Letters to the Editor

Village Faire displayed either a lack of awareness or a deliberate disregard of neighborly ethics

Living cooperatively is a delicate balancing act. One person’s joy can simultaneously be another person’s nightmare.

The location (107 Portland Fair Road), the volume and duration of the loud music rehearsed and presented by the Village Faire Sept. 17, 18 and 19, displayed either an acute lack of awareness or a deliberate disregard of neighborly ethics, a result totally out of balance with the genuine playfulness and generosity of the intent of those sponsoring the event.

When loud music is concerned we owe it to ourselves, and to our furred and feathered friends, to be wise and sensitive in our behavior, just as we have learned to respect the impact of boat noise on our beloved resident orcas.

Why? Because sound is very powerful, especially amplified sound. It travels down valleys, across fields and hills and impacts a much larger number of people than those invited to a gathering. It creates a form of acoustical tyranny. It proclaims “we want to do our thing and you have to listen to it because we have control of the air-

waves!”

The excessively amplified sounds from the Village Faire directly impacted the neighbors along and across Cattle Point, Jensen Bay, False Bay and Portland Fair roads; the residential neighborhoods of Portland Fair and Panorama Place and far beyond.

The Faire sponsors did have a permit but the time parameters were ignored.

Some folks in the affected neighborhoods may have been tapping their toes to the music, but consider other scenarios:

— Neighbors who were looking forward to sharing a peaceful backyard barbecue with friends from off island.

— Someone trying to rest after a chemotherapy treatment.

— Another suffering from a migraine headache.

— Folks with emotional or hearing challenges that are adversely affected by loud sound and repetitive rhythms.

We have a great inclusive community. Thanks to the foresight and ongoing hard work of conscientious and devoted citizens, we have a fantastic San Juan Community Theater and a San Juan County Fair building. Both can be filled with sound without imposing it on others.

We also celebrate special community times and agreed upon venues (i.e. July 4, the County Fair, Christmas, Concerts on the Lawn, etc.), when outdoor music is anticipated and shared respectfully.

So, Village Faire folks, when staging future events please consider the bigger picture.

Stage your performances where those who want to enjoy them can and those who prefer to celebrate the natural sounds of the island, or music of a different genre, can thrive, too.

That would be a more honest acknowledgement of the “experience of diversity and the practice of inclusion” which you espouse.

Why not hold your Village Faire on the County Fairgrounds, or as a part of the County Fair, where more people can be exposed to your ideas and a wide variety of amplified music is already part of the plan? ... or perhaps consider celebrating with non-amplified acoustic music, an inspiration more in keeping with the history of bartering which you seek to encourage?

Your statement of intent to “... be a role model through active example of healthy cooperative living” and “... to foster a sense of responsibility and common respect among all involved” is very admirable.

I encourage you to make your philosophy your reality.

Please reconsider the location, volume, time, content, affect and effect of the sound vibrations you choose to emanate because healthy citizenship is about sharing and celebrating as well as respecting the rights of our neighbors.

Sonja Zarek
Cattle Point Road
San Juan Island

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