Living with rattling walls and booming music, s neighbors around southern Bend say the Hayden Homes Amphitheater is too loud on concert nights.
“We don’t hear the music or the vocals. We feel and hear a low-frequency vibrating bass that permeates the entire house. It’s almost unbearable,” said Kristen Boller who lives in the Ponderosa Estates neighborhood. That’s more than three miles from the concert venue.
Despite that distance, she says the bass she felt from a few recent shows was unacceptable.
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“I don’t think that Old Mill or the city realized that the sound is reverberating all of these miles,” she said.
Beau Eastes is the marketing director for the amphitheater. He believes recent complaints have little to do with frequencies or a perceived increase in volume.
“When we see complaints or concerns, it’s not so much that the music is too loud, but it’s maybe as much as anything they can hear the music and it’s not a genre that they like,” Eastes said. “The shows aren’t getting louder.”
He says his team upgraded the venue’s sound system last offseason, reducing sound leak impact for the community.
“We’re making sure that when if sound is coming out at our property line, it’s no higher than 80 dBa,” he said.
Boller believes no one is listening to complaints from her and her neighbors.
“We need our voices heard regarding this because we pay good money to live here,” she said. “I would suggest turning down the volume because I think people can still enjoy themselves.”
Eastes says reducing overall sound isn’t an option.
“It’s not as simple as like turning down the volume button, which I think maybe maybe a lot of people don’t understand,” Eastes said. “If there was a hard cap, I think it’d be really hard for us to be able to book the bands that we’ve booked.”
The City of Bend does have a volume limit of 65 decibels, but the amphitheater has an exception so long as they wrap up concerts by 10:00 p.m.
The amphitheater managers told Central Oregon Daily they have no plans to alter the current sound system.
“You know, I hope that some social media chatter doesn’t drown out that I think the majority of people in town and this community really enjoy the venue,” he said. “There’s never going to be like a golden fix, where we completely eliminate sound creep.”