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Speakers & Amplified Sound Policies for 2017

Firefly makes noise!  Firefly also has neighbors.  Since all-night bass doesn’t always make the best of friends, Firefly has a sound core to help us be better neighbors to the surrounding community.  Disregarding sound policies can cause problems for all.

Sound Details for 2017

In short – We didn’t do so great with the neighbors last year. Because of this and the extra weekday –

No amplified sound on Tuesday or Wednesday night past 10pm (personal pocket bluetooth speakers are ok, so is low level music to set up camps on Tuesday until dark – please don’t be stupid).

All Sound Camps with large systems have to join Soundcore to help in monitoring sound levels. Firefly is held in very close proximity of neighbors that don’t enjoy the techno as much as the bears do. This also includes any fire art that generates shockwaves.

Long version –

As Firefly grows it’s easy to get caught up our small temporary thing for the week, and lose perspective that there are folks who live there for the other 51 weeks in the year. These folks view our event simply as noise pollution. It has always been a delicate balance to try to minimize our sound levels emanating from Firefly given the constraints of our location along with being fair to everyone.

Last year we didn’t do so well – unfortunately we didn’t find out about a few of these complaints until after the event. We’ve been working on identifying the areas the complaints were located and adding them to the areas we drive to when monitoring sound levels.

That said this year we are asking for no “full sound” on Tuesday – Low level setup music is totally fine until dark. Wednesday music can go till 10pm – AT MODERATE VOLUME. After this time, turn off your PA and please no drum circles/etc. Small bluetooth speakers are completely fine during any of these times. (Soundboks units do not count as small bluetoof speakers) Again please do not be stupid.

Other issues encountered last year were DJs turning down sound levels while folks from Soundcore were present, and then turning it back up after they had left. In another instance a sound system was being run to it’s peak multiple times last year causing many internal sound complaints and likely was the catalyst for a new noise complaint from an area we’ve never received them from before.

So what do we do about this?

In order to be fair to everyone, if an external sound complaint is received – All camps will need to turn down or even cease amplified music – depending on the severity of the complaint and/or how pissed the state police are, it could be for the evening or the rest of the event. Ideally we do not to fuck up in the first place.

Please only run your sound systems as needed – if your dance floor is mostly empty, do you really need to be running your sound near it’s maximum output? This is just wasting fuel, likely upsetting your Firefly neighbors and putting the event at risk for everyone else. Bonus! If your sound system has a limiter, please use it! Ideally we do not want anyone going over 85-94 SPL-A (temperature dependant).
Brief your DJs on this!

We need to follow a lower volume period as we did last year, around 1am please lower the sound level a bit and dip down the subwoofer level. This is also true if we have some very cold nights. Sound carries further, so please keep this in mind and adjust your volume accordingly. I will have a temperature and humidity monitor in our tech tent at Diode. Please do not operate any fire art that generates shockwaves during this time as well.

As from last year we will have quiet camping zones (which will be reflected on the Firefly map). Northwest of the stone wall (back forty area), and east of the stream are considered quiet camping areas this year (We ask that no amplified sound or generator use take place after 9pm each night in these areas. If you are looking for quiet camping, please camp here and not west of Verdant ave which will be quite loud. That is where the cluster of sound camps are normally placed.

If you feel the need to walk around pointing a speaker at folks trying to sleep at 7 in the morning for your ‘art’ – Don’t. It just pisses people off. Especially if in a quiet camping area. You’ll likely get your toy taken away. (This has actually happened).

If you are a Firefly attendee and you feel a soundcamp is being exceeding or needlessly loud, please bring to the attention of a member of Soundcore (Nick Binary / Dr Claw / Chooch), a Firefly Ranger, or Surly Blake. This needs to be an effort everyone participates in – one Soundcamp misbehaving affects everyone. If noise complaints persist this year we may have to even further regulate sound levels next year so we can return for 2018. This could mean no subwoofers after 10pm or even no sound late night. This happened to PDF – http://playadelfuego.org/sound-policy

A new policy this year is every sound camp with a sound system that weighs more than 30lb needs to join Soundcore to help in monitoring sound levels. Soundcore will provide SPL meters for use during the event. The idea here is to bring more people into actively monitoring our sound levels, as to not just fall on the few Soundcore folks. Each camp will appoint one or more people who will be part of Soundcore for the weekend. These people will be monitoring other camps then their own. This entails checking in on the assigned camp every few hours.

Soundcore will have a meeting at Diode at 4pm Tuesday to discuss what this all entails and hand out SPL meters.

The following camps have been identified as needing to join Soundcore, if you are adamantly opposed to this, please PM me and maybe we’ll figure something out.

Theme Camp – Monitoring Levels for:

The Love and Lions Den – Diode
Camp Lamp – Porklandia
Bring-A-Cup – Cabana Hammock
Virtuality – Camp Lamp
Totenkitten – The Love and Lions Den
The Universe – Virtuality
Diode – Totenkitten
Porklandia – The Universe
Cabana Hammock – Bring-A-Cup

Please bring a compass and refer to the below headings for each camp that submitted they will have amplified sound. Using the below heading, please point all sound sources in this direction. If you do not have a compass, find me during setup and I can help you out with locating the correct direction to point your audible probable cause makers.

A short tutorial on finding a compass bearing/heading can be found here: http://www.compassdude.com/compass-reading.shtml – Remember the Firefly map is not situated with north on the top of map – it’s west.

Note these have changed from last year to try to further avoid a residential area.

I’ve written the compass heading your placement foam plate that is hung up in each theme camp site.

The Love and Lions Den – 335º

Little Winter Hill – 300º

midnight poutine – 320º

Camp Lamp – 275º

Bring A Cup – 270º

Virtuality – 330º

Gluten Free Halloween – 210º

Totenkitten – 310º (or 4 point PA is approved)

The Universe – 320º

Camp Blue Screen of Death – 290º

Camp Here – 305º

Diode – 4 point PA

Porklandia (Meat Camp) – 280º

Cabana Hammock – 280º

Fire Ceiling Garden – 330º

Camp Strange Maine – 320º

Electric Kool Aid – 320º

As always any thoughts/suggestions on how to improve on this are much appreciated! And really please, don’t be stupid with sound levels.


Nick Binary – Soundcore
Head Bottle Washer – SB Productions

Sound Info for Every Year

  • The main field is a quiet space after midnight.
  • If you plan to bring amplified sound louder than a boombox, contact sound@fireflyartscollective.org so noise impacts on neighbors can be minimized.
  • Loud events (drum circles, primal scream flashmobs) and noisy art (fire poofers) have the same considerations.
  • Be aware of specific sound requirements, which vary from year to year.

Many tactics are involved.  For example:

  • Amplified sound may be banned for certain days, hours, or locations.
  • Art/camp placements are informed by sound considerations, or history of the camp.
  • Art/camp speakers are assigned to point towards a designated compass coordinate, which varies by camp.
  • Sound core may visit neighboring areas to check sound levels as heard from outside.
  • Immediate or planned responses to sound complaints.
  • Sound core may ask you to adjust your sound, turn it down, or turn it off.

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