'Quite a bit of disruption': community members complain about loud noise from AMS 'Almost' Welcome Back BBQ

The AMS’s ‘Almost’ Welcome Back BBQ led some UBC community members to complain about the noise and low-frequency vibrations from the live music performances.

The event — which took place on October 1 outside of the Nest — was scheduled to start at 2 p.m, but the music started playing some time prior to that. Although the event was considerably smaller than previous Welcome Back BBQs due to the pandemic, the sound and the vibrations from the live music still went as far as IKB and the Exchange and Walter Gage residences.

Because the event started early in the afternoon while classes were still going on, many students and instructors complained about the noise. Some people took to Reddit to complain about how low-frequency vibrations became a source of anxiety.

Raelyn Sullivan, a third-year PhD student, said she could hear the glass windows rattling in the Hennings building — which sits right next to the plaza where the event took place.

“It was really loud bass, so that was kind of the worst of it,” she told The Ubyssey.

Sullivan said that there would be small breaks in the noise when the bands switched. “Then we would hear someone screaming ... and then the new bands would come on and it would start again.”

She suggested that the AMS lower the bass for next time — “I don't think the students would have had any less fun if they turned down the bass” — and to consider hosting the event elsewhere. Sullivan also recommended that the organizers check ahead of time if the sound would cause any problem in the nearby buildings.

“There were people teaching classes, there were people in the office below me that couldn't conduct their meetings as they usually would because they couldn't hear over the sound. You know there was quite a bit of disruption.”

Despite the Nest’s proximity to academic buildings and some residences, AMS President Cole Evans said that it was the ideal location for such events as other locations are closer to residential areas.

Evans said that the small audience size due to social distancing concerns could have been an issue because the plaza outside the Nest is usually full during events and that helps absorb a lot of the noise.

“We did adjust the [noise] a little bit throughout the night ... we did end up correcting a little bit,” he said.

The AMS Block Party which takes place on the last day of classes is the AMS’s next big event. When asked about similar noise issues occurring at Block Party, Evan said, “If Block Party will proceed as normally as in the past ... with more people in the plaza, I don’t anticipate that we’ll have necessarily the same concerns about [the noise].”