Matthew Pearson, Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa's folk music festival is coming to Lansdowne Park.
As arts writer Lynn Saxberg reports in Tuesday's Citizen, the newly-named CityFolk will take place at the redeveloped Bank Street park from Sept. 17 to 20, 2015.
The festival has spent the past four years at the bucolic, if a bit muddy, Hog's Back Park, but organizers appear to be after a more accessible site with better electrical and water hook-ups.
Lansdowne's got that, but it's also got neighbours. Lots of them. And if the noise from the festival prompted complaints and charges last year — when the main stage was located several kilometres away — one can only imagine what will happen when the stage is closer.
Saxberg's story says organizers will be mindful of the direction the main stage faces and are thinking about presenting shows earlier in the evening, so the music will be finished by 10 p.m., instead of 11 p.m.
Capital Coun. David Chernushenko spoke out about the complaints he received after the first night of this year's festival, saying at the time that it was the organizer's responsibility to ensure the city's noise bylaws weren't being broken.
Keeping noise under control has nothing to do with stopping people from having fun, Chernushenko said then.
"It's about respect ... I'm just tired of talking to festival organizers and having them argue with me, and tell me I'm wrong, and that my residents are just a bunch of no-fun party poopers, that, really, it wasn't that bad."
On Tuesday, I asked him what he thinks now that the festival is moving to Lansdowne.
I was clear from the outset that I wasn't against the idea ... but they have to be state-of-the-art, they have to be at the very cutting edge of understanding how to control noise, both sound bleed and particularly the deep bass vibrations that are a big part of new sound systems and are the greater disturbance to people. It's actually the vibrations more than the sound.
I'm pleased to work with them in partnership but they've really got to take a leadership role and say, 'We want to make it work and we're going to show you that we can."
It's on that basis that I've said, 'Let's try it.'
While some have accused him and others of being spoil sports, it's hard not to have some sympathy for him, and the nearby residents, when faced with the potential of loud rock concerts.
Consider this: On the same day of the CityFolk announcement, the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group announced '80s hair band Def Leppard will "undoubtedly shake the foundations" when they play a show at the TD Place arena next May.
A poor choice of words, perhaps, considering that's exactly what many have feared about Lansdowne all along.