Town manager Rick Bellis said there would be no camping allowed at Kit Parson Park next year, no music before noon or after 10 p.m. on Sundays and no electronic dance music at the venue.
Bellis announced the changes during a Taos Town Council meeting T uesday (Aug. 27), where officials faced a crowd still riled up over some of the concerts held at Kit Carson Park over the summer.
Meow Wolf Taos Vortex (Aug. 16-18) caused a stir of emotions from community members and had town officials questioning whether or not the three-day music festival was exactly what Taos was looking for. Most of the citizen complaints focused on the noise generated by the electronic dance music at the festival, and whether or not the concert would have a positive financial impact on the town of Taos.
“We continue to learn new things all the time,” Mayor Dan Barrone said during the meeting. “We learn and we adjust and we try to do better.”
Members of the public have been vocal for several months regarding the sound levels in the downtown park generated by the concerts and many people expressed they were at their limits with the most recent festival, Taos Vortex. Noise from campers in the park during the Taos Vortex concert and noise from other nearby venues due to festivalgoers extended well into the night, angering some in the area.
“I could not escape the noise and vibrations even when I closed my windows and doors,” said town resident Virginia Dodier. “This is a public health issue.”
Decibel levels for the concert were not to exceed 100 at their peak, a level which town manger Rick Bellis said each stage maintained throughout the show.
Tensions rose during the meeting when a member of Friends of Kit Carson Park, a local advocacy group focused around eliminating the loud concerts, clashed with Barrone. During public comment, Robert Silver wasn’t allowed to share a video that showed the sound levels during the concert because he had not turned it into staff in time for it to be part of the agenda, as required by town policy. A stern discussion between Silver and the mayor followed, and ended with Barrone recommending everyone who wishes to submit a video adhere to the correct process for doing so.
In total, 13 people spoke during public comment, with 12 of them focusing their comments around the concerts at the park.
Bellis said there would be changes in years to come when bringing in concerts to the historic downtown area.
“It was more of what you would call a rave,” Bellis said of Taos Vortex during the meeting. “We’re not even sure the festival format fits anymore.”
Bellis then discussed some of the new restrictions on concerts at the park moving forward, though those changes have not yet been finalized in a resolution or document. Bellis said there were other elements of the festivals that will be discussed and made public soon.
Public comment took more than an hour. Once the last citizen was heard, Barrone moved the agenda along and encouraged the packed, crowded room to stay for the remainder of the town meeting.
But when the council returned from a brief break, only five members of the public remained in the council chambers.
During the meeting the town council also discussed the council’s involvement in the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities, a group of government representatives focused on working with Los Alamos National Labs. The town decided to table the decision to renew the agreement to have a member of the council represented on the RCLC.
The town also discussed a partial closure for the plaza on Saturday (Aug. 31) due to the extended events on the plaza. The annual Glam Trash Fashion show will be hosted on Taos Plaza this year, following a clerical error that ended in a last-minute change of place for the event.