Vivid Event Productions’ music events at the Cape Cod Fairgrounds have been the subject of complaints from Falmouth and Mashpee residents.
“I think they have really violated the license application we gave them in a number of ways,” Falmouth Select Board member Douglas H. Jones said at the board’s meeting on Monday, October 26.
Noting that the organization’s license states that musical performances must be “primarily acoustic,” Mr. Jones asked if there had been a single acoustic performance at the fairgrounds. “Everything I’ve heard about has not been acoustic,” he said.
Town Manager Julian M. Suso said, to the best of his knowledge, Mr. Jones’s assessment was correct. Concerts performed at the Falmouth Drive-In have not been acoustic.
In addition, Chairwoman Megan E. English Braga said, the concerts are featuring more band members on the stage than were agreed to.
“We were told it would be four or five, and I’ve received, as you guys have, pictures where it is many more than four or five members in a band,” she said.
Mr. Jones asked about the possibility of canceling the Crooked Coast Halloween Bash scheduled for tonight. The bash also features performances by Los Elk and comedian Dan Crohn.
“We talked quite a bit about the numbers, and we gave them some leeway of maybe five, maybe six, but if they’re exceeding that, if they’re not doing acoustic as they promised, if they’re violating noise bylaws and having the police called, I think they’ve lost their right to do it this weekend,” he said.
Board member Nancy R. Taylor agreed.
“They have violated it, and really, they’ve lost the right to continue,” Ms. Taylor said. “I think we have done as much as we can do to support them, and I don’t think that they are sticking to their part of the bargain.”
The board, however, took no action regarding Friday’s concert or the next day’s Halloween at the Drive-In event.
“It would be a shame to cancel them on their last weekend,” board member Douglas C. Brown said.
The board agreed it should discuss future drive-in permits with representatives from Vivid Event Productions at its next meeting. Ms. English Braga asked Mr. Suso to inform Vivid staff about the review of the license.
“My feeling would be they have these two events, and I don’t think the permit should extend beyond the end of October,” she said. “I think they should have to come back for special events.”
Noting the changing of the seasons, she said people are spending more time at home and will be subject more to the loud noise from the fairgrounds.
“The idea of having these loud Sunday concerts or Friday night concerts going on indefinitely seems well beyond anything they represented to us,” Ms. English Braga said. “It seems as if the music has become the primary component of their business, more so than the drive-in movies.”
With a concert scheduled for tonight, Mr. Jones asked if there is a sound limit the town can impose upon the performance.
“The only mechanism that we have is if someone deems it excessive, they call the police, and the police department determines whether or not the volume is such that it is leaving the area and going into the adjacent residential areas,” Mr. Suso said. “If so, they can be cited.”
No citations have been issued thus far. In addition to issuing a citation, Mr. Suso said, police have the discretion to ask the performers to turn down the music or stop the performance.
“Let them know that we will have no problem if the police, in response to a noise complaint, come out and shut them down,” Mr. Jones said.
The select board will review the permit, which allows Vivid to host drive-in movies and live musical performances at the fairgrounds, at its meeting on Monday, November 9.
Mr. Suso said he met with representatives from the company last week to discuss these ongoing noise complaints.
“Inexplicably, those seem to have increased rather than decrease since I spoke with them,” Mr. Suso said. “My purpose in meeting with Mr. Kevin Pacheco, general manager, and assistant Ms. Elena Rodgers, was to strongly encourage enhanced cooperation and collaboration in the management of these fairgrounds events as it relates to noise issues. I asked that they make every reasonable effort to tighten things up as it relates to noise emanating from the performances.”
He said Vivid Event Productions staff acknowledged the complaints and confirmed they would comply with the special permit issued by the select board. In addition, he informed those representatives that the board would discuss the matter on Monday.
“[Mr. Pacheco] was aware we were going to speak about this tonight and chose not to be here,” Ms. Taylor said. “I think that speaks volumes.”