Deep bass notes reverberate from Dick’s Sporting Goods Park as a thunderous burst of applause roars into the summer sky. Thousands of revelers writhe to the pulsing beat under the cover of the Colorado night. It’s another evening of live music at Dick’s near North Stapleton. Artists including the popular electronic music deejay Bassnectar, the legendary jam band Phish and country star Luke Bryan enjoy the spacious and conveniently located sports arena—as do their fans—but what do the neighbors have to say about the music?
“We love the concerts at Dick’s,” says Meagan Partilla, who lives about a mile from the stadium in North Stapleton’s Conservatory Green neighborhood. “My family and I like to enjoy the ‘free’ shows from the comfort of our front porch.”
Despite Partilla’s appreciation of the sound, other neighbors in closer proximity to Dick’s are less enthusiastic.
“It can be very annoying, especially when it goes past 10pm,” says Staci Harmon, who recently moved to the Willow Park East area just a few blocks from the Dick’s complex. “It shouldn’t go that late for the sake of people trying to sleep. We were told they don’t hold a lot of concerts and that we wouldn’t hear it, but we can hear it even with the windows closed. If it has a heavy bass, it vibrates the windows. I wouldn’t mind so much if it didn’t go so late, but some concerts have gone past midnight. When Phish comes in September, we plan to sleep in a motel for those three nights.”
Harmon says that the regular sporting events at Dick’s and the occasional fireworks displays do not bother her and her family but that these events pale in terms of impact when compared to the concerts. Yet while some lament the location of their homes during the multiday music runs, the presence of a world-class stadium near Stapleton is considered a plus by neighbors including the adjacent Rocky Mountain Wildlife Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge.
“Dick’s is a big positive for our local economy and we see lots of visitors swinging by before and after various events,” says director at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge Dave Lucas. “We haven’t observed any issues from music and wildlife, but we do dislike the multiday concerts where there is camping. The camping scene has resulted in increased issues for our law enforcement officers. It can get pretty intense with drugs and alcohol and all that goes along with people hanging around without a lot to do in between the shows. Most people behave, but the refuge is not staffed to provide 24-hour security, EMS, etc., for the ones who do not.”
Lucas says the wildlife refuge added additional officers for the two Bassnectar concerts at the end of July and that it will do the same for the upcoming September Phish shows, as it has done in the past.
“They keep plenty busy,” he says of the officers. “Unfortunately, this is an unrecoverable cost, which means we end up doing less of something else that we are supposed to do.”
Other complaints of nearby residents include the use of surrounding neighborhoods for free parking and the related littering by concert-goers, though some neighbors point out that homebuyers knew what they were in for when they purchased properties close to the venue.
“The stadium was present long before they bought their homes,” says Partilla. “People who complain about the noise need to go buy a sound dampening machine. Though I understand that the closer you are to the stadium the more intense it can be.”
To address neighborhood concerns, venues such as Boulder’s Folsom Field and Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre in Morrison have imposed curfews for shows. The recent Dead & Company events at Folsom Field had an 11pm. cutoff, and Red Rocks shows end no later than 11:45pm on weekdays and 12:30am on weekends and holidays. Red Rocks has also set volume limits on the popular electronic dance music known as EDM. Residents of Morrison complain of rattling windows during the bass-heavy performances.
Dick’s says their shows will end between midnight and 12:30am and that they are aware of the sound elements associated with the live music and are working with all respective parties to manage the experience in the venue and surrounding areas.
The intensity of sound is measured in decibels (dB).
– The softest sound the human ear can hear is 0 dB.
– Normal talking volume is between 40-60 dB.
– Rock concerts are generally between 110-120 dB.
Some shows reach as high as 140 dB.