Alameda is trying to squash one of San Francisco’s biggest events

0 39

Festivalgoers watch Skrillex perform at the Portola Festival on Pier 80 in San Francisco on Oct. 1, 2023.

Festivalgoers watch Skrillex perform at the Portola Festival on Pier 80 in San Francisco on Oct. 1, 2023.

Douglas Zimmerman/SFGATE

Portola, the two-day electronic music festival that took place at Pier 80 in San Francisco over the weekend, was so loud last year that the sound of repetitive bass lines and 303s rattled windows in Alameda and Oakland, sending residents in a tailspin. By the time it was over, the San Francisco Entertainment Commission received nearly 200 complaints, the most of any single event in the city. Though organizers made major adjustments to prepare for Portola’s second iteration in 2023, the city of Alameda — and some of its residents — publicly complained that the festival still caused “significant noise impacts” on the small island town. 

“As a result, the City is formally requesting that the San Francisco Entertainment Commission discontinue the event next year or move it to an alternative venue that ensures Alameda residents will not be impacted,” the city of Alameda wrote in an Oct. 4 Facebook post. 

Advertisement

Article continues below this ad

According to Maggie Weiland, the commission’s executive director, this year was a major improvement compared to 2022 because festival organizers brought in sophisticated sound crews to cancel out certain frequencies and keep decibel levels under control. Last weekend, 311 and the entertainment commission received 40 noise complaints, most of which were from San Francisco and Alameda residents, she told SFGATE. Portola’s new hotline center, which operated out of a trailer on festival grounds to respond to complaints in real time, received about 180. Combined with 311 complaints and emails to the commission, so far, it appears that the number of complaints is slightly higher than last year.  

Everything was going smoothly, Weiland said, until the Sunday night headliner — Skrillex — came on. No amount of skilled sound engineers or state-of-the-art equipment, it seemed, could contain the explosive, grating noise of his live set. Once he took the stage, Goldenvoice organizers received an onslaught of complaints.    

“He put on a pretty wild set,” Weiland said. “It’s like the metal of EDM.” 

Advertisement

Article continues below this ad

“The bass, in particular, caused vibrations that shook people’s homes and apartments,” a letter from Jennifer Ott, Alameda’s city manager, reads. Ott said the city received countless complaints, and despite organizers’ efforts to reduce the noise, she alleges that residents said it was even louder than last year.

“We cannot allow this event to cause major disturbances to our residents again,” the letter continued. “Therefore, the City of Alameda formally requests that you discontinue the Portola Music Festival.”

Ott did not immediately tell SFGATE how many complaints the city fielded at the time of publication.

Weiland told SFGATE that she’s fascinated by Alameda’s post, especially since commenters were largely in support of the festival. She said that sound meters never recorded an ambient noise level over 70 decibels in Alameda, either. According to city documents, some residents in Alameda already experience noise that’s well over 80 dBA on a nightly basis thanks to its close proximity to the Oakland and San Francisco airports and Coast Guard Island. 

Advertisement

Article continues below this ad

“I hope SF turns up the volume and gives you the middle finger,” one commenter wrote in response to the city’s post. Another merely responded with a gif of BBQ Becky, the white woman who infamously called the cops on two Black men barbecuing at Lake Merritt. Others chimed in and described the event as an economic boon to the Bay Area and a unique concert opportunity.

“I definitely hear them and I think, potentially, you know, maybe the City Council themselves or the city manager herself, maybe they were personally impacted,” Weiland said, adding that it probably feels overwhelming to receive so many complaints, which is par for the course with any large-scale festival. “You usually average between 100 and 400 complaints for a festival weekend like this.” Outside Lands, for instance, receives an average of 100 complaints per year.

For now, Weiland said she and the city manager plan to meet next Tuesday to discuss the future of the event, where she hopes they can see eye to eye on its benefits. 

“I think we need to look at the big picture of why it’s important to continue to advocate for the Bay Area as being a world-class region,” said Weiland. “And I don’t think that happens without big events that draw people to come out to the city — come out to our different cities — and be able to engage with the economy.”

Advertisement

Article continues below this ad

SFGATE news editor Amy Graff contributed to this report. 

Source link

Denial of responsibility! YoursTelecast is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – [email protected]. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.
Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.