Tampa Residents Want Festivals Like OZZFEST To Turn Volume Down

Jay Cridlin of TampaBay.com has issued the following report:

John Snelling is no stranger to hard rock.

He sings and plays guitar for a Tampa band, MOBIUS LOOP. He's attended more than 400 concerts in his lifetime, including plenty by heavy metal stalwarts KORN.

It's tough, then, for Snelling to admit that KORN's Dec. 7 show at the Ford Amphitheatre was, well ... kind of lame.

"I've seen KORN 10 times now," said Snelling, 33, "and that's definitely the lowest I've ever seen."

Over the past half-year, more than 170 nearby residents have complained about excessive concert noise, spawning a lawsuit that could force Clear Channel to scrap all upcoming events until it can guarantee quieter, less disruptive concerts.

As the legal battles roll on, thousands of fans could be left singing the blues. Fans such as Snelling are complaining about watered-down acoustics. Will it be worth it, they wonder, to shell out $90 for a concert that might not live up to expectations?

"What if you were sitting in the lawn?" said Rachel Gillett, 28, who attended STING and NORAH JONES, two softer concerts that still violated noise standards. "It's bad enough that you can't see. If you can't hear, what's the point of being there?"

Last week, Clear Channel countersued the Hillsborough County Environmental Protection Commission, asking that amphitheatre concerts be exempt from a noise ordinance it calls "unconstitutional."

"So far, artists are enthusiastic about coming to Tampa," amphitheatre executive director Ed Morrell said in a statement. "However, if EPC enforcement is too stringent, we may have challenges booking acts in the future."

Many performers prefer outdoor amphitheatres — or "sheds," as they're known in the industry — to indoor arenas. OZZY OSBOURNE, for example, brought Ozzfest to the Fairgrounds last summer; it was his first local stop in years, largely because no other outdoor venue suited his needs.

Will a metal-fest like Ozzy's return if bands are told they'll have to turn down the volume? Not likely, says promoter John "Jack" Bodziak, owner of St. Petersburg's Jannus Landing, which faced stiff noise complaints in the late '80s and early '90s.

"A lot of the music that comes down the pike is alternative rock — that's the hot music right now," said Bodziak, 32. "You're going to get a large amount of groups that the Ford Amphitheatre is not going to be able to (book) because of this. It's a shame." Read more.

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