Date: December 15, 2004
A Korn performance held at Clear Channel's Ford Amphitheatre, Dec. 7, located on the grounds of the Florida State Fair, Tampa, was apparently the last straw for Hillsborough County officials dealing with noise violations and complaining residents.
The commission has voted to file for injunctive relief until Clear Channel Entertainment, owner of the $23 million, 20,000-capacity venue that opened in July, can “prove they have taken the right precautions and can operate within the noise compliance.”
“The next step will be to go in front of a judge who will make a determination whether or not to grant us that relief,” said Rick Garrity, executive director, Hillsborough County Environmental Protection Commission (EPC). He doesn't know when that could happen, but since the amphitheater's season is officially over and no concerts are scheduled for the next several months, there is time, he said.
Garrity said that after the first several concerts this summer, there were just a few complaints from surrounding residents. But a concert in August resulted in 50 to 60 complaints being phoned in to the office the next morning.
“Our staff has personally gone out there to 12 events, including last Saturday's charity benefit by Charlie Daniels,” Garrity said. “In all of those events, they documented violations. In the Charlie Daniels event, we had someone in the booth and that noise violation was corrected. We have met with them several times and given them warning notices, but there are still violations,” he said. “People are still complaining that their windows are rattling twomiles away. They are still complaining they can hear the lyrics well.”
That was a major point to Korn's performance. Area residents complained they could hear Korn's profanity-laced lyrics in their homes very easily. A prepared statement from Clear Channel's Ed Morrell, at the Ford Amphitheatre, simply stated: “The Ford Amphitheatre continues to work closely with the EPC with regard to sound issues. We look forward to continuing our working relationship until a solution of these issues is in place.”
Charles Pesano, executive director, Florida State Fair Authority, said the Fair Authority leases the land the theater sits on to Clear Channel.
“I think it is our role to assist in any way we can for these two entities to reach are solution on this,” Pesano said. “It seems these two entities have discussed plans over the past five or six weeks and I believe the communication has been good. I think it ought to be allowed to let these two entities continue to talk.”
Pesano said Clear Channel thought they would meet the standards, but “sometimes the modeling doesn't meet what you think it will.”
“But it is my understanding that Clear Channel has expressed complete willingness to abide by the standards,” he said. “We are committed to assist in this anyway we can.”
Although Garrity said he does think Clear Channel has done some things to reduce the noise levels, those efforts apparently haven't been enough. The commission would rather the venue shut down until it can prove it has done exactly what it needs to do.
Interviewed for this story: Rick Garrity (813) 272-5314; Charles Pesano, (813) 627-4220; Ed Morrell, (813) 740-2446