By Tim Peck
September 8, 2006
All music is noise.
Music is a form of noise; it's a subset.
For example, if you are sitting quietly by yourself, that's quiet; or the absence of noise. If you start whistling, you're making noise. It might be musical noise but it's still noise. In other words, you're not being quiet anymore.
The permit that the drummers have is the same that Bele Chere has -- or Shindig on the Green or road crews with jackhammers. It's a permit that allows the permit holder to exceed the limitations of the noise ordinance for a specific purpose approved of by the city. In other words, the city of Asheville prohibits noise generally but can allow it on certain occasions with a permit.
There is no music ordinance. The permit does not state that you must limit your noise to notes and melodies. The drummers can sing, drum, play flutes or hum in unison.
If the city deems that the event is in violation of the purpose for which the permit was originally issued, the city can revoke that permit and the permit holder would no longer have permission to exceed the noise ordinance.
I would suggest to the permit holder that they find a way to minimize their negative impact on the quality of life downtown, just as any other law abiding person would, and thereby retain their permit to engage in peaceable merry-making in Prichard Park, which is the perfect setting for this particular brand of it.
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