RFK music festival heard for miles around DC

People all across D.C. were getting angry at their neighbors’ loud music Saturday and Sunday until they realized it was likely all coming from the same source.

With weather as a possible factor, the music from the Project Glow Festival at RFK Stadium carried for miles — annoying neighbors trying to nap and enjoy their days off.

“It took a full hour for me to accept that it was remotely possible that the noise we were hearing could have come from that far away,” said Jamie Lee Marks, who lives in North Brentwood, Maryland, about 6 miles away from RFK.

Marks told WTOP she noticed the sound midday Sunday.

“It sounded like just a neighborhood party. And those happen around here sometimes. No big deal. We figured it might have been actually just a block away,” said Marks.

She wasn’t the only one in the area who thought it was a noisy neighborhood party.

Mount Rainier Police heard enough complaints that an off-duty officer investigated and found the sound was coming from the music festival.

“It was shaking our house. It just sounded like a lot of fun. But we were worried about, you know, our toddler sleeping, and he had a difficult time falling asleep,” said Marks.

The sound also traveled eastward.

Terri Taylor lives in D.C.’s Le Droit Park neighborhood, which is about 4 miles from RFK.

“It takes probably a half an hour for us to get to RFK with the traffic and it’s like, ‘What do you mean, I can hear the bassline from there,'” Taylor joked. “I just thought it was neighbors actually, because it was so close. And we could hear it really clearly in our house. But it was strange. It just kept happening.”

She finally figured out where it was coming from late Sunday night when she checked social media, where thousands of posters wondered in unison where the noise was coming from.

WTOP’s own J.J. Green said he heard the thumping over 15 miles away in northern Silver Spring, Maryland.

The weather may have played a factor in the sound traveling, said Storm Team4’s Mike Stinneford.

“When you get a cooler or a warmer air mass, anything that’s denser than the air mass below, it can help reflect sound waves. Also, cloud cover can do that, too. We see that sometimes in thunderstorms across the region where the echoes from the thunder will actually bounce across nearby cloud cover,” said Stinneford.

“So we have a concert, and you have a difference of temperatures aloft, the density difference can be enough that the sound waves are reflected and you can see the sound travel a good distance … 5 to 10 miles at times.”

And that thumping traveled until just after 11 p.m. on Sunday.

“So once we realized that it was of that event, at least it gave us a time to look forward to for it to end,” quipped Marks.

“I remember it was like 11:07 and I said: ‘Oh, we can’t hear the bass anymore. That’s good, because we’re trying to go sleep,'” said Taylor.

Some on social media filed complaints all weekend long with the city and Events DC, which runs RFK.

One Capitol Hill resident wrote to WTOP: “Events DC has unquestionably mismanaged Project Glow. They should have worked with promoters to reduce the noise pollution.”

Events DC responded to complaints Monday on Twitter.

Luke Lukert

Since joining WTOP Luke Lukert has held just about every job in the newsroom from producer to web writer and now he works as a full-time reporter. He is an avid fan of UGA football. Go Dawgs!

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