Changes Made to Orton Park Festival

MNA holds second meeting to address noise, environmental concerns

Residents are concerned about noise during the Orton Park Festival as well as the affect of thousands of feet on the turf and tree roots.

The success of neighborhood festivals in the Marquette Neighborhood is starting to show some strain on residents. Last week (July 31) the Marquette Neighborhood Association held a second meeting to address concerns regarding noise during the upcoming Orton Park Festival and wear and tear on the turf and the tree roots.

At this second meeting, which was attended by representatives of the Madison Parks Department, MNA agreed to move the stage and make other adjustments to mitigate noise and possible damage to the natural elements of the park. In response to neighborhood concerns, the Marquette Neighborhood Association has agreed to make changes to how the festival is configured according to MNA Board President Scott Thornton in a written response to Willy Street Blog.

“Changes this year are primarily to the set-up of the festival. Extra steps are being taken to make sure that the Orton oaks are protected during the festival. Additionally, MNA will be funding aeration and reseeding of the park annually in our budget.” Thornton said. This includes Yahara Place Park, the site of MNA’s other yearly festival.

While the Parks Department promised to study the affects the festival has on the park to establish a baseline for future years, an interesting discussion emerged about the appropriate noise level during the event since its right smack dab in the middle of a residential area as opposed to other seasonal festivals like the Willy Street Fair and La Fete de Marquette.

Salient points were brought up on both sides with one university professor offering to perform a noise study. Thornton said the data collected from the study during the festival would be used to set guidelines for future events.

“City staff had offered 110-120 db, but the attendees at the meeting felt gathering some information first would make more sense.” Thornton said.

Thornton notes that the Orton Park Festival is in its 47th year and is a chance to hear music from both local and international artists as well as an opportunity to gather with fellow neighbors under the magnificent Oak trees which have been the focus of so much concern.

“The length of the festival has been brought up as a negative by some, and I would suggest looking at the schedule to see just what is involved. Thursday and Friday night the music ends relatively early so that Cycropia can perform their magical show in the Oaks near Ingersoll Street.”

The festival begins Thursday August 23 at 5:30 p.m with Family Night including a parade. Friday August 24 beginning at 5:30 p.m. features international music. Saturday August 25 and Sunday August 26 have full days of music, vendors, an auction (Saturday), a jazz brunch (Sunday), the traditional cake walk (Sunday), with the final musical act beginning at 5:45 p.m Sunday.

The full schedule can be found here

More details on all the undercurrents in this debate from Madison Commons.

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