Sound Tests Measure Noise From Pavilion

By: Althea Paul
By: Althea Paul

February 20, 2006

Officials with the Charlottesville Pavilion are looking at ways to lower some of the noise levels coming from the stage. The conducted tests today to help measure the frequency that comes out of the Pavilion. This comes after they received over a dozen complaints from nearby residents last year.

Monday's short bursts of noise used during the tests were just a taste of what some residents in the Belmont area of Charlottesville were dealing with last year from the concerts at the Pavilion.

"Loud banging noises, resonation of the resonating guitars and drums and vocals. It's just a lot of echo that carries across the bridge and hits all the houses," said resident Giles Jackson.

"Sometimes if it's a rock band we can hear it pretty clearly in the back yard," said resident, John Foster.

It's the reason why Monday, an audio team was setting up equipment, testing the sound levels from the stage, from the Downtown Mall, and from surrounding neighborhoods.

"We want to be a good neighbor and we did get a certain level of complaints last year. And we have some theories on why that was and we have a whole list of options on how to address it, but we're hoping that the results of some of the tests today will really help us nail down some of these issues," said general manager of the Charlottesville Pavilion, Kirby Hutto.

The data will show which frequencies are hitting exactly where and help experts figure out what's the best way to help lower the noise in those areas.

"We've got a 4-month-old now. So hopefully that won't be an issue when this concert season comes around," said Foster.

While the noise last year did cause problems for some, it was a different story for others.

"To me, it really doesn't bother me or the kids," said resident, Michelle Cox.

Whether it's one complaint or 100, Pavilion officials say they want to get to the bottom of it.

"We just want to know what can we do to make it as little of a problem as possible," said Hutto.

However for some Belmont residents, hearing is believing.

"I'm cautiously optimistic," said Jackson.

Now experts have to go through the results from these tests and based on that they'll decide how to best go about fixing the problem.

That could mean using absorption materials, dropping a side wall of the canopy, or using sound walls. The general manager of the Pavilion says that last year the sounds from the concerts never went over the decibel reading that is listed in their lease.

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