America's Cup Concert Series Scaled Back After Complaints

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Following complaints from area residents, the number of events in a waterfront concert series accompanying the America's Cup has decreased.

Instead of the more than 40 concerts originally scheduled to be held at a temporary 9,000-seat open air pavilion at Piers 27-29 between May and October, the total number of shows, which include performances by artists like Sting, Heart and Fall Out Boy, will be capped at 30.

The San Francisco Examiner reports:

In a letter to the Entertainment Commission, America's Cup CEO Stephen Barclay said the organization agreed to reduce the number of concerts as well as end concerts at 10:30 p.m. on weekdays and 11 p.m. on weekends.

The organization also will set up a community hotline to handle noise complaints, similar to other outdoor concerts such as Outside Lands in Golden Gate Park. The changes are a result of meetings with the neighbors, Barclay stated...Additionally, it was agreed that no more than 10 concerts will occur on weeknights, and America's Cup can request as many as six 30-minute extensions for shows, according to Barclay.

Concert promotion behemoth Live Nation, which is organizing the event series, also pledged to install a sound-dampening curtain to help mitigate the noise issues some North Beach residents fear will plague the neighborhood during the shows.

However, it isn't only the potential for loud noise that has some North Beach residents worried. "The people it will draw, the crowds, the types of people that will come will make it not too safe," neighbor Cynthia Harris told KTVU.

To many observers, the concerts seemed like a surprise last minute addition to the festivities surrounding the race. "Normally, the planning and eventual construction of something like this would take months of hearings and environmental reports and reviews," wrote CBS San Francisco's Phil Matier. "I think because it's the America's Cup, it only took one note to the file and got approval of the Board of Supervisors, although even some of them didn’t even know it was included...It went from a 4,000-seat viewing area to a concert venue that's twice the size."

This concert series is only the latest in an seemingly endless list of scale-backs for the world's highest-profile yacht race. Everything from the number of teams expected to compete, to the size of the waterfront real estate deal, to the private fundraising effort, to the number of expected spectators, to the total economic benefit the event has been reduced from original estimates.

News about the issues plaguing what SF Weekly dubbed the "incredible shrinking regatta" even made it all the way to France, where it was slammed in a recent article in the venerable Paris-based daily Le Monde.

The city's Entertainment Commission is set to decide whether to approve the concert series at a hearing on Tuesday. If the event gets the go-ahead, the series kicks off with a performance by the Las Vegas-based synth pop band Imagine Dragons on May 31.

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Filed by Aaron Sankin