<b>CUT OFF:</b>  Citing a flurry of noise complaints from around the city, authorities ended Porter Robinson’s set early, to the dismay of his fans.

Joey Vitalari

CUT OFF: Citing a flurry of noise complaints from around the city, authorities ended Porter Robinson’s set early, to the dismay of his fans.

Earl Warren Disturbs the Peace

Deputies End Show in Middle of Performer’s Hit Song

Thursday, May 2, 2013
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The plug was literally pulled on a music show at Earl Warren Showgrounds this Saturday, the result of a record-high number of noise complaints from all over the city and what the officials characterized as an attempt by the performer to incite the crowd.

Porter Robinson, a 20-year-old electro deejay and producer, was roughly an hour and 20 minutes into his set ​— ​the headliner at the one-day Matador Music Festival, which supplemented the Santa Barbara Fair & Expo at the state-owned showgrounds Saturday ​— ​when authorities told him it was time to wrap up the show around 11 p.m.

In response to noise complaints, Scott Grieve, the CEO of the showgrounds, said he twice told Taylor Stevens of Collective Effort Events ​— ​which put on the show ​— ​that the volume needed to be turned down. Stevens said that while the decibel level was well under what is allowed, he had it lowered by three decibels both times.

But the complaints from citizens around Santa Barbara continued to pour in. People in all parts of the city, from the Westside, to the upper Riviera, Mission Canyon, Samarkand, and downtown, reported hearing the bump of the bass, though many didn’t necessarily know the Earl Warren show was the source of the noise. The Sheriff’s Department was getting numerous noise complaints, as was Grieve, who said he received about 20, an “all-time record” for complaints about a show at Earl Warren, which only hosts a handful each year, he said.

Sheriff’s Department spokesperson Kelly Hoover said that around 10 p.m., when Porter Robinson and his crew were asked to turn the music down, deputies and Grieve reminded the group of the 11 p.m. shutdown time. But there was apparent miscommunication between the promoter and Earl Warren officials about when the show was supposed to end. Stevens said the agreement was that the show would end at 11:30 p.m., while Grieve said his understanding was that the show would end at 11.

Stevens said around 11 p.m., a Sheriff’s deputy approached the soundboard and “told them they were going to shut us down.” A few minutes later, he said the deputy told them the music needed to be shut down immediately. Stevens, in turn, told Robinson’s people, who told the artist.

Robinson then told the crowd the next song would be his last because the police were ending the show. About three minutes into that song ​— ​his hit, “Language” ​— ​deputies told Grieve to pull the power cord, which Grieve did. While some said Robinson’s announcement to the crowd was graceful and not meant in a derogatory way toward law enforcement, Hoover said Robinson was attempting to “incite the crowd by saying that even though law enforcement was trying to shut them down, they were going to play one more song.”

On his Twitter account, Robinson apologized to people who had paid to see the show, saying “the police are not on your side.” He said the sheriff threatened to arrest him and seize all his equipment as evidence.

Hoover confirmed that did occur, saying that because Robinson was failing to comply, “according to our policy, the next course of action would be to issue him a criminal citation and confiscate his equipment to be used as evidence in court.”

Stevens said his group has a high standard for the shows it puts on, and the type of venue at Earl Warren ​— ​a closed, circular arena that forced noise up and out ​— ​may have contributed to the noise factor around the city.

Earl Warren presents an interesting dilemma for city officials. The showground is actually state owned and on county property, and ​— ​though surrounded by the city ​— ​does not have to go through the city for its permitting. The city used to regulate parking in the neighborhoods around Earl Warren during the fair weekend but stopped that practice two years ago.

This year brought roughly 53,000 people to the fair over the five days. Friday and Saturday had near-record crowds, while Sunday’s crowd hit an all-time high.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

It wasn't just loud for this one event. It is loud everytime there is an event with amplified music. Hours of screeching Mexican ranchera music the week before. Even with closed windows one can hear it.

I've lived by the Bowl for decades and rarely ever hear noise from their concerts. But the EWS events? Loud!

sez_me (anonymous profile)
May 2, 2013 at 8:37 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Nothing brings out the SB NIMBYs like a large crowd and bass.

Num1UofAn (anonymous profile)
May 2, 2013 at 10:47 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I say let the Fairgrounds rock. This town needs a breath of life.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
May 2, 2013 at 11:21 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Looks like I missed a great show.

sbsurfguy (anonymous profile)
May 2, 2013 at 11:25 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Threats of arrest after the fact rather than reasonable guidelines BEFORE the event. Perfect. (This guy is lucky it was SBSD and not SBPD, or he may have received the Aaron Tudor treatment.)

Beachgirl77 (anonymous profile)
May 2, 2013 at 4:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It really makes all of Santa Barbara look really bad with such Neanderthal behavior by the police, on an almost weekly basis now. While they're worried about noise from a music show people are being stabbed, robbed and raped.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
May 2, 2013 at 4:48 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I.e. why not just tell the sound guy to turn it down instead of creating an angry mob. imho.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
May 2, 2013 at 8:48 p.m. (Suggest removal)

ahh, let 'em rock ON! 11:30 is reasonable.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
May 3, 2013 at 9:23 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Hahah, wub wub!! Dubstep is music 2.0 :D

And the article says that they were under the legal decibel limit and they turned it down twice.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
May 3, 2013 at 9:23 a.m. (Suggest removal)

loonpt (anonymous profile)
May 3, 2013 at 9:29 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I've lived about 10 blocks from the bowl and used to hear all the shows from there as though I were sitting in the bowl. Sometimes, it was great...others not so much. When it was great, I would fire up the grill, pull out the lawn chair and relax and enjoy the "free" show, with a cold beverage.

brimo7272 (anonymous profile)
May 3, 2013 at 9:42 a.m. (Suggest removal)

If they were under the legal decibel max then this is a clear cut violation of the artists' civil rights and that of the audience.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
May 3, 2013 at 11:33 a.m. (Suggest removal)

You have three issues here:
1) (Some) neighbors generally unhappy with average sound levels.
2) Violation of First Amendment Rights of the Artist(s) and the audience.
3) If sound levels were above the legal max, unless it is an absolute emergency like a fire etc you don't suddenly stop a show (midsong!) to clear the house*. That is how panics and riots start.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
May 3, 2013 at 12:18 p.m. (Suggest removal)

^Ya, it's a good thing everybody was chillin w molly.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
May 3, 2013 at 1:04 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The numbing bass line might be integral to DJ Robinson's style, but it rattled out walls and windows several miles away from EWS (on the other side of the Bowl). It was so loud we actually went outside to figure out who the heck the obnoxious neighbor was. Mr. Grieve needs a better db meter, plus a consultation with an acoustical engineer to understand how sound travels in this town, plus some lessons in community relations since this is hardly the first incident. In budget crunch times, there are other uses for that accessible urban land.

anemonefish (anonymous profile)
May 3, 2013 at 3:55 p.m. (Suggest removal)

How do you know its the EWS and not some other source? I.e. A truck rumbles across the Mission st, overpass and everyone blames Cottage's helicopter.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
May 3, 2013 at 4:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)

OK, loonpt, I gave that link 30 seconds. Boooooring. Closed the window.

SezMe (anonymous profile)
May 3, 2013 at 5:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"2) Violation of First Amendment Rights of the Artist(s) and the audience."
-- Ken_Volok

Now that's just nonsense. The First neither guarantees that a "speaker" can be as loud as they want nor does it guarantee that an audience has any rights whatsoever. You over-reached with that one.

SezMe (anonymous profile)
May 3, 2013 at 5:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The aesthetic attributes of the artist are not what is in question or even relevant to this discussion. What IS vitally relevant is the artist's civil liberty to be brilliant or boring within a certain decibel limit.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
May 3, 2013 at 5:07 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Cases like this really bring out the art gestapos with their "I don't like it so no one else can enjoy it" bs. I'm not really a fan of this area of music personally, but I wholeheartedly support the musicians right to play it within the guidelines ALL parties agreed to prior; which by ALL accounts appears to be the case. It is the SBPD who are guilty of overstep as any reasonable person could tell you.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
May 3, 2013 at 5:30 p.m. (Suggest removal)

lol, ADD SezMe listens to dubstep like they watch 9/11 conspiracy vids.... dubstep is all about the "drop" which doesn't happen in most dubstep songs until about the first minute in.

I wonder if Porter Robinson played the Knife Party mix of his song Unison?

Sadly, Excision will never be able to play this town :(

loonpt (anonymous profile)
May 3, 2013 at 7:23 p.m. (Suggest removal)

This isn't about whether the music is cool or not. It's whether decibel guidelines were respected. And whether the SBPD made the right decision or not.
There's decibel rules for several good reasons:
1) The obvious, courtesy to neighbors. (Some of my past neighbors will shake their heads)
2) Too loud of sound (high decibel levels) can injure the human ear and negatively impact hearing- sometimes indefinitely.
Since most people don't carry sound meters with them we are at the mercy of sound engineers paying attention to these details.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
May 4, 2013 at 2:29 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I see the scholar Ken_Volok is at it again with his DAILY misinformation and never right mentality about anything he talks about.

First KEN, if you took the time to read the article you would have noticed IT WAS NOT SBPD it was SBSO but don't let those little details get in the way. Second, if you would have taken the time again to read you would have noticed THEY DID ask the guy to turn it down several times. Third, there are NO CIVIL LIBERTIES when one violates a written contract. (That is why contracts are written) Fourth, Robinson attempted to incite the crowd with his foolish remark of, "because the police were ending the show". Robinson knew full well what he was doing.

Lastly, the police can end any show whether public or private when numerous complaints have been filed and attempts were made to get the offending party to comply and the offending party willingly disregards a written contract and willfully continues with the offense, a complaint has been signed or the contract was violated and the party is refusing to comply with same.

But keep it up Ken, your most often misinformation and complete ignorance of the true facts gives me a good laugh in the morning.

Priceless (anonymous profile)
May 4, 2013 at 8:12 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Hah, Priceless, you seem to be the one who didn't read the article here. Ken is correct that they were not only under the legal decibal limit, but they did in fact turn it down three times EVEN THOUGH they were under the limit.

Now, dubstep is something else. It is essentially bass music. Bass being manipulated in ways that excentuates itself very sensually and/or violently. Unless you have an incredible audio setup and understanding neighbors, you're not going to get anything close to the full effect of being at an actual show. Recorded dubstep is merely a shadow of it's live self. They have really learned to do some amazing things with bass that you will never get to experience unless you attend shows of certain dubstep and edm artists.

I don't know enough about how decibal meters work and whether decibal limits are equal for rock shows vs. dubstep shows. The best, loudest dubstep show I ever went to, surprisingly I came out of it with little no ear ringing compared to past rock and metal concerts I've been to. That's because they will usually put the mids and highs and appropriate levels and just pump the bass way up, because, well, that's the whole point. So maybe a previous poster was correct and the decibal meter wasn't working, or maybe dubstep bass some how is able to allude the meter and travel 2 MILES across town and shake windows. I wish this wasn't an issue, but if the authorities are going to shut down shows early then maybe they need to be answered.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
May 4, 2013 at 9:57 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Everybody who still thinks they don't like dubstep should go to the excision link I posted above and skip to 21:00

(here it is again)

loonpt (anonymous profile)
May 4, 2013 at 10:03 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Simple physics tells us that it is not sound intensity or amplitude (dB) that causes the annoying thud and distance-carrying penetration delivered by bass, but the longer lower frequency sound waves themselves. Like when those stupid speaker-festooned cars pull up next to you at a light and you feel that sonic disruption in your chest trying to recalibrate your own heartbeat.

Anyone who pays anything to see some lame DJ spin rave records deserves to be put out into the night. Seriously, it's all about the drugs at these spin-fests anyway. As acid made the Grateful Dead sound interesting, ecstasy makes records sound like angel fricatives.

Draxor (anonymous profile)
May 5, 2013 at 8:49 a.m. (Suggest removal)

My apologies to the SBPD for my error (as if they really care.) I'd rather be occasionally wrong than live with the bitterness and resentment of a pathetic life as some commentators seem to.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
May 5, 2013 at 12:53 p.m. (Suggest removal)

@Draxor: Are you saying that Grateful Dead had no musical value? If so, I disagree.

Per your other comment, you are correct. As my dad taught me long ago: Treble is directional, bass is omnidirectional.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
May 5, 2013 at 3:31 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I never knew that BC, thanks for sharing.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
May 5, 2013 at 3:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Infrasonic sound (below 20Hz) is more felt than heard, thus unlikely even to be detected on an ordinary meter. Wanna' bet if a dubstep promoter would know that? It would be fun to know if the elephants at the zoo reacted during the concert since they apparently use those very low frequencies to communicate, along with cetaceans, some Navy sonars, mighty pipe organs, earthquake monitors, and Chevys with amps bigger than engines.

anemonefish (anonymous profile)
May 5, 2013 at 4:39 p.m. (Suggest removal)

We're surrounded by infrasonic sound (and atoms, molecules and single celled monsters). I wonder if sea anemones know that.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
May 5, 2013 at 7:46 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I was at the show, and though it was loud, it wasn't really anything too excessive (spend 5 minutes in the Sahara tent at Coachella and you'll know what loud is). I would put my money on the shape of the arena causing the noise to travel up and far away from the open-air venue as the main culprit for the noise complaints. If the immediate neighbors had been doing all the complaining, then I think the fuzz would have let him finish out the set, but since the complaints were coming from across town, the cops thought it was a bigger issue.

SB2SB (anonymous profile)
May 6, 2013 at 5:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)

What's the point of any sound the immediate (voluntary) audience can't hear? After a point it just becomes technobation.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
May 6, 2013 at 6:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Universal's 1974 epic "Earthquake" utilized a special sound process called SenSurround that had less to do with multichannels but was in essence a giant subwoofer. The decibels were so high that there are documented cases of cracked ribs from audience members, neighboring business suffering cracked plaster and merchandise shaken from the shelves.
Many "Earthquake" fans complain that "real SenSurround" is never included in home video versions. That is because it would blow up most consumer grade sound systems/TV speakers. It's not a far stretch that SenSurround could take down the Granada or Arlington.
Only two other films "Midway" and "Rollercoaster" were released in SenSurround but most theater owners had already either had their fill or read the trades. Universal later tried to revamp and improve SenSurround with CineSonic sound to accompany "The Concorde: Airport' 79" with failure at box office and any interest in future use, especially after the Dolby Stereo system came into wider play.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
May 6, 2013 at 6:11 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Time place and manner can always regulate free speech. No one is attacking the content; just the time place and manner of the speech.

Perfectly legal so carry on with the very legitimate complaints about this EWS train wreck.

The "legal" decibel level must be re-set or else it is time to close down EWS. People hearing this miles away did not consent to being exposed to this free speech. And those who did, would have no problems hearing it at far lower volumes.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
May 13, 2013 at 2:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Hey NIMBYS Go suck on a tail pipe!

Byrd (anonymous profile)
May 27, 2013 at 7:28 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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