Recent Developments

As we approach the end of yet another concert season, let’s take a look at what’s happening in the noise world.

Yes, Bassnectar did not appear at Red Rocks this year, after his demonstrated disdain for the Denver noise restrictions last year. Where did he go? Ask the folks at Commerce City:

Angry Residents Thought Bassnectar Concert ‘Was An Earthquake’, CBSLocal, August 1, 2016

Since April 19, Morrison area residents have posted 175 “surveys” reporting their experiences with this year’s concerts. Of those, 150 qualify as complaints, with ratings of 3 and higher on a 5-point scale. For comparison, 2015 was the first year Denver Arts & Venues managed the new surveys: 170 reports were filed during the same period (April 19 – Sept 16); 140 were complaints (including 30 complaints received just on Bassnectar). In 2014, when our group used a simple survey, 480 reports were filed on 96 concerts.

Denver noise clampdown gets support, but some event organizers say fines are unavoidable, Denver Post, September 16, 2016

To date, at last report to us, no fines have been levied at Red Rocks Amphitheatre this year, despite 150 complaints.*

A few resident comments:

“It is after 11 and once again we have an extremely loud concert. If this is within the limits then something is wrong. I don’t think the county would allow this amount of noise to spill over from a concert venue.” (July 20)

“I just put in a complaint on the survey for loud, pounding noise from Red Rocks @ 2:30 in the afternoon. I hope this doesn’t mean we are in for a loud night/weekend!” (August 31)

“Seems like it’s getting worse, now that we’re inside, ready to TRY to sleep. … We’ve had complaints up here since the sound check this afternoon.” (August 31)

“Loud pounding again tonight. It is 10:30 and we can feel the percussion and hear the noise.” (August 31)

* Yes, there has been some improvement, largely because earlier concert ending times are being observed.

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In the News at the Denver Post

Two new articles in the Denver Post hit the news stands this weekend, and all we can say is… Thanks for noticing! We’ve been concerned about increasing concert numbers for a while. Anyway, the latest figures, for your reading pleasure:

Red Rocks an even bigger cash cow for Denver with growth in booked shows, by Jon Murray, June 3, 2016 Denver Post
(Republished in Sunday’s Post under the title: Red Rocks becomes the color of money with many shows)

Worth noting: The info presented by the Post for 2015 reports 138 concerts—even more than our calculations*—and 25 more than the previous year!

The second article focuses more on the cachet, and potential loss thereof, associated with playing this iconic venue.

Does playing Red Rocks still mean anything?, by Dylan Owens, June 2, 2016 Denver Post
(Republished in Sunday’s Post under the title: More shows than ever, but is that all good?)

Meanwhile, from our spot on the hill, last night (Disco Biscuits) was mellow, quiet even. Thank you!! The previous night (Rebelution) not so much. Please, if you are being disrupted by concert noise (or even if you’re not), be sure to keep recording your experience at the Sound Survey page, no matter how frustrating it is. People are watching and, other than direct feedback to the Mayor, it’s our best avenue for comment at the moment.

We have to ask: Is there any end, or does this increase continue unchecked?

* Here’s our graph from last year.

Concert numbers vary by year, but the 3-year rolling averages show general upward trend. Data from Westword.com and RedRocksOnline concert archive.
Concert numbers vary by year, but the 3-year rolling averages show general upward trend. Data from Westword.com and RedRocksOnline concert archive.

2016 Concert Schedule

It’s a bit early yet, but time to take a look at the 2016 schedule. As of today’s list posted at RedRocksOnline.com, there are 109 concerts already scheduled, counting the January event. For the peak months of June, July, August this represents more than 80% of available nights booked, but still leaves room for additions. For the entire mid-April through mid-October season, 60% of the nights are booked. This does not include Film on the Rocks events, which are not yet listed on the online schedule.

2016 Red Rocks Concert Schedule, as of April 2

  • April: Two concerts, 4/19 and 4/20
  • May: 14 concerts
  • June: 24 concerts
  • July: 26 concerts
  • August: 25 concerts
  • September: 14 concerts
  • October: 3 concerts

In addition, we understand a 75th Anniversary event is being planned.

Last year, an online sound survey racked up 190 individual ratings for 70 out of the roughly 130 shows. The survey form was more challenging so this is considerably fewer than the nearly 500 responses we received on the 2014 concerts.

To no one’s surprise, Bassnectar topped the chart, with 33 ratings for his three nights yielding an average of 3.9 on a scale of 1-5. Although Bassnectar was going for a record, Global Dance and Smashing Pumpkins rated higher, with a solid 4 and 4.3 respectively, but they received fewer total ratings.

We have not yet heard whether the online sound surveys managed by Arts & Venues will be used this year.

Rough season at Red Rocks

2015-06-tweetsWeather has played havoc with several Red Rocks concerts this season, but these fans are not to be daunted. Although performers are protected by the stage cover, the audience in the amphitheater is pretty much exposed to whatever Mother Nature has to offer. In late May and early June, looks like she’s been pissed. This year, already a season to remember, includes an exciting buffet of lightning, rain, and hail. Our incredible streak of daily deluges did not made it easy at the world-famous venue.

Read on: Does this sound like a workable emergency plan to you? Who decides? Who calls the shots on public safety?

First memorable occasion, we think, was a lightning delay when Decemberists visited on May 27. Tweets from Red Rocks management urged fans to go to the Visitors Center or return to their cars. See our previous post. The Visitor Center probably doesn’t hold 9,000 people (see image left), and it can be a long walk to the parking lots, but this is evidently the plan for emergency shelter.

Lindsay Stirling fared better the following night (May 28), as she was apparently greeted only by lightning and rainbows. Old Crow Medicine Show was similarly lucky on June 3.

Then on June 4, Ryan Adams made it through most of his performance before being cut a few songs short by “a blitzkrieg of lightning”; fans had a good time anyway, it seemed.

lettucefunkThe main event came June 5. Weather was great and The Motet made it through, but another delay was called, delaying headliner Lettuce Funk from taking the stage. Conditions were intense, to say the least, with lightning in the area and heavy hail and rushing water in the Amphitheater itself (don’t miss the video). We heard those who made it to the Visitor Center early stayed dry, but others were not allowed to enter. A night to remember.

What we didn’t expect was a tremendous hail and lightning storm, topped off with tornado warnings in effect. In true Colorado fashion, sunny skies turned to ominous storm clouds and rapidfire lightning in a matter of minutes, followed by massive chunks of hail violently pouring down from the sky. It was mayhem as 8,000 patrons pushed to get out to their cars amidst icy landslides all around the historic venue. —Live For Live Music

Tedeschi Trucks Band, on Jun 13, experienced another lightning delay, but, of course, the show must go on, and, as Westword explains, it did. Water on stage, threatening equipment, no big deal.

The rain started coming down in sheets right at showtime, so the music had to be delayed for more than an hour. Then, by the time the downpour tempered into a steady pattering, the wind picked up. Sharp gusts snaked their way through Red Rocks Amphitheatre, and the temperature plummeted. On stage, microphone stands and drum cymbals kept blowing over. And at times, the light riggings and speaker arrays looked like they were about to fall, swaying menacingly above the performers on stage.—Westword, Another Wet Night…

Now you feel like you’ve been there, right? Weather has affected events at Red Rocks before, but we’d be hard pressed to find a string quite as bad as this one. Hosting more concerts every year just increases the chances of encountering rough nights. Stay tuned.

2015 Schedule updates

We have updated the 2015 schedule as of May 30. Six concerts have been added, for a total of 116 for the year. This is a new record for a concert season at Red Rocks.

When we first posted the schedule, on April 18, concerts were booked on 60% of the days between April 15 and October 15. For peak season (June-July-August), 79% of summer evenings were occupied by concerts. With the revised schedule, those numbers are up to 63% overall. There are 78 concerts, so far, in June-August, for 85% of nights booked during the summer months. That leaves, for peak summer months, only 14 days we can enjoy our backyards without being subject to concert impacts.

BassNectar, Night 3– May 31

The evening started out pretty mellow last night, noise-wise, in fact surprisingly so. But Bassnectar most likely wasn’t on stage until after 10, and noise escalated some after that. Let us know what you experienced, please!

Tonight’s concert, the third of the series, should at least end by 11:45 p.m., according to the weeknight schedule restriction.

Keep an ear out!


To rate any noise from tonight’s concert, here’s the scale we used last year. Please add further comments below if you wish.

  1. barely noticeable, not disturbing
  2. moderately noisy, somewhat disturbing
  3. noisy, annoying, couldn’t be outside
  4. kept awake or woke from a sound sleep, significantly disturbing
  5. walls and windows rattling, extremely disturbing, even indoors

Arts & Venues asks that you report sound you hear using their survey, or call the concert phone line: 720-865-2494, option 4  and someone will fill it out for you. There may be wait times. Also, at this point, you need to listen to the entire message or most of it before you can select option 4. We hope that will change before the season gets much farther along.

We appreciate a quick report here or by email, too, so we can keep track of the information as well.

Thanks!

BassNectar, Night 2– May 30

We had a number of reports of intolerable noise levels between 11 and 12:30 last night, although early volume was only moderately noisy. Tonight started pretty quiet, but intensity is picking up some now (10:30 p.m.). Keep us posted on your experience; it seems to be spotty around the general area.


To rate any noise from tonight’s concert, here’s the scale we used last year. Please add further comments below if you wish.

  1. barely noticeable, not disturbing
  2. moderately noisy, somewhat disturbing
  3. noisy, annoying, couldn’t be outside
  4. kept awake or woke from a sound sleep, significantly disturbing
  5. walls and windows rattling, extremely disturbing, even indoors

Arts & Venues asks that you report sound you hear using their survey, or call the concert phone line: 720-865-2494, option 4  and someone will fill it out for you. There may be wait times. Also, at this point, you need to listen to the entire message or most of it before you can select option 4. We hope that will change before the season gets much farther along.

We appreciate a quick report here or by email, too, so we can keep track of the information as well.

Thanks!

Bassnectar is here! Night 1, May 29

One of our top-rated concerts (noise-wise) is back this weekend for the first
of three evenings of performances. Let us know what you think!

To rate any noise from tonight’s concert, here’s the scale we used last year. Please add further comments below if you wish.

  1. barely noticeable, not disturbing
  2. moderately noisy, somewhat disturbing
  3. noisy, annoying, couldn’t be outside
  4. kept awake or woke from a sound sleep, significantly disturbing
  5. walls and windows rattling, extremely disturbing, even indoors

Arts & Venues asks that you report sound you hear using their survey, or call the concert phone line: 720-865-2494, option 4  and someone will fill it out for you. There may be wait times.

We appreciate a quick report here or by email, too, so we can keep track of the information as well.

Thanks!

Lindsey Stirling, May 28

Lindsey Stirling is new and different—read about her at RedRocksOnline.com.


To rate any noise from tonight’s concert, here’s the scale we used last year. Please add further comments below if you wish.

  1. barely noticeable, not disturbing
  2. moderately noisy, somewhat disturbing
  3. noisy, annoying, couldn’t be outside
  4. kept awake or woke from a sound sleep, significantly disturbing
  5. walls and windows rattling, extremely disturbing, even indoors

Arts & Venues asks that you report sound you hear using their survey, or call the concert phone line: 720-865-2494, option 4  and someone will fill it out for you. There may be wait times.

We appreciate a quick report here or by email, too, so we can keep track of the information as well.

Thanks!

Decemberists, May 27, face excitement on the Rocks

raindelayIt was a rough night for fans last night, as Nature’s light show took center stage between 9 and 10 p.m. Red Rocks Amphitheatre experienced a “rain delay”—more like a lightning, heavy rain, and hail delay from our viewpoint—that kept headliner “Decemberists” off the stage until after 10:30 p.m. A heavy rain of tweets informed concert-goers they should take shelter in the Visitor Center or their cars. Many got to their cars and simply left, no doubt cold and drenched by then.

We’ve captured some of the venue’s tweets in this image. Click to enlarge it, or check it out on twitter.

But the show went on! Let us know if you heard it, or if it seemed to go overtime due to the delay.


To rate any noise from tonight’s concert, here’s the scale we used last year. Please add further comments below if you wish.

  1. barely noticeable, not disturbing
  2. moderately noisy, somewhat disturbing
  3. noisy, annoying, couldn’t be outside
  4. kept awake or woke from a sound sleep, significantly disturbing
  5. walls and windows rattling, extremely disturbing, even indoors

Arts & Venues asks that you report sound you hear using their survey, or call the concert phone line: 720-865-2494, option 4  and someone will fill it out for you. There may be wait times.

We appreciate a quick report here or by email, too, so we can keep track of the information as well.

Thanks!