Sound Restrictions Damaging Soul of the City

RECEIVED Fri., June 12, 2009

Dear Austin Chronicle,
    I attended the Gourds concert at Shady Grove on June 4 with my girlfriend unit (GFU). We went inside and ate dinner and then came outside. The only chairs left were pretty far back, so we stood just under the patio cover about 50 feet from the stage. We were in the center, a perfect place to hear the show. There was one small problem though; we couldn't hear the music. Everyone was talking, and the sound level was so low that we couldn't even hear the words of the singer.
    After a few songs, we decided to leave because the sound level was not adequate for that number of people. GFU and I were both shocked to hear the show was later cited for being too loud. Huh? We had both decided the venue was too crowded and the sound quality so poor that we were not interested in future shows. The Shady Condo just didn't have the appeal that Shady Grove used to have.
    I really sympathize with Kevin Russell (the Gourds) and the rest of the musicians in the "live" music capital [“Postmarks,” June 12]. Shady Condos is only the latest price all of us Texans pay for overdevelopment and underrestrictions of development.
    While no one seems to mind ignoring setbacks, cutting down trees, and impervious cover restrictions so condos can be built, the city of Austin government continues to refuse to enact reasonable restrictions to keep the soul of this wonderful city.
    Businesses trying to provide a value-added product of music to their venues are victims of a police state where one whiny "Texain't" can stop the enjoyment of hundreds. Where are the restrictions that historic music venues will have events until a reasonable hour (10pm or so) with reasonable sound levels? Shoot, the former residents of Shady Grove always bragged they got free concert music piped in! Go ahead Austin, kill the goose that laid the golden egg. Viva la 1980 crash!
David Klein, Ph.D.
San Marcos
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