Red Rocks Amphitheatre has new noise rules after EDM complaints - Reverb

Red Rocks Amphitheatre has new noise rules after EDM complaints

By Josie Klemaier

MORRISON — The city and county of Denver began implementing rules on sound pressure levels and event end times at Red Rocks Amphitheatre as of Jan. 1 in response to noise complaints from nearby residents and the town of Morrison.

The complaints stemmed mainly from the rise in popularity of EDM at the venue, Denver’s director of arts and venues Kent Rice acknowledged in a September 2013 YourHub article about the issue.

The city and county of Denver owns and operates Red Rocks Amphitheatre and answered concerns brought forth in 2013 with a closer look at the noise.

Morrison hired its own noise consultant to examine Red Rocks’ new rules and present recommendations to the town board at its March 4 meeting. Town clerk Kara Zabilansky said the consultant would not talk about the presentation prior to the meeting, but recommendations could include waiting to see how the new rules work in the next summer concert season, or answering with additional concerns.

The new rules pertain to bass levels and performance end times, said Dan Rowland, assistant director of marketing and communications for Denver Arts & Venues said.

One rule looks at the average decibels for the whole show, Rowland said, and that it shall not exceed 105 decibels for one-minute averages after midnight on weekdays and 1 a.m. on weekends and holidays.

Another refers to bass levels and that they can’t exceed 125 decibels at the low-frequency levels of 25-80 hertz for one-minute averages after midnight on weekdays and 1 a.m. on weekends and holidays, referring to low-frequency bass noise.

Michal Menert is a Denver-based electronic music artist who has performed at Red Rocks with Pretty Lights Music and said the regulations are reasonable and understandable given the rise of electronic music shows at the venue. He said he is even in favor of toning down the sound systems that have become overkill in the genre.

“If anything, this is going to bring more dynamic out in the music because it will allow more frequencies to breathe,” he said. “It will be less in-your-face sound coming at you and more dynamic.”

The levels will be measured by the city’s equipment at the front-of-house mix position. Performers could be charged $10,000 for every five times, consecutive or not, that the one-minute decibel limit is exceeded in a given performance.

Performers could face a $5,000 fine for each 30-minute increment they are in violation of the curfews listed.

Rowland said these kinds of regulations are new at the venue, but are also simply internal guidelines Denver is imposing on itself.

“Red Rocks has been a world-class music venue for more than 70 years now and we’re constantly policing ourselves to make sure this cherished venue is operated with our public’s best interests in mind,” he said in an e-mail. “These guidelines are intended to address the two to three complaints we’ve gotten the last couple of years related to these very specific shows.”

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Josie Klemaier: 303-954-2465,, @JosieKlemaier

  • Ryan

    Turn it down! Concerts have been too loud for ages now. Red Rocks doesn’t need volume, it has the most beautiful natural acoustics in the world. The louder the volume, the less natural it sounds. Volume can overpower the acoustics. Why EDM concerts are even held there is beyond me, but who am I to judge what people are listening to.

    • Chris

      are you joking? whats wrong with liking heavy bass. most edm music is supported by hard hitting bass lines and that’s one of the reasons why seeing it live it so amazing. why the hell do you care? do you even live in morrison?

      • peter copeland

        well, I am assuming you, like most DJs and EDM fans do not understand audio physics, or the concept of a limiter, or you would understand that louder is not better. I do this to DJs all the time when they play, I put a limiter, or brick wall compression (whatever is available) on them so when they try to “turn in up” they just start distorting. Hey DJs, Gain structure is important, and understanding audio physics is very important too, don’t just leave it to the engineer to make you sound “good”, it doesn’t always work.. -10db is unnoticeable IMO, and this WILL as MM says bring a level of clarity to the awesome Meyer line they have there.

    • Fuck Ryan

      People pay top dollar to see their favorite performers put on a show. That’s like saying the crowd needs to be more quiet at the Super Bowl. This is ridiculious

      • peter copeland

        a lot of what you are paying for is being at RR, Its an amazing place, and its owned by the city, so you pay more for that. Also, as a casual sound engineer, louder is NOT always “better”, it requires more processing.

    • Dan

      Apparently you’ve never been to a Red Rocks show and sat above row 40. You might as well stay home and put on your favorite bootleg of the band you went to see. You won’t hear anything above row 40 except the distant sound of music beneath the din of never-ending talking by the fans who paid, “Top dollar,” so that they can tell everyone they know that they were present when their favorite performer put on a show.

      The quality of sound a Red Rocks is honestly quite questionable, at best. If you sit on the right side of the venue, the sound is terrible, because of the strange way that the seats are offset away from the stage to accommodate the shape of the amphitheater, pushing the seating far to the right of the PA. In fact, even dead-center in the venue there are pockets where the sound is awful.

      All that said, even as someone who likes it loud, there is nothing unreasonable about those restrictions after midnight on a weekday or after 1am on a weekend.

      • Willy Maykit

        Uhhh…thanks for the expert analysis…not.
        If I want to hear some kid talk-shit about sound quality, in one of this country’s most legendary and historic venue’s, that has hosted hundreds of symphonies from around the world… you’ll be the first one i call…

      • kirk

        “The quality of sound a Red Rocks is honestly quite questionable, at best” – Dan

        Please do not come to Red Rocks shows, no one wants your negative Nancy energy at one of the greatest venues in the world.

      • peter copeland

        Their Meyer line array is amazing. Until you over drive it and it hits the limiter, this requires more processing, more processing general reduces audio quality. FYI.

    • Grant Martin

      Maybe us EDM junkies want to feel our music as well as listen to it.

    • Sawyer Schumacher

      thanks for the input mom.

  • Frank the Plumber

    If it’s too loud, you’re too old!

  • nizz

    O my gosh I am going to live buy a airport. Then complain the plans are to loud.

  • Jed

    Why did you interview someone who will never headline redrocks? Michal Menert sucks. He makes music for 16 year old kids to do drugs to. Oh and he tries to rap but he is terrible and always recites the same crap. You are not a rapper! even his own fans hate it. Get over yourself

  • Logan

    Well I hope Bassnectar just starts and ends earlier instead of cutting the quality of the sound system he brings each year. I understand people don’t want their town shaking all the time but I also agree that they should have known when they picked to live by a venue like that.

  • ducky

    For the sake of the venue, keep it reasonable. I love loud music, but I love red rocks even more. A couple summers ago during a sts9 show rocks fell and injured several people, and the cause was linked to the heavy bass shaking the rocks to the point of separating rocks and sending them down into the crowd. Its one thing if you want to have a super loud bass show in a stadium, but red rocks is irreplacable, we need to take care of it. It is as you all know the greatest venue in the world

  • Guest

    “The quality of sound a Red Rocks is honestly quite questionable, at best” – Ryan

    That is the dumbest thing I have ever read….