First let me say I love the Biltmore, the grounds, the hiking and biking trails, the winery, etc. So I was very much looking forward to [the recent] Beach Boys concert.
As soon as the first note from the band was played, I was shocked at the volume! I was immediately afraid that I would do serious and permanent damage to my hearing if I sat there and listened to the music at such a high volume. Since I had brought a friend, I didn’t want to leave right away (although had I gone by myself, I would have been out of there before the first song was finished).
I didn’t know what to do, so I did the best I could. I sat through the entire first act with my fingers pressed tightly against the outside of my ears to block as much of the noise as I possibly could. We left the grounds during the intermission. Needless to say, this changed the experience from a pleasant one to a miserable one.
I simply don’t know why the volume had to be at such a deafening level. Do they think the audience is hard of hearing? Are they not concerned about the damage that they are doing to our ears? It is a well-established fact that listening to music at such a level does in fact destroy part of the delicate cells in the ear and leads to permanent hearing impairment. …
I might have expected such a loud volume if I attended a concert at a venue in West Asheville. But at the Biltmore? I always thought of the Biltmore as a family place.
— Dr. Roger Gilmore, D.D.S.
Editor’s note: Xpress contacted Biltmore with a summary of the letter writer’s points and received the following response from spokeswoman LeeAnn Donnelly: “We regret that this guest’s experience fell below expectations. We are extremely sensitive to sound levels at our concerts and have set guidelines for sound to align with industry standards. We have measurements in place to assure the safety of our guests, nearby neighborhoods and Biltmore House itself. Sound is managed by sound technicians who are with the band. Additionally, the sound on the South Terrace varies depending on where you sit. We are always willing to accommodate guests if they prefer to move if additional seating is available.”