Letter: I can hear (too loud) music at Biltmore

Graphic by Lori Deaton

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.
Mars Hill

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.”


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3 thoughts on “Letter: I can hear (too loud) music at Biltmore

  1. Bright

    We live near Highland Brewery. When they have music outside in what they call “The Meadow”, “music”is so loud people hear it through their walls…forget opening your windows on a “music” night. I guess the drunks and children don’t mind. Highland has a deaf ear to complaints…understandably.

  2. Robin

    People will literally complain about everything. Dr. Gilmore goes to a concert and surprised is that they played the music loudly? What did he expect would happen? Also, what’s with the slam on West Asheville; does he expect concert music to be played loudly for the common folk, but not among the BILTMORE elite? He probably complains that he has to share the road with common folk driving around his Bentley.
    Dr. Gilmore also needs to check his entitlement. They play loud music at concerts. If you don’t want to go; don’t go, or leave if you don’t like it. But, don’t send snippy entitled letters in an attempt to ruin the experience for others.

    • Buncy

      Well, that’s right snarky of you. I remember going to concerts, bars, and nightclubs and leaving because the music was too loud. Some people’s ears are more sensitive than others, and my hearing started to go when I was in my thirties. Now I am in my seventies and I don’t have much hearing left. Hearing aids don’t help much either, and if I listen to a beautiful violin or piano concerto I cannot hear the high notes at all. High frequency hearing goes first.

      So I agree with our dentist friend from Mars Hill. We had a nightclub nearby on the edge of our neighborhood, and several of us carried petitions around to our neighbors to get the outside concerts stopped because of the noise that rattled our windows and shook our homes. Hallelujah, the nightclub gave up and vacated before they got sued for nuisance.

      Agape love you should render to your fellow man, not snipe at him. When your ears fail from toxic decibels, and they will, you’ll understand.

      Eskimos in their thirties could no longer hear the voices of their children. By the time they were in their fifties they were almost stone deaf. But as soon as they learned to use earplugs when they discharged high-powered rifles on the ice floes in order to feed their families, the hearing loss abated.

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