WASHINGTON — A two-day EDM festival hosted at RFK over the weekend generated some serious social media ire Sunday night. People living in D.C., Virginia and Maryland said they could hear -- and feel -- the pulsating beats emanating from Project GLOW Festival from miles away.
Comments ranged from people asking if an earthquake had hit the District, to people searching their neighborhood for the source of the "party house."
"Ugh. We can hear glow fest at RFK stadium from Maryland!" Redditor shetheyhe posted Sunday night, kicking off a conversation with more than 150 comments, many echoing the experience all over the DMV.
Another Redditor responded that even though the event was happening three miles away from their house it sound like their "literal next door neighbor [was] having a party."
"We have brick and plaster walls too," user 7h3C47 responded to the original poster. "Absolutely something weird going on atmospherically."
Turns out, that Redditor was right: weather was to blame for carrying the sound for miles.
WUSA9 meteorologist Kaitlyn McGrath explained that on "normal" nights temperatures get cooler with heights but on Sunday we experienced a temperature inversion, meaning a thin layer of air was warmer than the temperatures at the surface. That warm layer of air bends sound waves back towards the surface, amplifying the sound and --apparently -- keeping much of the DMV awake!
"There was some mix of the music with the weather system that bounced the sound further than anybody could have anticipated," Mayor Muriel Bowser said Monday when asked about the festival at another event she was attending. "One thing I do want to check into is how late it was going."
The mayor went on to say that the normal end time for concerts is 10 p.m., but said at first glance, it looked like project GLOW had received permission to go later.
"I know a lot of people were disturbed by it so we certainly regret that," Bowser said. "We want festivals to happen, we want live music, we want people to have a good time. But we want people to be able to enjoy some peace and quiet as well. So let us do some digging and get you some answers."
A spokesperson for DC Police said the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) would be handling the noise complaints, but DCRA redirected all questions to Events DC, which put on Project Glow Festival. The organization issued a formal apology on Twitter Monday.
"We sincerely apologize for the disruption during the Project GLOW festival," EventsDC tweeted Monday afternoon. "We take our responsibility to the community seriously. We will implement changes at future events to better control noise levels. Events DC will continue to address these issues as a top priority."
The statement drew even more questions and debate was stirred again over who was to blame, and if anyone should even be apologizing in the first place, considering weather systems beyond anyone's control played a role in amplifying noise.
"What will be different?" Twitter user Theresa Lenz asked. "I’m all for having events but to have them go that late two nights in a row is not ok."
However, many others felt that those bothered by the noise should accept it as part of city living.
"It’s a festival, in a major city, once in a blue moon, with an 11 p.m noise ordinance," wrote one Twitter user. "If people can’t handle street. noise every now & then, don't live in a major city. Keep the events coming."
The next concert event expected to be held at RFK's festival grounds is the 8th annual Broccoli City Festival on May 7 and 8.