Council moves July 4 concert

Music festival will now be held at Tennis Meadows

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— While noise complaints were the main reason for moving Steamboat's July 4 music festival, little noise was made at Tuesday night's City Council meeting reviewing the venue change.

The council supported Mountain Events' decision to move the two-day concert headlining String Cheese Incident from Mount Werner's Headwall to the Tennis Meadows. In its support, the council gave unanimous consent for City Manager Paul Hughes to grant the concert promoters a special activity permit.

Mountain Events representative John Waldman said the decision to move to the grassy field behind the Tennis Meadows parking lot came after community members suggested changing last year's venue.

Although the move transfers the concert from a commercial zoned area to a residential resort area, concert organizers said the space with more wide-open area should affect fewer people.

"The idea that the concert sound system faces the sound downwards along with the placement of the stage eliminates most noise concerns," Waldman said.

Dave Laughae, also of Mountain Events, said the closest houses to the concert venue are along EagleRidge Drive and no house will be close enough to hear a solid wall of noise.

After hearing last year's complaints from property owners near Headwall, City Council President Kathy Connell liked the idea of moving to the Tennis Meadows, where a bank lies behind the planned stage site.

"I think the problem last year was nothing to block (the sound). It went straight uphill," Connell said. "To have the natural earth contain the sound (at the Tennis Meadows) certainly sounds helpful."

Although it is not required that waivers for special activity permits be brought before the council, Hughes said an event of such magnitude needed special consideration. For Hughes, noise pollution was the main concern.

"In the Tennis Meadows area, a concert of the type held last year at Headwall would exceed the decibel level allowable in that area. And it is moving in part because of these complaints and concerns," Hughes said. "If there were concerns last year about noise, there may be concerns this year."

Hughes did say a major concern with the new venue would be controlling access into the concert.

This year's event, which will feature String Cheese Incident, James Brown and Earl Scruggs, targets a wider age demographic, Waldman said, and is expected to bring in 10,000 to 12,000 people July 3 and 12,000 to 14,000 July 4.

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