Niles police put end to too loud concert

Published 4:20 pm Monday, September 22, 2003

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Police cancelled a concert that was attended by well more than 1,000 people at Riverfront Park's Amphitheater on Friday night.
The concert was cancelled after police received complaints from area residents of too loud music.
Capt. Jim Merriman, Niles City Police Department, said police dispatch started getting a lot of calls and complaints from people who live 14 to 15 blocks away from the Amphitheater around 9 p.m.
He said officers went to Riverfront Park after having received the many phone calls and asked the concert organizers to turn down the music.
Then, at 10:20 p.m., police went down and asked the band to stop playing, he said.
Merriman said several people at the event were made to dump out their alcohol.
The concert, however, apparently wasn't shut down because of people behaving badly.
Although there was apparently no fighting going on, Merriman said based on previous experience, that's what they try to prevent when shutting down events like the concert on Friday.
Bryan Williams, owner of Big Brown VAN Productions, organized Friday's concert.
Williams, who is a Main Street Initiative member and bar manager at the newly-opened Riverfront Cafe, said he feels "slapped in the face" after police shut down the concert.
As a result of Friday, Williams cancelled a whole day of music planned at the Amphitheater for Saturday.
He did, however, organize a concert held at the Riverfront Cafe patio on Saturday night.
Williams estimates around 1,200 people were gathered at Friday's concert, which Williams claims is the largest number drawn to a downtown concert for a long time.
Williams said downtown restaurants, such as the Stein &Vine and the Golden Nugget, as well as Riverfront Cafe, reported having a great night of business on Friday.
He said police "harassed" the band for the first time around 9:45 p.m.
Williams, however, admits the band was in violation of the city's 65 decibel noise ordinance.
But he said even crowds inside the Riverfront Cafe talking exceed that limit.
He thinks something needs to be done about the noise ordinance to avoid similar situations in the future because Riverfront Park and the Amphitheater is such a great concert venue. "But if the city only wants to have small concerts…." Because of Niles High School's Homecoming, police only had three officers working the downtown area on Friday.