The next Arts, Beats & Eats festival won’t be quite as noisy, promises Royal Oak City Manager Don Johnson.
“There were a few complaints, about 20, this year about loud music. The actual number of complaints was … very low for an event attended by almost 400,000 people,” Johnson said in an interview this week. “I have received more complaints about much smaller events.”
Johnson said two things happened during this year’s festival that led to the noise complaints. One is fixable and one may not be.
“First, the easy fix: The ‘techno’ stage was moved this year to a location where its harsh sound spilled over into a neighborhood,” said Johnson. “In previous years, the softer, mellower ‘international’ stage had been in that location. That stage will be moved back to its previous location,” he said.
The other happening was more of a mystery. Nearly all of those noise complaints came during the night of Sept. 2 when the band Guess Who played, said Johnson.
“The Guess Who were no louder than REO Speedwagon the night before or the other feature acts,” said Johnson. “I know. I have been at almost every ABE feature concert since the event moved to Royal Oak,” he said.
Most of the complaints that night came from neighborhoods far to the north of the festival, but not from areas in the same direction much closer to the stage, he said.
“I have to attribute that to unusual atmospheric conditions,” he said. “The festival has agreed to do sound checks next year as speakers are being placed to determine how sound is carrying – but they can't control everything,” said Johnson.
“Weather and other conditions change constantly and that affects how sound carries,” he said.
The 16th annual Arts, Beats & Eats festival is again planned for Labor Day weekend with an array of activities, art, live entertainment and an assortment of food from around metro Detroit.
Johnson said one thing that may potentially change is the closing times, currently being discussed with the promoter of the event.
Jon Witz, producer of Arts, Beats & Eats, was not available for comment.
This article was written by Damon Flemings, a Wayne State University journalism student.