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Hi-Fi Brisbane Unprofessional Complaint Management

Patron concerns regarding safety and security have been labeled "inaccurate" and "irrelevant" by Brisbane live music venue The Hi-Fi. Retweeted at least five times was the link which exposed the relatively new venue in Brisbane as one which does not take seriously the views of its patrons, let alone one which responds to such matters in a responsible and attentive manner.

Long-time live music scene patron Kathleen was so appalled by standards of health and safety at The Hi-Fi that she took to writing to them. She commented on unnecessary queues in cold weather, broken glass, ill-placed bathrooms in the venue, poor band management and more importantly, extremely poor security.

I saw people waiting outside in a queue for 20 minutes and they had tickets. The queue wasn’t even that long, they were just being made to wait. The first band were already playing. The door staff would let people in in a trickle, or not let people in at all.

It's winter. Queing for a show already paid for which is already starting... not a great start to the night, no.

I queued and got inside and headed for the toilets, which were to my dismay, up a flight of stairs down a deserted corridor. I don’t mind that the toilets are up a flight of stairs, but they are well away from the main room and I believe this puts your patrons at risk of assault or rape. I think you urgently need to address this by having security patrol upstairs regularly.

Issues are getting serious now; when your patrons believe that they are not safe in your venue, you are doing something wrong. Very wrong.

I was shocked that you were serving drinks in glass, especially with the recent “spate” of glassings. I was standing in the middle of the steps on the dancefloor for both sets and by the time the Dreamkillers had finished playing, there was broken glass all over the floor. The broken glass on the floor only increased while The Fireballs played. I saw punters deliberately throwing glasses on to the floor and into the crowd. I was truly horrified.

I saw the crowd break up fights and scuffles but security never intervened. Security was also nowhere to be found when punters were smashing and throwing glass. Security were nowhere to be found when a young man had a fit on the dance floor, I saw his mates carry him out. I noted one security guard on the barrier but he stayed in the one spot the entire time and didn’t move or interact with the crowd.

Like I said before; very, very wrong. And my favourite summary sentence from Kathleen:

I have never been to a venue with such weak and obviously incompetent and overwhelmed security.

This was the abysmal reply which Kathleen received from Scott Ahpee, a month later and after a second e-mail:

As the General Manager of Operations, I read through your email immediately on receipt, and clarified all matters with our venue staff.  Replying to your email was (until today) on my ‘to-do’ list, but a detailed response on every matter would require time I’ve yet to have spare.  However, since you clearly require a response immediately, I write this now.  On discussion with venue staff, management, security and production crew, as well as discussions with the tour manager of the Fireballs, I found most of your complaints to be inaccurate, and others to be irrelevant.  If you do not wish to return to the Hi-Fi, that is your choice.

Time yet to spare? Perhaps Mr Ahpee should be allocating time to deal with public complaints about his venue before a significant amount of patronage is lost? Your venue has been complained about in the retrospect of health and safety concerns, which I deem to be quite damn important. There are reports of glassings and injury as a result of lack of security and you claim them to be "inacurate"? Also, if he had so little time to write an e-mail, I question if Mr Ahpee even had such discussions with the above mentioned parties. Might want to check that 'to-do' list again.

Meanwhile, the Hi-Fi bar is looking to utilise my favourite social media network, Twitter. How on earth will they be able to manage a constant stream of customer comments of 140 characters if they take a month or so to reply [even if indecently] to a formal complaint?

Cloudland Liquor Licence Investigation

Cloudland, Brisbane

Brisbane's biggest and hottest new nightclub, Cloudland, is being investigated for breach of liquor licencing laws after apparently opening more than a week before being granted full capabilities to sell alcohol.

March 18, the Brisbane Lions AFL season launch was held at the $10 million-plus venue, yet the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing did not give Cloudland a full liquor licence until just last Tuesday, only a day before the official opening of the club. Cloudland did reportedly have permission in some parts of the venue, having permission under the owners' (the Bickle family) existing licence, but did now yet have full service allowances.

Cloudland is owned by the Bickle family, also owners of the Empire Hotel and numerous other Brisbane glamour-spots, and the opening of the venue was reportedly twenty months behind schedule.

The only comment from Cloudland on the matter is that "the Lions event was a private function, invite only and not open to the public" and the Brisbane Lions has refused to comment to media. 

Breaches of liquour licencing means a fine of $2500 for each offence.