Officials say changes are coming after Hutto neighbors voice noise complaints over music festival

Williamson County

HUTTO, Texas (KXAN) — A socially distanced concert in Hutto this weekend has caused some concern.

Some neighbors say they could hear the music–and feel the bass–inside their homes a few miles away.

“Because I just had a baby in the midst of COVID season, I have been dealing with some sleep issues issues which I hadn’t previously been dealing with– almost like anxiety-induced insomnia at some point,” says Lauren Krienke, who lives about two miles away from the Brushy Creek Amphitheater.

So, when she tried to go to bed around 9 p.m. on Friday night, Krienke tried to block the noise outside.

“I had a fan on, I ended up putting these headphones in with the ambient rain noise,” she recalls.

Krienke says around 10:30 p.m., she realized the noise was coming from the music venue.

It turns out Krienke, who used to work for KXAN, wasn’t the only neighbor to hear Friday night’s Hometown Heroes concert, featuring Snoop Dogg, Nelly and Stoney LaRue.

“It was six, seven hours of, you know, the bass just rattling all the walls and windows,” says Hana Huber, who lives four miles away from the amphitheater. “There was cussing, there’s kids in the neighborhood, our pool is right there.”

Huber says she started hearing noise inside her home as early as Thursday evening.

The general manager of the amphitheater tells KXAN because of COVID-19 safety precautions, they spread the crowd out into pods six feet apart.

“Because of this, the fan footprint was much larger at the amphitheater which required more audio production than we normally set up for a concert. This can explain why the sound and bass seemed to travel quite a ways,” Kolby Cunningham wrote in an email to KXAN.

Concert-goers were separated into “pods” six feet apart during the Hometown Heroes Music Festival. (Photo courtesy Brushy Creek Amphitheater)

Cunningham is part of Ryan Sanders Sports and Entertainment, which helps manage the Brushy Creek Amphitheater, owned by the City of Hutto.

Cunningham says they sent notifications to neighbors prior to the event but are now “working on expanding this list of public notifications to send out prior to events because of this weekend’s concerns spreading further than anticipated.”

Cunningham says and they will also place tighter restrictions on the use of profanity over the amplified speaker system.

“A mere change of direction of where the speakers are could help a lot,” Huber says.

“I welcome new and exciting things in Hutto, but I think that there’s probably a way that they can make it so the bass isn’t in your soul, like in your bed while you’re trying to sleep,” Krienke says.

Cunningham and a spokesperson for the city say they’re working to make changes.

“Brushy Creek Amphitheater is a huge asset to the community and our neighbors are important to us. We will continue to listen to community feedback (we welcome it) and use that to develop new policies and practices to improve the quality of events that we produce… not only for the fans that attend but our neighbors, as well,” Cunningham wrote.

The City of Hutto is pleased with the Hometown Heroes Music Festival held this weekend at the Brushy Creek Amphitheater. This was a great opportunity to bring a safe, socially distanced event to the Hutto community and Central Texas. We will continue to work with all of our partners, including sound engineers, to make improvements for not only attendees, but neighbors of the amphitheater as well. The City of Hutto is committed to continue bringing quality of life events to our community.

Stacy Schmitt, City of Hutto spokesperson

Cunningham also noted that although the city had granted the venue a noise exemption permit for the weekend, crews kept an eye decibel levels throughout the event. Cunningham says it was consistently around 70 to 80 decibels at the property line.

The City of Hutto’s calendar shows another concert at the amphitheater next weekend.

Cunningham says that event, as well as the one set for Oct. 24, “will be scaled down in terms of audio production, as they will be configured with a smaller set up.”

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