Virgin Fest not music to some ears
Residents sound off about concert’s volume
By TARINA WHITE, SUN MEDIA
Virgin Fest’s weekend rock concert at Fort Calgary had some nearby residents fuming about the "thumping" noise.
Bridgeland resident Stan Leonard was outraged at a noise level he said was unbearable Saturday.
"It’s just an invasion of your space … when there’s that oppressive racket," he said yesterday.
"It’s disturbing the peace."
He arrived home from work Saturday afternoon ready to relax, but said he instead wound up with a throbbing headache from the pounding bass that didn’t quit until just before 11 p.m.
"Even with headphones on it’s too loud — even fireworks aren’t as loud as this," said Leonard.
The city fielded 31 complaints about the noise Saturday from citizens living in the East Village and across the Bow River from Fort Calgary, said Andrew Bissett, operations co-ordinator of animal and bylaw services.
"It’s not unexpected to have some complaints with a new event … but that is a fair number of complaints," said Bissett.
Bylaw services spent Saturday monitoring decibel levels at various locations on the concert site and forwarded recommendations to event organizers to prevent too much sound straying from the main listening area.
"Normally at these kinds of events, we do that and look at those areas most affected," said Bissett, adding the city had only received one noise complaint as of 6 p.m. yesterday.
"No matter what you do, some sound will escape … we just want to make sure it’s within tolerance levels."
Bissett said organizers had been co-operative with bylaw services to tone down the volume for last night’s festivities.
Despite Saturday’s complaints, not all nearby residents were put off by the festival’s volume.
Ramsay resident Arlene Roberge, who could view and hear the concert from her Maggie St. S.E. home, said her family isn’t offended by the occasional loud concert in their back yard.
"In the spirit of the concert and bringing business to Calgary … we really don’t mind," said Roberge.
"I’m just being patient with the situation. As long as they clean up, we’re OK."
More than 30,000 music lovers descended on Fort Calgary, just east of downtown on 9 Ave. S.E., for the two-day festival, spawned by British maverick billionaire Richard Branson.
Two stages at opposite ends of the site featured 30 bands, ranging from international stars Stone Temple Pilots, to Canadian giants Tragically Hip, to Alberta country favourite Corb Lund.