Concert promoter promises less noise impact

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WESTBROOK — The concert promoter behind the shows at Rock Row promised residents Monday they would be “pleasantly surprised” with the noise impact of the next concert at the Maine Saving Pavilion.

More than 50 residents met with Waterfront Concerts and Rock Row officials at the Westbrook Community Center to discuss noise control before the second show at the pavilion this Saturday. During the first concert, May 26, around 200 noise complaints were made to Portland Police, Westbrook Police and to Rock Row’s compliance officer.

“I am livid,” Jennifer Silverman, who lives on Colonial Road in Cumberland Mills, said at the meeting. “I heard the concert all through my house, it was loudest between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m.”

Complaint calls came in from a number of neighborhoods, including Prides Corner and the Back Cove area in Portland. 

Jon Dow, general manager for Waterfront Concerts, said mitigation steps have been taken and with time the noise impact will improve.

“We had sound monitors throughout neighborhoods to get these data points,” Dow said. “I think you all will be pleasantly surprised this weekend with how much quieter it will be.”

Reggae-rock artists Slightly Stoopid, Matisyahu and Tribal Seeds are scheduled to perform at 7 p.m. Saturday at the pavilion.

Possible fixes include repositioning the amps, he said, as well as getting to know the atmospheric conditions that carry sound and adjusting accordingly.

“There will be bass, which we can’t stop, but that is a side effect of living in a growing community as well,” Dow said.

Some residents, even on the same road as neighbors who complained, said they didn’t hear any concert noise.

“We live on Colonial Road, right next to (Silverman),” Rick Todd said. “We didn’t hear anything.”

To measure the sound impact from the concert outside of the venue, monitors were installed. Sites include Colonial and Bridgton roads, the Westbrook Housing Authority and Westbrook City Hall, and in Portland on Glen Haven Road. 

The Westbrook Planning Board, in approving Maine Savings Pavilion concerts, said noise levels could not exceed 55 decibels outside of the venue, and officials say the May 26 concert did not go over that limit. 

“Throughout the concert, we were in compliance with the code,” said Rock Row public liaison Lynda Adams, a former City Councilor who resigned from her post to take the liaison job.

The board also set time restrictions for shows for 10 p.m. on weekdays and 11 p.m. on weekends.

“The concert got to its loudest later in the night,” Silverman said.

According to many of the residents, the noise on Memorial Day weekend continued until 11 p.m.

That show, featuring artists Thundercat, Anderson .Paak and Earl Sweatshirt, was able to end at 11 p.m. because of the holiday weekend, Dow said.

In order to collect more data on how to mitigate noise, Rock Row is planning to keep up their sound monitoring, but are also introducing mobile sound monitors.

They also hired more noise compliance officers to log the complaints, and improved their call line so their voicemail has greater capacity.

“The idea is that if we receive a lot of calls from a neighborhood we did not expect, we can send out the monitors,” Adams said.

The monitors assure compliance with city code, but also mean for more comprehensive data to allow easy noise mitigation in the future.

Further, once Rock Row develops with buildings, noise will carry less, according to project partner Mark Guzzetta.

Around this time next year, Rock Row expects to be finished constructing the first phase of the plan, which includes a Market Basket and Starbucks.

Buildings can act like noise barriers, Guzzetta added.

“I am happy to hear about the monitoring,” resident Wayne Cronin said.

The next neighborhood meeting will be held at 6 p.m. July 8 at the Westbrook Community Center.

“Our hope is to keep working with the community until these meetings are unattended,” Dow said.

Chance Viles can be reached at 780-9092 or [email protected]. Follow Chance on Twitter: @chanceviles.

Westbrook resident Ken Capron asks a question about the noise level of concerts at Maine Savings Pavilion at a packed neighborhood meeting Monday night.

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