Ascend Shed Noise Complaints

Nashville’s 6,800-capacity  opened with a bang this year, drawing big-name acts ranging from Janet Jackson and Lynyrd Skynyrd to Smashing Pumpkins, Eric Church and Widespread Panic. But there’s been a downside to an otherwise hit for downtown – complaints from neighbors about the noise. 
The Ascend Amphitheatre in Nashville gets ready for its July 30 debut. The $52 million, city-funded shed will serve as the summer home for the Nashville Symphony and the summer is loaded with acts like Eric Church, Phish, My Morning Jacket and Idina Menzel.

The new, city-owned Ascend Amphitheater has been the subject of complaints from residents in nearby condos and as far away as East Nashville.

Some have taken exception to shows that have approached 11 p.m. on school nights. Others, including downtown businesses, have objected to sound checks that take place during the day, according to the Tennessean.

“It’s like people are surprised that an outdoor amphitheater comes along with music and sound,” said Tommy Lynch, Metro Parks & Recreation Director. “It’s like they didn’t realize what we were building the last two and a half years.”

Lynch said the parks department is working with venue operator Live Nation and the Downtown Partnership to create what would be voluntary regulations for Live Nation to limit sound checks to certain parts of the day.

Metro adopted a downtown noise ordinance in 2009 that limits pre-recorded music in Nashville’s downtown to 85 decibels. But in a gesture to preserve Nashville’s Music City brand, live music was specifically exempt from that restriction as were outdoor entertainment venues owned by Metro.

Of Ascend Amphitheater’s 20-plus shows to date, only three acts have produced the bulk of complaints: Sublime, Marilyn Manson and Janet Jackson, the Tennessean said.

The shed is allowed to host up to 30 events each year but the venue didn’t open until August this inaugural season and has had a compressed schedule. The typical season will run April through late October.

“Live Nation is proactively working with Metro Parks to address the issue of noise complaints at the Ascend Amphitheater while also operating the building at industry standards and expectations,” the company said in a statement.