To The Editor,
This weekend, anyone who lived within approximately a mile of Vankleek Hill was “treated” to two solid days of approximately 12 hours per day of “music,” if one could call it that. What it sounded like most of the time, was an extremely loud concoction of angry, slurred, unmelodic angst, with a distinctly aggressive edge that literally assaulted the ears and body. All we, and many of the neighbors with whom we spoke, wanted to do was enjoy the beautiful sun and warmth, work in our gardens and relax with family and friends for a meal in the backyard. If peace and quiet were what we were seeking, it was utterly impossible. The music blared, at unreasonable decibels, from 10:45 am to 11 pm both nights. It felt like we were being assaulted. It stunned us that they were permitted to begin playing on Sunday morning before church was even over, and the last act was scheduled to begin on Sunday evening at 10:15 pm, running to 11 pm. Really?!
We imagined the people who attended the amazing classical music concert at Knox Church on Saturday night having to walk in, and then out again into a night filled with “that.” By Sunday evening at around 9 p.m., curious to see how many punk aficionados were still there, we drove down to the fair grounds, and I estimated, generously, there were about 40 people in front of the stage. In the meantime, all of us who wanted a quiet Sunday evening, or might need to be in bed by 10 p.m. in order to get up for work the next day, forget about it. Even with earplugs, you could hear it.
So, we have a few questions: we noticed that some of the businesses who supported this “entertainment” were actually local, and we wonder, did they know what they were bringing to town? Are there not certain regulations about the volume that music can be played, so that an entire town does not have to be subjected to it? Who actually made the decision to allow these people to come, here of all places? And by what criteria are such decisions made? We know the annual fair makes some noise, as does Oktoberfest, but somehow, both of these fit with the basic nature of our little town. In contrast, the punk music played this weekend was like an invasion of aliens. If we knew that the money the organizers made was going to the Vankleek Hill food bank or some other local charity, we might feel a little less angry, but if not, we all paid an awfully high price, for something we suspect few of us wanted, or enjoyed. If there’s an explanation we’d love to hear it. If not, perhaps the entire process by which such groups are allowed to play outdoor concerts for 12 hours at day at unregulated decibels needs to be seriously re-examined.
Reenie Marx, Wendy Watson, Wendell Hyde
Editor’s note: The letter-writers are referring to the first edition of Vankleek Hill Farm Fest, which took place June 9 and 10 at the Vankleek Hill fairgrounds and promised rock, metal and punk music for attendees.
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