MORRISON —The city and county of Denver began implementing rules on sound pressure levels and event end times at Red Rocks Amphitheatre as of Jan. 1 in response to noise complaints from nearby residents and the town of Morrison.

The complaints stemmed mainly from the rise in popularity of electronic dance music, known as EDM, at the venue, Denver's director of arts and venues Kent Rice acknowledged in a September 2013 YourHub article about the issue.

The city and county of Denver owns and operates Red Rocks Amphitheatre and answered concerns brought forth in 2013 with a closer look at the noise.

Ghostland Observatory performs during Winter on the Rocks at Red Rocks Amphitheater on Jan. 31.
Ghostland Observatory performs during Winter on the Rocks at Red Rocks Amphitheater on Jan. 31. (Seth A. McConnell, YourHub)

Morrison hired its own noise consultant to examine Red Rocks' new rules and present recommendations to the town board at its March 4 meeting. Town clerk Kara Zabilansky said the consultant would not talk about the presentation prior to the meeting, but recommendations could include waiting to see how the new rules work in the next summer concert season, or answering with additional concerns.

The new rules pertain to bass levels and performance end times, said Dan Rowland, assistant director of marketing and communications for Denver Arts & Venues said.

One rule looks at the average decibels for the whole show, Rowland said, and that it shall not exceed 105 decibels for one-minute averages after midnight on weekdays and 1 a.m. on weekends and holidays.


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Another refers to bass levels and that they can't exceed 125 decibels at the low-frequency levels of 25-80 hertz for one-minute averages after midnight on weekdays and 1 a.m. on weekends and holidays, referring to low-frequency bass noise.

Michal Menert is a Denver-based electronic music artist who has performed at Red Rocks with Pretty Lights Music and said the regulations are reasonable and understandable given the rise of electronic music shows at the venue. He said he is even in favor of toning down the sound systems that have become overkill in the genre.

"If anything, this is going to bring more dynamic out in the music because it will allow more frequencies to breathe," he said. "It will be less in-your-face sound coming at you and more dynamic."

The levels will be measured by the city's equipment at the front-of-house mix position. Performers could be charged $10,000 for every five times, consecutive or not, that the one-minute decibel limit is exceeded in a given performance.

Performers could face a $5,000 fine for each 30-minute increment they are in violation of the curfews listed.

Rowland said these kinds of regulations are new at the venue, but are also simply internal guidelines Denver is imposing on itself.

"Red Rocks has been a world-class music venue for more than 70 years now and we're constantly policing ourselves to make sure this cherished venue is operated with our public's best interests in mind," he said in an e-mail. "These guidelines are intended to address the two to three complaints we've gotten the last couple of years related to these very specific shows."

Josie Klemaier: 303-954-2465, jklemaier@denverpost.com, @JosieKlemaier