Town of Bethel Board To Mull Noise Permit for Yasgur Road Productions
Nearly 53 years after Woodstock's historic sound reverberated throughout the Town of Bethel for four days and three nights, there's yet another debate regarding young people and loud music.
On Wednesday, it was a public hearing held by the Town of Bethel Town Board for the annual renewal process regarding the town's noise permit for Yasgur Road Productions, operated by Jeryl Abramson. Abramson and her late husband, Roy Howard, purchased Max Yasgur's homestead property on 17B in the 1990s. The couple soon began putting on music festivals there, primarily the popular Woodstock anniversary shows each August that draws hundreds of fans to the site each summer. (Howard died in 2012 after many court battles with the Town over previous festivals)
Supervisor Daniel Sturm said that the Board is going to draft a noise permit in coming weeks that has more teeth than the one created for 2021, a season that reportedly was beset by noise problems caused by some new and younger bands that pumped up the volume to very high levels.
Yasgur's Jeryl Abramson, who acknowledges that some mistakes were made last season, said Wednesday that among changes she plans for 2022 is to ensure that amplified sound will now be controlled by the venue, not the individual bands that perform or production companies that have brought in their own audio equipment for certain festivals.
"We know what we did wrong and we want to correct it," Abramson told the Board Wednesday. "I've been here for almost 30 years. I'm a neighbor. Come talk to me (if there's an issue)."
Three residents, whose names were not identified at the hearing, complained about the volume at some of the shows last year, particularly a drum circle that went on till 4 am.
Abramson said that some production companies that her venue had previously contracted with brought their own audio equipment and increased the volume - despite Yasgur Road Reunion's efforts to keep it down to a reasonable level. She said some of those vendors won't be welcome in 2022 and that that Yasgur is going to bring in additional security to better manager the noise and penalize those acts which don't respect the noise rules that are expected to be laid out in the permit.
Sturm said that he expects that the Board will grant a noise permit for the 2022 season but that it will be written with more "enforceability" through the counsel of the Town of Bethel attorney. "I believe we can do that. It just did not happen last year," Sturm said. He added that one of the issues the town is considering it to add language to the permit that specifies acceptable and unacceptable decibel levels.
"The concerns of neighbors have been heard from the board," Sturm said, adding that the new permit will be reasonable for Yasgur Road Productions but it will also be aimed at protecting locals' quality of life.
Town of Bethel Town Board on Wednesday, from left to right: William Crumley, Bernie Cohen, Supervisor Dan Sturm, and Deputy Supervisor Vicky Simpson.