RFK EDM festival echoes through DC in suburbs due to weather

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The pounding of the bass reverberated for miles.

It shook homes and kept neighbors in DC and suburban Maryland awake, subjecting many to an unwanted rave that lasted long after school kids’ bedtime with morning exams.

The real concert — GLOW Festival project — took place at the city-run festival grounds at RFK Stadium and was scheduled to take place Saturday and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. to celebrate the city’s dance culture. But Sunday’s weather made the sound travel far and wide, upsetting residents who took to social media and community groups over the weekend to complain about electronic dance music that was frustrating and seemingly endless.

“Who had the brilliant idea to organize the glow party on a school night? I’m nowhere near RFK and we can clearly hear the bass and the music and the kids are still standing,” a user tweeted Sunday at 10:01 p.m.

“This 48 hour gig at #rfk continuing at 10:30pm on a Sunday night is shaking my windows from 1.5 miles away,” another wrote.

“My whole timeline is now made up of GenExers (e.g. me) talking about EDM #glowfest 3.4 miles away vibrating all night before our kids’ standardized testing tomorrow and I don’t know whether to laugh or cry,” a user tweeted Sunday at 10:39 p.m.

On Monday, Events DC, the city’s official convention and sports authority, responded to the chorus of complaints, tweeting that it was “a top priority” to make changes to dampen this kind of high-profile noise from future events. Broccoli City Festival, an annual music event that has brought hip-hop, rap and R&B artists to the district, will be held at the RFK site this Saturday and Sunday.

“We sincerely apologize for the disruption during the Project GLOW festival. We take our responsibility to the community seriously,” the statement read. “We will be implementing changes at future events to better control levels of noise.”

These measures include revising the event timing policy, speaker placement and direction, and “enhanced monitoring” of the soundboard, wrote Craig Chester, Events director of marketing, sports and entertainment. DC, in an email to the Washington Post.

Representatives for the GLOW project did not immediately respond to a request for comment. City officials, including a representative from the DC Office of United Communications, did not immediately respond to a request for comment and were unable to immediately provide data regarding noise complaints.

Prior to the event, DC Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) tweeted “Project Glow is in town this weekend, and we’re thrilled to celebrate 20 years of dance culture in the District! Join us today and tomorrow in the heart of DC at the RFK Festival Grounds for a vibrant celebration of community and dance. #DCisOpen.”

A weather phenomenon known as a temperature inversion amplified the festival’s electronic music early on Sunday. As the air near the ground cooled, a layer of warm air lingered above the colder one. The hot air acted as a cover, sending the music back down to the ground and allowing it to travel long distances.

Such inversions are also known to trap smoke and air pollution – this happens with the 4th of July fireworks – and intensify the sound of thunderstorms.

In September, a storm in Fairfax County triggered a jarring boom due to an inversion, surprising residents across the region. On Monday morning, New Yorkers were awakened by resounding claps of thunder which set off car alarms as an inversion amplified the volume of a passing thunderstorm.

The GLOW Project has been streaming electronic music in DC since 1999, but its organizers typically choose out-of-town venues for large outdoor events. He used Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, Virginia in conjunction with Live Nation for the Identity Festival and Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore during the Moonrise Festivalwhich returns in August for the first time since 2019.

Until last weekend, the closest GLOW to having an outdoor festival in his hometown was a performance in the parking lot of Love, a now closed nightclub in Ivy City.

GLOW, which was acquired by Insomniac Events, a national production company behind major EDM festivals, staged its first two-day dance festival across two stages at the RFK site, where an admission pass two-day general started at $155. The setup included areas called “Pulse Stage” and “Eternal Stage” for the large lineup of artists, as well as a “Unity Square” with a Ferris wheel.

“I wanted to do something in DC proper,” Pete Kalamoutsos, co-founder and CEO, previously told The Post. “I think it’s long overdue. It took 20 years of preparation. »

But outside the festival grounds, people were irritated.

Social media users said they heard the music in neighborhoods including Navy Yard, Bloomingdale’s, Brookland, Petworth, Woodridge and Anacostia, and in Maryland suburbs including Hyattsville, Cheverly, Greenbelt and Berwyn Heights. Police officers in Mount Rainier, Maryland even went after the source of the noise over the weekend after “numerous calls, emails and texts regarding the music that seems to be shaking our city”, according to a statement on the department’s Facebook page.

Officers “shut off all sources of loud music” on Saturday, only for residents to hear the noise coming back on Sunday. Eventually, an off-duty officer tracked the sounds to DC and found the source: “there is techno music playing at RFK Stadium for the event below and the sound is indeed coming back to the city”, wrote the department.

Denise Krepp, an advisory ward commissioner who lives about five blocks from the RFK site, said she sent so many complaints that she called several city agencies: the district public works department about parking enforcement near the site, the DC police to alert public urination officers, and representatives from Events DC about the noise on a school night.

Residents added their own complaints, saying people were sitting on private property waiting for transport, defecating in alleyways and crossing stop signs, according to emails Krepp had shared with The Post. On social media, parents pointed out that the children were losing sleep the day before the Partnership for the Assessment of College and Vocational Readiness test.

“It was just boom, boom, boom and you could hear it in Eastern Market, you could hear it in the Northeast. You could hear it everywhere. And when you’re as close as I am…it was consistent,” Krepp said. “It was a low-grade migraine that lasted 12 hours a day.”

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