RFK EDM festival resonates across DC into the suburbs due to weather

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The thumping of the bass reverberated miles away.

It rattled homes and kept neighbors in DC and the Maryland suburbs awake, subjecting many to the undesired rave that lasted way past the bedtimes of schoolchildren with exams in the morning.

The actual concert – Project GLOW Festival – held at the city-managed Festival Grounds at RFK Stadium and scheduled to run Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 11 pm for the celebration of the city’s dance culture. But the Sunday caused the sound of travel, upsetting residents who took over the weekend to complain about the electronic dance music that was frustratingly loud and seemingly unending.

“Who had the bright idea to have the glow fest on a school night? I’m nowhere near RFK and we can hear the bass and music clearly and kids still up, ” one user tweeted Sunday at 10:01 pm

“This 48 hour long concert at #rfk going strong at 10:30 pm on Sunday night is shaking my windows 1.5 miles away,” another wrote.

“My whole timeline now is GenExers (eg, me) kvetching about the EDM #glowfest 3.4 miles away vibrating through the night before our kids’ standardized tests tomorrow and I don’t know whether to laugh or cry, ” one user tweeted Sunday at 10:39 pm

By Monday, DC Events, the city’s official convention and sports authority, covering the chorus of complaints, tweeting that it was a “top priority” to making changes to mitigate this kind of far-reaching noise from future events. Broccoli City Festival, the annual music event that has brought hip-hop, rap and R&B artists to the District, will be held at the RFK site this Saturday and Sunday.

“We sincerely apologize for the disruption during the Project GLOW festival. We take our responsibility to the community seriously, ”the statement read. “We will implement changes in future events to better control noise levels.”

Craig Chester, Events DC director of marketing, sports and entertainment, wrote in an email to The Washington Post.

Project GLOW representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment. City officials, including the DC Office of the United States Communications Office, did not immediately provide a request for comment.

Before the event, DC Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) he tweeted “Project Glow is in the city this weekend, and we are thrilled to celebrate 20 years of dance culture in the District! Join us today and tomorrow in the heart of DC at the RFK Festival Grounds for a vibrant celebration of community and dance. #DCisOpen. ”

A weather phenomenon known as a temperature inversion amplified the electronic music from the festival early Sunday. As the air cooled, a layer of warm air lingered above the cooler one. The warm air acted like a lid, sending the music back toward the ground and enabling it to travel long distances.

Such inversions are also known to trap smoke and air pollution – this happens with the Fourth of July fireworks – and intensify the noise from thunderstorms.

In September, a storm in Fairfax County unleashed a jarring boom because of an inversion, startling residents across the region. On Monday morning, New Yorkers were awakened by resounding thunder claps that set off car alarms from the inversion amplified the volume of a passing storm.

Project GLOW has been spreading electronic music in DC since 1999, but its organizers usually choose venues outside the city for large, outdoor events. It has used Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, Va., Working with Live Nation for the Identity Festival, and Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore during the Moonrise Festival, which returns in August for the first time since 2019.

Until last weekend, the closest GLOW has been holding the outdoor festival in its hometown was a performance in the parking lot of Love, a now-closed nightclub in Ivy City.

GLOW, which was acquired by Insomniac Events, is a large two-day, two-stage dance festival at the RFK site, where a two-day general admission pass started at $ 155. The setup included areas called “Pulse Stage” and “Eternal Stage” for the large lineup of artists, as well as “Unity Square” with a Ferris wheel.

“I wanted to do something in DC proper,” Pete Kalamoutsos, the co-founder and CEO, previously told The Post. “I think it’s long overdue. This has been 20 years in the making. ”

But outside the festival grounds, people were peeved.

Social media users reported hearing music in neighborhoods, including Navy Yard, Bloomingdale, Brookland, Petworth, Woodridge and Anacostia, and in the Maryland suburbs including Hyattsville, Cheverly, Greenbelt and Berwyn Heights. Police officers in Mount Rainier, Md., Even went searching for the source of noise over the weekend after “many calls, emails, and texts concerning the music that seems to be rattling our city,” according to a statement on the department’s Facebook page.

The officers “shut down every source of loud music” on Saturday, only for residents to hear the noise returning on Sunday. Eventually, the sounds are in DC and the source is found:

Denise Krepp, the advisory neighborhood commissioner who lives about five blocks from the RFK site, said she fielded so many complaints that she called multiple city agencies: the District Police Department about parking enforcement near the venue, DC police to alert officers to public urination, and Events DC representatives about the noise on a school night.

Residents added their own complaints, defended in the alleyways, defended in the alleyways, and spied through stop signs, according to emails Krepp shared with The Post. On the social media, parents pointed out that the children were losing sleep the night before the Partnership for a Readiness for College and Careers test.

“It was just thump, thump, thump and you could find it at Eastern Market, you could hear it up in Northeast. You could hear it just everywhere. And when you’re close as I was… it was constant, ”Krepp said. “It was a low-grade migraine that went on for 12 hours each day.”

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