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Rookie Park Manager Regrets 'Jungle Fever' Concert

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June 21, 2012 by   - () Leave a Comment

The manager of a Kampgrounds of America (KOA) campground in Washington that hosted a 34-hour DJ contest last weekend, which prompted more than 100 complaints from annoyed neighbors, said he “wished it had never happened.”

The “DJ Jungle Fever” concert at the campground east of Port Angeles at 80 O’Brien Road was audible from more than 2 miles away. It started at 9 p.m. Friday and lasted until 7 a.m. Sunday, the Peninsula Daily reported

The first-year campground manager, 17-year-old Darren Fitz­Gerald, son of campground owners Brian and Rochell FitzGerald, said Wednesday that he did everything in his power to get the Seattle-based music promoters to turn down the volume.

“I was saying, ‘You’ve got to keep it down,’” said FitzGerald, who had signed a contract with the promoters to rent the entire campground for the weekend.

Once it became apparent that the event was disturbing the peace, FitzGerald phoned the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office and his attorney.

He said he argued with the promoters and tried to shut down the event.

“I was concerned about my neighbors and their complaints,” he said.

FitzGerald’s attorney tried to establish a breach of contract because the bass could be heard from much farther afield than the predetermined 75 feet from the property.

More than 100 complaints were called into the 9-1-1 dispatch center, Clallam County Undersheriff Ron Peregrin has said.

The concert was staged by Counter Culture Entertainment of Seattle. A Counter Culture Entertainment promoter, who declined to give his name, said his group was asked to turn down the music, and “we turned it down many times.”

The promoter said there was no breach of contract.

KOA allowed the concert to take place at the campground, he said, and loud music “is exactly what we do.”

“People had a great time,” he said, adding that “a lot of neighbors came over and joined.”

Deputies maintained a presence at the event but said there was little else they could do.

Did not need permit

Peregrin said “DJ Jungle Fever” was exempt from needing to have a festival permit because the crowds were well below the 1,500 threshold.

Peregrin told county commissioners Monday that the concert averaged about 250 attendees.

The undersheriff added that the event was exempt from the county’s noise ordinance.

“After speaking with the sheriff, I found out the law is not on my side,” Fitz­Gerald said.

“It was a landlord-tenant issue.”

Before the concert, FitzGerald notified neighbors within 1,000 feet of the campground about the event. He offered to put them up in hotels.

County commissioners said they would discuss the noise ordinance when Sheriff Bill Benedict returns from a brief vacation.

A 2008 proposal that would have strengthened county noise law was roundly rejected in a jam-packed public hearing. The proposal was rescinded before a vote.

FitzGerald raised noise barriers on the first night of the concert to try to contain the thumping bass.

Peregrin told commissioners that the barriers dampened the sound somewhat “but not sufficiently enough to stop the windows from rattling 2 1/2 miles away.”

Peregrin said he and two deputies spoke with concert promoters at about midnight Sunday and persuaded them to turn down the volume, which they did before cranking it up louder at about 6:45 a.m.

The Counter Culture Entertainment spokesman said his group would consider holding another concert in the Port Angeles area, but not at the KOA campground.

‘Out of my hands’

FitzGerald described a scenario that “was just out of my hands.”

“The campground was not mine for that weekend,” he said.

FitzGerald said he regrets the inconvenience the concert caused his neighbors, dispatchers and sheriff’s deputies. He thanked Peregrin for his sincere assistance.

“I care about my neighbors,” he said.

The contract was worth the equivalent of running the KOA campground at full capacity for the weekend.

FitzGerald said it wasn’t worth the price, adding that he has no plans to host similar events in the future.

“This is the first and last time,” he said.

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