Levitt Pavilion ‘noise’ not music to everyone’s ears
Published 5:35 pm, Thursday, July 9, 2015
While many say the sounds from the Levitt Pavilion’s slate of outdoor summer concerts is music to their ears, that’s not the case for some neighbors of the downtown entertainment venue.
Among them is Morley Boyd, who made his objections known Wednesday to the Board of Selectmen about what he called “extraordinarily loud music” emanating from the pavilion since the new structure was completed.
The new pavilion complex on the Saugatuck River opened last summer.
Boyd made the remarks during the selectmen’s discussion of several agenda items concerning events planned at the Levitt, including a request to approve use of the town-owned upper Westport Library and upper Imperial Avenue parking lots for the annual Blues, Views and BBQ Festival scheduled over several days and nights in September.
“As a neighbor I want to go on the record,” Boyd said. “There is a new noise dynamic with the new construction” of the Levitt that has made the noise “substantially louder.” And during last year’s blues festival, he said, he was able to hear concert-goers placing their drink orders at the event while he was in the kitchen of his house, located off Myrtle Avenue. “The noise was extraordinarily loud,” he said.
“It’s like Spinal Tap where they put (the volume) up to 11,” Boyd said of the noise volume generated by last year’s blues festival. “This issue needs to be addressed,” he said.
Boyd said there had been an understanding reached years ago between neighbors —including those living on Myrtle and Evergreen avenues and Compo Road — and the Levitt as to what was an acceptable level of noise from concert that, in particular, would be kept to a “humane level.” The only exception was the Levitt’s annual gala fundraiser, he said. “We learned to accept the noise from that and that the rest of the season we would have our peace and quiet less disturbed,” Boyd said after the meeting.
Selectman Helen Garten said she thought the noise level was taken into account when they were testing the acoustics, adding the issue needs to be taken up with Levitt officials.
LeRose said it’s in the contract, but added the blues festival acts feature “guitar-heavy stuff.”
He also said he has not received complaints about loud noise and Eileen Francis, First Selectman Jim Marpe’s assistant, said she doesn’t recall getting any complaints last year about noise. The only calls concerned a tent on the grounds not being taken down and impeded access to the adjacent Westport Library during the event, she said.
Boyd told selectmen he filed two complaints about noise from the pavilion with the Police Department last concert season. Marpe said he received one call, not from Boyd, about noise last year and discussed it with Police Chief Dale Call. “Beyond that,” Marpe said, he got no sense from Call that there had been a significant number of complaints.
In fact, the Police Department received a total of seven complaints about loud music at the Levitt Pavilion last year, according to police Capt. Sam Arciola. He said there have been no complaints so far this year.
And Carleigh Welsh, the Levitt Pavilion’s director of marketing and development, said, “We have not received complaints in regards to sound and our summer season this year or last.”