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SnowGlobe kicks off, noise overwhelms neighbors

Dylan Silver
dsilver@tahoedailytribune.com
Adam Jensen / Tahoe Daily TribuneBig Gigantic's Dominic Lalli plays the SnowGlobe Music Festival's main stage Thursday night.
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SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – Though almost everyone seemed happy at the first night of the SnowGlobe Music Festival, not all residents were smiling. The noise from the festival drew some complaints from around town.

“Nothing like this has ever happened,” said Frank Cannon, who lives on Kubel Avenue, across the meadow from the event. “How something like this is allowed, I just don’t understand.”

While fans were dancing away to the last show of the evening, Pretty Lights, Cannon and his partner were unable to sleep. Cannon uses a hearing aid. He could still hear the sounds and feel the vibrations without the device in, he said.

“There’s this constant thump of the bass and drums. It was this pounding,” Cannon said. “We had to stay up until it was over.”

The city has taken dozens of calls from people complaining about the noise. Officials met with festival organizers to try and find a solution to the problem.

“It’s a dynamic situation,” said special events coordinator Lauren Thomaselli before the meeting. “We anticipated this somewhat, but we’re also very sensitive to community concerns.”

City spokeswoman Nancy Kerry said festival organizers will turn down the volume for Friday and Saturday nights, but Bassnectar’s music Friday night is expected to be the loudest of the festival. And the bass is heavy.

Kerry said the music is louder and travels farther than she anticipated, which was difficult to plan for.

It’s been difficult to balance the complaints of residents and the benefits of the festival, Kerry said.

“Some people have said ‘is it worth it,'” Kerry said. “Can we handle a few hours of noise for three days to attract 10,000 people to town?”

SnowGlobe’s sister festival SnowBall in Avon, Colorado poured $4.5 million into the town, Kerry added. And the city received about the same amount of noise complaints as they did Thursday and Friday during the summer concert series at Harveys Resort and Casino.

Festival organizers offered to buy drinks and appetizers at Murphy’s Pub for anyone affected by the noise Friday night. They will also end the New Year’s Eve show at 12:30 a.m., half an hour earlier than planned.

For next year, Kerry said the city is already looking into holding the festival at Lake Tahoe Airport. It wasn’t held there this year because events at the airport must have a Federal Aviation Administration permit, which can take months to obtain, Kerry said.

College president Kindred Murillo said the festival is going well so far. There has been minimal damage to the field and the rest of the facility, she added.

“The field is remarkable. There’s been very little damage,” Murillo said. “The college has been treated respectfully.”

One of the larger problems was the amount of trash that accumulated Thursday night, but producers were looking to fix that with more garbage cans for the duration, she said.

There have been few police incidents or medical emergencies at the event, Kerry said.

Murillo said she has received some noise complaints, but she’s also received reports that SnowGlobe fans are filling up businesses. The music is loud, but not too loud for her, she said.

“I guess I’ve been exposed to them before,” she said.


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