San Francisco music festivals strike sour notes 

click to enlarge Alison Mosshart sings with The Dead Weather at Outside Lands. Neighbors have complained about traffic and noise problems caused by concerts at Golden Gate Park. - SF EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • SF Examiner file photo
  • Alison Mosshart sings with The Dead Weather at Outside Lands. Neighbors have complained about traffic and noise problems caused by concerts at Golden Gate Park.

A new financial report about Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival is music to city officials’ ears, but some neighbors of Golden Gate Park still aren’t singing the praises of large concerts in the open space.

Supervisors Eric Mar and Carmen Chu, who represent the most-impacted neighborhoods, are set to hold a hearing today in an effort to ensure neighbors’ concerns continue to be addressed. Mar said the hearing will review what has been done and what needs to be done to address complaints about traffic, transportation, parking, noise and fan unruliness.

But the meeting also will let city officials tout the economic benefits of large concerts, Mar added.

Conveniently, a newly released San Francisco State University study found concertgoers spent more than $60 million in The City attending the latest Outside Lands. About $1.45 million of that money went to the coffers of the Recreation and Park Department, partly to be used for upkeep of parks and plazas.

Despite the report’s findings, some residents who live near the park say they don’t want their concerns about traffic, noise and unruly fans to be outweighed by big bucks.

For years, neighbors have griped about the massive influx of revelers at large events such as Outside Lands and the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival. In response, city officials and event organizers have added parking control officers, tow trucks and Muni service, and have attempted to provide neighbors with advance notice through the mail and in newspaper advertisements.

“For us, dialogue with the neighborhood is integral. … We try to cover every ground,” said Allen Scott, vice president of Another Planet Entertainment, which holds Outside Lands.

Ray Holland, president of the Planning Association for the Richmond, credits such steps as helping mitigate impacts.

But Holland believes there remains room for improvement. He said he plans to bring up traffic and parking issues at today’s hearing.

“It can be a nightmare when you can’t get home,” Holland said.

Holland wants Department of Parking and Traffic officers to swarm the area and enforce the rules of the road during large events. He also wants The City to keep distributing posters warning about penalties for blocking driveways near the park.

More also needs to be done to mitigate the impacts of smaller park events, Holland said.

While Rec and Park General Manager Phil Ginsburg said it’shard to please everyone, the ultimate goal is to balance the concerns of neighbors with the benefits of events that bring cash and culture to The City.

“I think most neighbors and community members understand that and are very gracious and patient,” Ginsburg said.

But there’s always room for improvement, he noted.

“Every year we try to get better and better and better,” he said. “We see it as an ongoing conversation.”

maldax@sfexaminer.com

Outside Lands impact


Results of a survey of concertgoers at the 2011 music and arts festival:

$60.60 Millions of dollars concert goers spent in The City

72.7 Percentage of attendees who live outside The City

32 Percentage who live in the state, but outside the Bay Area

1.9 Percentage who live outside the U.S.

683 Jobs, mostly short-term, created by the festival

Source: San Francisco State University

Correction: The information box has been corrected to state that $60.6 million was spent by concert goers in The City, rather than $60.6 per person.

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