Large-scale Arts Festival on Common

July 18, 2013
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In anticipation of “Outside the Box” (OTB) – a nine-day performing arts festival slated to begin last Saturday, with more than 200 activities planned for the Boston Common and other locations citywide – the Beacon Hill Civic Association (BHCA) has taken proactive steps to notify the neighborhood of the unparalleled event.

“Festival organizers estimate that audiences during that period could exceed 1 million people, an unprecedentedly large scale for Boston Common,” BHCA President Keeta Gillmore wrote in a correspondence disseminated to Hill residents last week via e-mail and door-to-door distribution on Beacon Street. “While we value attempts to bring the arts to the residents of Boston, we are troubled by the unprecedented duration, magnitude and intensity of the festival, all of which far exceed the provisions of the city’s own Boston Common Management Plan.”

According to the 1996 management plan, no single event on the Common should exceed more than three consecutive days, and events drawing more than 3,000 attendees to unpaved areas of the park should be scheduled at least two weeks apart “unless otherwise exempted by the [Boston] Parks Department.”

The management plan also mandates that events generally should occur between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., with evening offerings “considered on a case by case basis taking into account public safety, size, residential neighbors and city sound regulations.” OTB, in contrast, includes events running as late as 10:30 p.m. throughout the duration of the festival, according to the schedule posted on its official Web site at outsidetheboxboston.org.

Although the BHCA hopes the festival goes as smoothly as its organizers envision, the group is still preparing to respond to unforeseen circumstances and asking neighbors to help watch over the event to help mitigate any potential damages.

“You can help by keeping an eye on the Common over the next several weeks and reporting anything inappropriate that you observe to the Beacon Hill Civic Association at 617-227-1922 or e-mail info@bhcivic.org,” Gillmore wrote. “You also may contact the Mayor’s 24-hour constituent hotline at 617-635-4500/text to 617-505-1898 or e-mail parks@cityofboston.gov or mayor@cityofboston.gov. Noise and other event related complaints may be addressed to the Boston Park Rangers at 617-635-7382. Finally, if there are specific concerns that you wish to raise with the organizers of OTB, e-mail Kevin Carlon at kcarlon@outsidetheboxboston.org.”

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