June 25, 2018
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Police receive 16 noise complaints during Bangor music festival

By Andrew Neff and Nok-Noi Ricker, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — Music started at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the all-day Bumstock music festival and Avalanche Tour — the first of the 2011 Waterfront Concerts at the Bangor Waterfront Pavilion — and the noise complaints started Saturday evening.

“We had 16 between 5 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.,” Bangor police Sgt. Paul Edwards said Monday. “They came from Lincoln Street, Buck Street, Larkin [Street], that area.”

The first person to call police to complain about the concert noise called back later, so one of the 16 was a repeat, the sergeant said.

Brewer police took no noise complaints, Cpl. Steve Boyd said Monday.

Unofficial sound tests showed it was loudest near Dunkin’ Donuts on Main Street and lessened as the distance from the live music grew, Waterfront Concerts promoter Alex Gray said.

A decibel meter was used to do the sound tests, which were conducted at various times during Saturday’s performances and were done by Gray and Tracy Willette, the city’s recreation department director.

“On site we’re around 100 decibels and around Shaw’s supermarket across the street it’s around 90,” Gray said.

The average rock concert typically measures between 110 and 140 decibels, according to a chart from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. It states a vacuum cleaner’s noise measures 70 db, city traffic is 80, a lawn mower 85-90, a train is 100, a jackhammer is 110, thunder is 120. The threshold of pain begins at around 125.

“In most surrounding neighborhoods it was between 50 and 70,” Gray said. “On site we went from 106 [up front] to 90 near the back of the site.”

Gray said noise reports and complaints varied depending on the time of day and which of the two stages — the main stage for the Avalanche show or the secondary stage for local acts in the Bumstock lineup — was being used.

“When we stopped performing at B stage and started up on A, one city councilor heard a noticeable increase in sound,” Gray said.

The city-mandated concert curfew is 11:30 p.m. on weekends and 11 p.m. on weeknights. The last act finished Saturday at around 10:50 p.m.

Only one person was arrested during the concert, Edwards said.

Deanna Carfagno, 19, of Sangerville reportedly was seen breaking into a vehicle parked near the concert venue at around 9:15 p.m. and taking a backpack. She allegedly was found on Railroad Street with the stolen backpack and was arrested and charged with burglary to a motor vehicle.

The sound is purposely directed toward the Shaw’s parking lot to minimize its volume in surrounding residential areas, Gray said. He said that if a permanent stage is built, it will face downtown to reduce the impact on residents.

“What I’d stress is even without the city requesting it, we started this baseline testing because we are conscious of our neighbors and concerns of the community,” he said. “We also wanted to have some baseline info to use in the future.”

Bill Meier of Sidney Street, who described Saturday’s concert as a “real bear,” recently brought his concerns about Waterfront Concerts noise to Bangor City Council. He said it was very loud at his house, but he was not one of the people who called to complain.

“It was quite loud here Saturday,” he said Monday. “It was probably louder” than any of the 2010 concerts. “I’m not sure what they did differently, but it didn’t work.”

During each of last year’s Waterfront Concerts, there were usually a few noise complaints,  Edwards said, adding that during the first concert this year, “we got more than usual.”

“We all knew going into this that it would be loud,” he said.

Meier said he hopes the city continues to work with the promoter to address the noise.

“It was a jarring way to start the season,” he said. “I don’t think the city wants that.”

Correction: An early version of this story omitted the byline of a contributing reporter. The story was written by Nok-Noi Ricker and Andrew Neff of the BDN staff.

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