Monthly Archives: April 2015

How can I help you save Red Rocks?

A commenter writes “I am a bit confused. You claim in your title Save Red Rocks. Help me to understand how I can help you Save Red Rocks??”

Dear Confused

Thanks for your comment. It’s a nice change from all the ones we’ve received that tell us we should move or shower us with expletives. We are happy to answer yours. Let’s start by clarifying what we mean by “Save Red Rocks.”

Our twitter tagline says “Encouraging great concerts in a great place to be great neighbors– sustainable and respectful.” That pretty much says it all.

Yes, sustainable has gotten to be an overused buzzword lately, but it’s the best word we have. We question whether the rapid increase in number of concerts* just in the last few years and the related impacts on the Park are sustainable. Our primary concern now, however, is the noise generated by concerts, which has increased dramatically in recent years as well.

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.

Please understand that most of us have lived in the Red Rocks/Morrison area for many years. We have always heard the concerts, but until about 2010, we have had little or no reason to complain. Only rarely did they exceed levels that we could tolerate at least for a few evenings a year. We welcomed Red Rocks as a neighbor.

Now, however, many concerts have become MUCH louder and there are many more of them! The music itself has changed and become more intrusive. Noise levels in surrounding communities now exceed legal limits, but those limits are not being enforced as they would be elsewhere. By 2012, many of the concerts were noisy well beyond midnight. (End time restrictions in 2014-15 are helping a lot with that concern.)

Those of us who live in the area have enjoyed Red Rocks Park for a variety of reasons. We hike there and walk our dogs there. We enjoy showing the Park off to out-of-town visitors. We are lucky to be able to appreciate the incredible scenery year-round. We believe Red Rocks is far more than a popular concert venue.

Red Rocks is an important and valuable PARK, soon, we understand, to become a National Historic Landmark. But its park values are being slowly eroded by its excessive use for concerts that generate revenues for the City of Denver. We believe those revenues have become so important to decision-makers that the Park’s other values, including its scenery, rich history, natural landscapes, vegetation, and wildlife are being excluded or impaired. When we say “Save Red Rocks,” we are suggesting that, unless concerts become sustainable and respectful of those other values, everything else we love about the Park will end up being sacrificed to the increasingly dominant use as a concert venue.

So when we say Save Red Rocks, we are working to Save Red Rocks as a Park, not as a night club.


* See Westword, which notes there were 57 shows in 2006 and 83 in 2011, for a 31% increase. From 2009 to 2014, concerts increased 50% (70 to 105). It’s only April, and already there are 110 concerts on the schedule for 2015. At this time last year, there were only 85 scheduled concerts. More noise, more often.

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Savoy with Michal Menert Big Band, April 25

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!

New Sound Survey

Amphitheater management has informed area residents that there is a new feedback system in place for concerts this year.

Residents of the Town of Morrison and Jefferson County that are affected by concert sound from Red Rocks Amphitheatre are encouraged to submit a sound survey whenever concert sound is audible, even if it is not intrusive or annoying.

This system is more complex than the simple polls we used here last year, and will require confirmation of residence. Because this is direct information to Arts & Venues Denver, the agency that manages Red Rocks Amphitheatre, your responses to them will be important. However, we don’t yet know whether those results will be shared publicly before the end of the season. (If we find out, we’ll let you know.)

There is also a call line with a new option for reporting noise issues. This phone will be staffed on concert days, and should be answered by a person. That person can fill out the survey for you when you call. The line can, however, be busy and there may be wait times.

Concert phone line:
720-865-2494, option 4

We would appreciate your sharing comments here or by email as well, so they can be made public as the season proceeds.

Thanks for your help!

2015 Season Concert Schedule Gets Started

We’ve caught up on back posts, and are ready to roll for this season. New restrictions are in effect, but early indications are not encouraging. We’re keeping open minds and hoping for the best.

We know you’re inspired to play along as we track concerts this year. Make it easy—download the 2015 schedule pdf here.

The new restrictions that went into effect in January include the following provisions:

  • Noise restrictions have only been lowered by 2 dB (from 125 to 123 dB), but now apply throughout the concert. (In 2014 noise restrictions only applied to the last 30 mins of the concert.)
  • Ending times have been significantly improved, weekdays ending at 11:45 and weekends ending at 12:30. (2014 weekdays ending at 12:30 and weekends ending at 1:30 AM)
  • There will be a hotline for residents to report noise issues as they happen. No need to call 911 or anybody else. [Hope to hear about this soon.]
  • Violations can result in performers exclusion from Red Rocks.
  • More detail studies to fine tune the noise restrictions for 2016.
  • Weather station to be added to the study.

Morrison’s noise consultant reviewed Denver’s data and reported that if the 2015 restrictions had applied in 2014:

There would have been a total of 368 noise level violations, and 23 ending time violations, resulting in a total of $3,910,000 in fines.

This is a clue that tells us how bad the noise was last year, but not why. Now we know that the actual data show performers were regularly hitting Low Frequency (dB1) levels greater than 130 BEFORE the restrictions went into effect (only during the last half hour). Many concerts reached peak and ended before they were even covered by the 2014 restrictions. For example the data show Bassnectar peaked at 138 dB1 before ending at 11:45 on a weekend.

Added later: Here’s Westword’s summary of the new regulations.

High Times Cannabis Cup, April 18

If you’d like to rate this concert, here’s the scale we used last year: we are not posting the formal polls this 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

Thanks!

Bisco Inferno, with Disco Biscuits, April 17

If you’d like to rate this concert, here’s the scale we used last year: we are not posting the formal polls this 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

Thanks!