Rock Row community liaison Lynda Adams listens to a resident from Portland’s Nason’s Corner at a community meeting on Rock Row Tuesday night. At right, Waterfront Concerts’ Alex Gray writes down the resident’s address. Chance Viles/American Journal

WESTBROOK — Rock Row officials have doubled down on promises for noise mitigation for Maine Savings Pavilion concerts, saying they plan to monitor sound levels at specific residences and bring in scientists and sound experts to analyze their data.

The Portland City Council last week sent a letter to Rock Row owner Waterstone Properties Group requesting decibel readings for each show and other data about noise complaints from residents, which have come primarily from Nason’s Corner in Portland. Westbrook residents have complained as well about the dozen concerts Waterfront Concerts has held at the venue since May 26 when hip hop and funk artist Anderson. Paak headlined.

Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling said as of Monday he hadn’t heard back in response to the letter.

“I hope to hear back soon,” he said.

Rapper Earl Sweatshirt waves to the crowd after his set at the Maine Savings Pavilion May 26. Since that concert, Westbrook and Portland residents have complained the concerts have been too loud. File photo

At a community meeting Tuesday, Rock Row community liaison Lynda Adams said the company is compiling the requested data and will respond to Portland councilors “shortly.”

Strimling said because the concert venue is in Westbrook and out of Portland’s purview, there is nothing the Portland council can do to enforce noise limits. The council decided to send the letter to Waterstone principal Josh Levy to advocate on behalf of Portland residents who have been impacted by the noise coming from the venue.


Strimling said Portland had issues with noise pollution when Waterfront Concerts organized concerts at the Maine State Pier.

Rock Row plans to bring in sound engineers and scientists from institutions like Massachusetts Institute of Technology to analyze their data and look at better ways to mitigate noise, Adams said.

“Our goal is to address this, the last thing we want is an angry mob so to speak,” Alex Gray of Waterfront Concerts said at the meeting. “We are working to have our plans for the permanent venue, which I believe will address a lot of these concerns, within the next 18 months.”

The Westbrook Planning Board has given Rock Row a five-year permit to create the permanent venue.

Gray, who took down addresses of people who had noise complaints at the meeting, said sound monitors will be sent to specific homes, rather than set up on streets where complainants live as has been done in the past, to better understand the noise issue.

Gray also noted that the Portland City Council has recently worked on noise limits for their own city that are far more lenient than Rock Row’s.


“I encourage you to learn about that and get involved in that process,” Gray said.

On July 15, Portland City Council approved a new entertainment license program that set noise limitations of 85 dBa (A-weighted decibels) and 95 dBc (C-weighted decibels), with time limits of concerts ending at midnight on weekdays and 1 a.m. on weekends. Comparatively, Westbrook does not allow decibel readings of over 50 outside of the venue, with concerts ending at 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. Gray maintains that the concerts have not exceeded the legal limit set by the Westbrook Planning Board.

“Some concerts have improved, but I feel that some have gotten even louder, the recent Flogging Molly concert was as bad as the first ones,” said Bobby Shaddox, a Nason’s Corner resident.

“In the sense of peak noise and sustained noise, the first concert was 400% louder than Flogging Molly, so we’ve made dramatic improvements,” Gray said. “I buy that. Paak was too loud, and I am sorry about that, but we are getting better.”

Gray said that scientists and sound engineers would be able to take data points of decibel readings compared with noise complaints and figure out if there is a geographic or atmospheric anomaly that can explain why one house may hear the noise, and their neighbor be entirely unaffected.

“It’s in our best interest to work on this and fix this. Obviously, with you all here, we have not fixed the problem, but we are improving,” Gray said.

The next show slated for the Maine Savings Pavilion is country singer Chris Young on Sep. 28. No more Rock Row public meetings have been scheduled as of yet.

Staff Writer Michael Kelley contributed to this story.

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