Louder Music, Louder Complaints

 

According to Nielsen Music, over 32 million Americans attended a music festival in 2014. As the popularity in music festivals increases, the demand for outdoor music venues do as well. MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheater was built in Tampa Bay, FL as a way to provide outdoor musical experiences for its residents and tourists.

The venue was designed and approved to have its roof built 89 feet above the stage. However, the roof was actually built 40% higher than its original plan, giving it the garage door effect: the wider the door is opened, the more the sound is amplified to the audience. The higher roof naturally resulted in a higher level of sound.

Although attending concerts held at Tampa’s newest amphitheater was voluntary, neighbors being disturbed by them was not.

Just after a year of operations the venue had already received over 300 noise complaints from residents near by. Individuals reported that even when they closed their windows and doors they could still hear both the music and the crowd. Some residents were so bothered by noises that they would be forced to leave their homes. These complaints resulted in several lawsuits.

MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheater responded by requiring bands to obey a decibel limit and built a wall as an attempt to reduce sound travel.

Since then, noise complaints have significantly decreased and several hundred concerts and events have been held, including music festivals.

However, problems involving noise complaints at concert venues spread throughout both the state of Florida and the country. Amphitheaters in the hearts of Tallahassee, FL and Nashville, TN have raised multiple noise complaints and concerns from surrounding businesses and residents in their cities. Councils of both cities have taken action to create sound regulation policies that are in effect today.

Properly siting and designing outdoor music venues can be a huge challenge regardless of the city codes and regulations one must consider. When problems arise from loud noises in conflict with touchy ordinances, it is best to consult with professionals in the acoustics industry.

 

Fernando Eguez

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