The musical director of Batalá, Caique Vidal, leads a weekly rehearsal at Durham Central Park on Monday, Aug. 7, 2017, in Durham, NC, to an audience of about 100 who came to show their support for the band in response to noise complaints from Liberty Warehouse Apartment residents. Durham City Council will take up the noise ordinance at its Feb. 19 meeting. Casey Toth ctoth@heraldsun.com
The musical director of Batalá, Caique Vidal, leads a weekly rehearsal at Durham Central Park on Monday, Aug. 7, 2017, in Durham, NC, to an audience of about 100 who came to show their support for the band in response to noise complaints from Liberty Warehouse Apartment residents. Durham City Council will take up the noise ordinance at its Feb. 19 meeting. Casey Toth ctoth@heraldsun.com

Durham County

You can’t stop the music: downtown Durham drummers get city blessing

By Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan

dvaughan@heraldsun.com

February 20, 2018 06:00 AM

DURHAM

And the beat goes on.

The Durham City Council has come up with a solution to drummers in Durham Central Park on summer evenings. It amended the noise ordinance Monday night to allow unamplified musical performances at the park from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The Batalá Durham samba reggae drumming group will get to resume rehearsals on summer Mondays without interruption this time.

It all started last year, when Batalá’s regular rehearsals at Durham Central Park were also performances, drawing fans to the park field to listen to them play. But a resident of the new Liberty Warehouse Apartments nearby kept calling the police to complain.

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The police came, government officials got involved and in the end the police were told to simply document the complaint and not interfere with the rehearsals. Fall arrived, rehearsals went inside and the issue was tabled until now.

Batala Durham’s drum rehearsals at Durham Central Park last summer drew complaints. The city council amended its noise ordinance so Batala and other musical performances can play in the evening.
Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan dvaughan@heraldsun.com

The city has always wanted the park to be “a lively public space that would serve as a catalyst to rejuvenate the surrounding former tobacco warehouse district,” City Attorney Patrick Baker said. “It was always anticipated that [Durham Centra Park] would provide a place for community gatherings, picnics, concerts and public arts.”

Over the past decade, the Durham Farmers’ Market has become a destination for hundreds of people on Saturday mornings. After the farmers’ market came the city skateboard park, The Leaf art installation and a playground.

Liberty Warehouse Apartments, a former tobacco warehouse of which only part of the brick wall remains, opened in early 2017.

Baker suggested the amendment allow for umamplied noise until 8 p.m., but after hearing from Central Park and Batalá, he revised the amendment to extend to 9 p.m. Batalá rehearsals end about 8:30 p.m.

Justin Anderson-Pomeroy, co-founder of Batalá, saidwith the continued development around Durham Central Park, they need to stake out some areas in Durham where people congregate where they can be creative and artistic.

The city’s Environmental Affairs Board will look at revising the noise ordinance again to include other areas that are like Durham Central Park.

In the meantime, Batalá is good to go for drum practice.

“I look forward to rehearsing in the park again Monday nights,” Anderson-Pomeroy said. They start back up in May.

Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan: 919-419-6563, @dawnbvaughan