The Mayor’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Licensing Division granted the Boston Red Sox 12 dates to operate concerts at Fenway Park from June through September. This surpasses the number of concerts granted in the past, with 11 approved last year and eight approved in 2015.
This decision came after a hearing was held on Wednesday, Jan. 31, where the board heard testimony from both Live Nation and residents of the neighborhood.
“We’re going to have some concerts!” said Attorney David Friedman for the Red Sox. “At the same time, we will be having an Advisory Group meeting and sit down with neighborhood groups and address all the things they want to address. Some people are not happy with the result but, we can’t address the number of concerts.”
As reported in the Boston Herald, Christine Pulgini, chairwoman of the Licensing Board said she granted the 12 concerts because last year the Red Sox “ran a tight ship.” She noted that the neighborhood hotline for residents only received two complaints throughout the entire year.
At the hearing, Lawrence C. Cancro, vice president of Fenway Affairs along with Friedman gave testimony at the hearing on the economic benefit the concerts have brought to the City of Boston including impacts on “local labor,” “tax revenue,” and more.
President and CEO of the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau testified that each concert generated a spending impact of over $9 million.
On the application submitted, Live Nation listed an expected attendance of 30 thousand per show.
“We’re planning a robust series of nationally acclaimed performances for the summer and some of the concerts are already sold out,” said Friedman. “There are still one or two shows that are still up in the air. We will continue to take into account the neighborhood concerns.”
Subsequent to the tragic Las Vegas incident, Live Nation in coordination with the Boston Red Sox has implemented the highest level of security techniques.
Sound deafening panels were installed last year, which proved successful and this year a soundboard machine has been installed with a color alert system monitoring sound levels so that every effort is made to comply with the City of Boston Noise Ordinance.
The Red Sox said they will use their best efforts to minimize the length of sound checks and end them by 7 p.m. and will commit never to go past 9 p.m.
City officials will monitor sound levels created by this event, according to the Boston Consumer Affairs and Licensing. Sound readings will be taken from various spots in the surrounding neighborhood so as to determine the noise impact on the surrounding neighborhoods.
Kristen Mobilia, an advocate in the Fenway neighborhood, said that residents have been asking for the sound to be monitored for a long time but, no one seems to be taking the responsibility.
“It really should be on the Red Sox because they are the ones making the noise,” said Mobilia.
Erica Walker the founder of Noise and the City will be conducting an independent noise study this year. She will test noise levels during non-event days and during large events. Walker hopes to determine how the additional noise affects people in the surrounding neighborhoods.
“It is very frustrating because the Licensing Board should have given consideration to both the businesses and the residents – half and half – but the residents got nothing out of this,” said Mobilia.
In addition, Mobilia believes that part of the reason the concerts were approved is because the majority of concert dates have already been booked previous to the hearing at City Hall on Jan. 31.
Fenway residents Dolores Boogdanian and Kevin Cranston raised concerns regarding the impact of concerts on emergency vehicles navigating their way through traffic during big event days at Fenway Park.
A VHB traffic study commissioned by the Red Sox stated that although there may be some added response time (30 – 60 seconds of delay), it does not impact the operations of ambulances because they are equipped with everything a hospital would have upon arrival.
In addition, the Red Sox will minimize the use of the tower lights so that they are only on at night when necessary and will provide advance notice of any unusual light usage (i.e. other than during ballgames and concerts).
In terms of having an Advisory Group meeting concerning Red Sox mitigation, Mobilia said before the hearing she was hoping it would be helpful but now, going forward, she doesn’t believe these meetings will be as helpful.
“I don’t think the Red Sox care about residents,” said Mobilia. “We’ve been asking for this for over a year.”
Many Fenway residents feel like the number of large events held at Fenway Park during the year continues to increase. Some noted it is not just the baseball games and summer concerts – it is also football games and Spartan races in the fall.
“It feels like our neighborhood has become just a corporate venue,” said Freddie Veikley, a longtime Fenway resident. “The number of Fenway Park concerts booked this summer (12) is totally inconsiderate of the people who live here. Our own needs for non-event days have simply been disregarded by the Red Sox and the Licensing Board.”