By the recent posts on Facebook, after another rained out Maine Savings Pavilion concert that left attendees repeatedly running for cover to vehicles or an overflowing event tent, many returned to find their high price seats occupied by others not wearing the/any designated wristband and without security to enforce the mayhem. Short set performances brought further disappointment, without refunds or compensation. That, followed by a chaotic parking exodus, best described the event.

As a Westbrook resident I’m not happy, either. Waterfront Concert hasn’t provided a performing arts structure reflective of the development architecturally depicted by Wakefield & Beasley Associates on the Rock Row website. This stage looks like an erector set poorly executed and placed. For a venue that describes itself as, “…Significantly larger than any in southern Maine… for large scale performances not previously possible in the region,” there should be a much grander covered seating facility so weather or noise isn’t an issue.

Examples such as Xfinity Center in Mansfield, Massachusetts, and Rockland Trust Pavilion and Hatch Shell in Boston are the caliber of structures the city of Westbrook should be insisting on for final approval, in addition to changing the stage placement site towards the southbound direction of Maine Turnpike lanes. These changes could reduce, contain and redirect the noise that pours to surrounding residential neighborhoods as complaint calls have reported. At just under a mile form the venue, we’ve had our windows and home vibrate from the bass and fireworks used during performances. The vocals and music are distorted to become only annoyingly loud noise.

Living in Maine our summer season is eight weeks at best. On those few hot summer nights many like to enjoy their backyards. The intrusion of Waterfront Concerts venue upon so many is best described as a “disturbance of the peace.”

If Waterfront Concerts had invested the capital initially in this venue’s infrastructure, it’s likely calls to the Events Compliance Officer would be greatly reduced. (207-558-6007 is their number, our Police Department doesn’t want to hear from us.)

The Rock Row project can be a real plus for the area if the design is built with consideration of those in attendance and the residents in the surrounding area. Thus far the performance hasn’t hit any high notes and is missing some beats before harmony can be achieved. Lets hope Waterfront Concerts makes this an outstanding venue worthy of the Rock Row vision.

Patricia Youland

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