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Spring Awakening organizers taking precautions to cut down on noise issues


Calvin Harris

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Updated: July 15, 2013 7:17PM

When the touring Electric Daisy Carnival rolled into the Chicago Speedway in Joliet last month, many neighbors near the venue attended the show — whether they intended to or not.

The electronic dance concert festival generated 500 noise complaints during its three-day, late-night run over Memorial Day weekend, according to area officials.

This weekend, another thumping electronic music festival comes to town — this time setting up shop in downtown Chicago. The Spring Awakening Music Festival features DJs and tech-music pioneers on four stages inside and around Soldier Field each afternoon and evening Friday through Sunday.

Should residents in the South Loop run to the drugstore for earplugs?

“People should expect to hear some music. It is an outdoor music festival. But we have taken every measure to help reduce excessive sound,” says Zach Partin of Chicago’s React Presents, which produces the annual festival. “We planned ahead and directed each stage’s sound away from residents and the harbor to help reduce sound bleed in either direction.”

The Electric Daisy Carnival featured not only pounding music until 4 a.m., fireworks also were scheduled each night — near 1 a.m. After the first night of complaints, the event’s producers dialed down the volume by a third and moved the fireworks back to 10 p.m.

At Spring Awakening this weekend, the three stages outside the stadium will go silent at 10 p.m. each night, and the main stage inside the stadium will shut down by 11 p.m. — an hour before the cut-off required by the city. Bonus: no fireworks.

Partin says his event received a few noise complaints last year during its inaugural run. In response, the music start and end times have been adjusted this year.

“You really can’t hear it from Soldier Field,” says Richard Ward, president of the New Eastside Association of Residents representing the northeast park side of the Loop. “The isolation of the stadium is much better. It’s not outstanding — there’s still a growing [residential] population there — but at least there aren’t so many older buildings near Soldier Field. It’s the older buildings, without double-paned glass and modern patio doors, where people really suffer.”

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