Will Call: Not so big noise
Either events are getting quieter or I need to get my ears checked.
The last time I attended Aspen’s Mac and Cheese Festival, my enjoyment was marred by music so loud I had a headache in the space of 10 minutes. Though dubstep and rap wouldn’t have been my first choice, I think I would have actually appreciated some music to make the lines feel shorter if it wasn’t so darn loud. With free mac and cheese samples to be had, I stuck it out for a while, but skipped a couple of years and returned this weekend with some trepidation. Attendance has continued to increase, so apparently it didn’t bother anybody else, yet I was pleased to find it about 30 decibels mellower.
Now, I’m probably on the crotchety end of the spectrum where music is concerned. I find it distracting and counterproductive to conversation in restaurants. I schedule my farmers market trips so that I’m out of there before the band starts. At amplified concerts I prefer to be near the back. I don’t have headphones in while I’m working, and I sometimes have to turn the radio off to concentrate while I’m driving.
I realize that society has no obligation to cater to my desires in this regard, but I think it’s reasonable to expect some consideration in terms of volume and timing of public events. My neighborhood a block off Main Street in Carbondale was fairly quiet when my family bought it. Then some bars got in the habit of leaving the doors open during loud midnight concerts, and the Fourth Street Plaza started attracting events. Soon, instead of choosing between poor sleep and leaving town a couple of nights a year, it became every weekend during the summer.
This year, though, was different. Events that typically went loud and late kept the volume reasonable and wound down around dusk. Some activities, such as One Town One Table, eschewed amplification altogether. With even Mac and Cheese Fest proving manageable, my wintertime column about enjoying the quiet times seems off base.
I know I’m not the only one who complains when it’s too loud, but I’d be curious to hear if anyone complained that things weren’t loud enough. Do people avoid cafes where they can hear each other talk, or do the baristas get bored?
If not, maybe this could be a new norm. It certainly seems like a good compromise to me.
Will Grandbois occasionally blasts Tchaikovsky in the car with the windows down to provide a little variety. He can be reached at 384-9105 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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