Fans of renowned soul artist Lauryn Hill who paid more than $100 to see her play in Fremantle have branded WA a nanny state after organisers cut microphone power mid-performance because of a 10pm curfew.
The decision to mute Hill's performance at the Fremantle Arts Centre meant several songs could not be heard by the audience, including an onstage birthday tribute for the multi-Grammy-winning singer-songwriter.
Organisers said Hill, famous for being a member of the Fugees and for her celebrated solo album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, was aware of the curfew but started her performance an hour after the agreed time.
Hill continued to sing without the microphone and the crowd sang happy birthday to her after she was presented with a cake onstage.
Arts centre director Jim Cathcart said the decision to cut power was taken by the centre in agreement with Hill's promoters because the venue had a responsibility to its neighbours.
"The artist chose to arrive on stage just after 8.30pm, an hour after the agreed start time," he said.
"The event's promoters made the artist aware of the curfew requirements and unfortunately Ms Hill chose not to arrive on stage or finish at the agreed time.
"FAC has hosted many concerts over the past six years and this is the first time the artist has ignored the curfew. Despite this, we hope audiences enjoyed Ms Hill's hour-and-a-half show.
"Fremantle Arts Centre regrets these circumstances but we are an outdoor venue in a residential area and as such we have a responsibility to our neighbours, with whom we have built a strong relationship over many years."
Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt said the situation was "unfortunate" but it was important for the community to have faith a venue would stick to its obligations.
Disappointed fans vented their anger on social media, branding it "another example of nanny state" and "absolutely disgraceful".
"If a 10pm curfew is the only way you can get the approval to host . . . do us a favour and don't put your hand up to accommodate international talents like ms lauryn hill," one wrote.
Others asked for a refund.
Promoter Horizons Touring could not be contacted yesterday but the group confirmed on its Facebook page that Hill had been aware of the legal curfew requirement.
"As frustrating as it is, FAC has a set sound curfew and has no choice but to cut sound at 10pm," it said.