Earlier this year, Rock Row opened a new outdoor venue in Westbook, Maine, which led to complaints from people within the town. Now, as the season nears a close, the promoter has promised to reduce noise levels.
At first, residents were excited about the Maine Savings Pavilion, but after the first concert was held, complaints started rolling in. One resident told the Bangor Daily News that the concert was “incredibly loud” and she could hear “not only the music, but very single word that was being said over the loudspeakers.” The Westbrook Police Department’s Facebook page became flooded with similar concerns. However, the police department redirected residents to the compliance officer in charge of complaints with Rock Row concerts.
Josh Levy, the co-founder of Waterstone Properties, the developer of Row Rock, told CBS 13 that the first concert was a success and that “as far as first shows go, I would call this a home run.” While he acknowledged the noise complaints, he said that the problems would be addressed as the summer went on.
“We have four sound monitors throughout Portland and Westbrook to gather data on the noise levels leaving the stadium,” he said. “We have sound engineers piecing that information together over the next three weeks, including today, to figure out any fine tuning we need to do.”
Throughout the summer, acts like Alice Cooper, Flogging Molly, John Fogerty, and Wiz Khalifa took the stage, and the noise seemed to continue. Some residents told NECN that the noise was unbearable. A Portland resident, Bob Schaible, told NECN that he could not even hear guests speak outside over the loud music, noting that “this place is so quiet…and then Rock Row came.”
Now as summer is ending, the problems are being addressed. During a meeting Monday night, there was a meeting held with the owner of Waterfront Concerts, Alex Gray, as well as the promoter and operator of the pavilion and representatives from Waterstone. At the meeting, Gray said that complaints have declined by 90 percent since May, pulling in only 30 complaints rather than the original 400.
“We’ve been able to solve a lot of these problems,” Gray said, acknowledging that they were unable to immediately reduce noise at every home.
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He went on to explain that sound systems have been adjusted and the company is looking to bring in a scientist from MIT to study the sound at the venue. Additionally, after about five seasons, an enclosure would be built to contain the venue and the noise.
While residents were happy to hear that the promoter is finally doing something, some say that it is too late and the summer is already almost over. Schiable told NECN that he hopes a solution will be reached, especially after a letter from Portland city councilors is sent to Gray. However, if the noise is not fixed within a certain amount of time, Schiable plans to boycott the surrounding Rock Row businesses being built on the site.
The venue, which was built back in May, holds a capacity of 8,200 people and is set on a 100-acre business and residential complex, which is still under construction. The entire complex will take between five to seven years to complete.
Chris Young is the last artist to visit the venue this summer on his Raised On Country Tour, which will take place on September 28.