Waterfront Concerts, which in recent years has promoted music events in Portland and Bangor, wants to cover Portland’s Maine State Pier to improve the concert experience and address noise complaints.

No details of the plan to cover the pier were presented Monday night to the City Council, which voted unanimously to allow the promoter to begin booking shows for the 2016 concert season. City Manager Jon Jennings said a plan will be presented to the council at a future meeting.

Councilor Jill Duson said the concept of covering the pier raises questions about whether it would be a permanent cover or a temporary one that would be installed only when concerts are held.

“That raised some flags for me,” Duson said. “I’ll be curious to learn more about that.”

Waterfront Concerts put on 27 shows at the Maine State Pier this summer. Councilors said they got complaints from residents who live on nearby Munjoy Hill and as far away as Back Cove. The city staff told the council that the promoter has worked hard to address any issues – including noise – as soon as they arise.

According to a memo to the council, the June 12 concert by Rusted Root and the Wailers generated the most complaints, 13. The Counting Crows concert on Aug. 20 generated five complaints. And Damian and Stephen Marley on Sept. 4 generated three complaints.


Peaks Island resident Arthur Fink described the sound levels at the adjacent Casco Bay Lines ferry terminal as a “physical assault.”

“It’s physically painful,” Fink said.

Noise complaints have also been a concern in Bangor, where the promoter is also considering building a covered outdoor venue along the Penobscot River.

Residents and councilors questioned whether other events would be allowed at the pier. Andrew Downs, director of public assembly facilities, said other events will be booked at the pier if the dates are available.

“This is not an exclusive,” Downs said. “We welcome other events to come down to the pier if those dates are available.”

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