Town's street pianos are NAILED SHUT by business owners

Town’s street pianos are NAILED SHUT by business owners who say ‘tone deaf’ children are driving away their customers

  • Businesses blasted four ‘come and play’ pianos in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria 
  • They say noise from children slamming the keys is driving away their customers 
  • One of the piano lids now screwed down to stop the public bashing the ivories
  • ‘If they played Beethoven or Mantovani or something nice, that would be ok’ 

Businesses have blasted their town’s four ‘come and play’ pianos and complained that tone deaf children are driving away their customers.

One of the four painted pianos in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, has now had its lid screwed down to stop the public bashing the ivories.

The four pianos were dotted around town by Barrow Business Improvement District (BID) to ‘inspire young people to do something in the arts industry’.

However, traders complained that children saw the instruments as climbing frames or toys and were ‘just jumping up and down on them’ making noise.

(Lweft to right) traders Lynne McKenna, Pete Clark, Margaret White and staff from Mammy’s Café are unhappy with the noise from the pianos

Traders from Barrow market have complained that the recently installed pianos are negatively affecting their businesses

One of the piano lids has now been screwed down in order to stop the public bashing the ivories

Mark Holmes, who runs Harts jewellers in Barrow with his brother David, said: ‘If they were playing Beethoven or Mantovani or something nice, that would be okay.

‘But it’s just kids jumping up and down on them and creating just utter noise. They’re not as bad as carol singers – but they’re on the same line.’

Fruit and veg stallholder Pete Clark, who sits across from one of the pianos, said: ‘I thought it was a really good idea. However, no one knows how to play them! You just get children banging them and making all sorts of noise. It’s a bit silly now.’

Amanda Cubin, of One Stop Gift Shop, stated: ‘People aren’t coming to the market because of them. I can’t concentrate on what I’m doing. It’s just driving me insane.’

Lynne McKenna, of Lynne’s Menswear, added: ‘When I’m reckoning up, it’s so distracting. It’s just loud and you get kids banging on it all day.’

Traders also raised health concerns over the pianos. They say they are mainly played by children and teenagers and are not cleaned between uses. Hand sanitiser has been provided on top of the pianos for anyone wanting to use it.  

The four specially-decorated pianos were placed around Barrow town centre as part of the Barrow Music Initiative, which organisers hoped would become an annual event. 

In September, Barrow BID unveiled pictures of the four instruments on Facebook, saying: ‘Pop-Up Pianos!’ 

Colin Garnett, manager of Barrow BID, confirmed that during October half-term, one of the piano lids was screwed down due to being ‘too noisy’. 

Mr Garnett said: ‘The feedback that we’ve had is that it’s brought people into the area. If you look at other towns and cities that have done it, it’s about attracting people to the area to come and see them.

The pianos, installed by Barrow BID and Barra Culture’s #BarrowMusic initiative on September 30, have been described as ‘good in principle’, but ‘distracting and off-putting’ in practice.

The pianos are being used by the BID as part of a music trail in the run-up to Christmas. Afterwards they will be stored in the hope of using them again in 2022.

‘Every project we do is to enhance the experience for people coming into the town centre. The idea of the pianos was to stimulate music and arts in the town, particularly with younger people.

‘We’ve got problems with youths in the town centre and this is about looking about how we can inspire them to express themselves artistically. Art isn’t just about paint and canvas – in this case we’re using pianos in the hope they could inspire someone to do something within the arts industry.’

The pianos are being used by the BID as part of a music trail in the run-up to Christmas.

Afterwards they will be stored in the hope of using them again in 2022.

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