, so various donations such as a pint glass, a hoodie, and the chance for you and 30 friends to have free hire of the upstairs for a staff Christmas party or a gathering of mates, birthday parties etc.
“A huge thank you to those who have already pledged or those who will between now and the closure of the pledge and huge, huge support for a small independent business to get the backing for a project like this and hope it will take us from strength to strength.”
More details about the kickstarter campaign can be found here.