June 9, 2006
Last summer a number of residents in the Belmont area of Charlottesville said that the new pavilion downtown was simply too loud. After some changes, the neighborhood seems to be quieter this year.
"We haven't actually heard anything this year," said Emma Givens, a waitress at La Taza, a coffee house and restaurant in Belmont.
Over the winter the Pavilion worked to make changes that would decrease the amount of noise that filters out to the surrounding neighborhoods.
"So far it's been real successful," explained Kirby Hutto, the Pavilion's general manager. "The last couple of large acts we've had, we've had zero noise complaints from our neighbors. So we feel like we're definitely getting where we need to be."
Last year Belmont residents said the noise in their neighborhood got increasingly louder as the summer concert series went on. Hutto said many times it depends on who's running an act's sound board. But this year he and the staff at the pavilion have put some stricter rules in place.
"We've got real tight controls in all of our contracts this year so that we have more of a say on how things sound within the venue," said Hutto.
Those changes seemed to have worked.
Larry Herbert sells property in Belmont, and he's heard about the complaints, but said his clients seem to be perfectly happy this year.
"I actually haven't really heard much from the residents over here myself," said Herbert. "I think maybe they're trying to start the concerts a little earlier, trying to finish them a little early, so I think there's some response."
"Fridays After Five finished around 8:30, 8:45. Most of our concerts this year have been ending between 10, 10:15," said Hutto.
Despite last year's noise complaints, Herbert hoped residents would look at the pavilion's benefits.
"It's such a nice resource for the community," he said. "I hope the people over here can bear with it for a while, but I understand their concerns."
Friday night there seemed to be little concern. With the concert series almost half way through, thing in Belmont were looking and sounding better than they were last summer.