Stop whining, find solutions

Wine About Winter, while a lovely event itself, turned into a whine fest for area residents complaining about the loud vibes from the Musical Fountain’s sound system.
Jan 18, 2013


We get it. Not everyone loves Nora Jones. Not everyone wants to participate in the festivities.

We also understand that the summertime fountain shows can annoy some who live near the stadium’s boom boxes. Night after night of anything can get monotonous.

But here’s the rub — these events bring business and guests to downtown Grand Haven. They make the city what it is: a thriving place to live, work and visit.

City officials, trying to keep in mind both the comfort of residents and the necessity of great events, are considering solutions. We urge them to look into low-cost technological fixes that will work.

FM transmitters and more localized speakers would be great for the fountain show, while some remote outdoor speakers would be terrific for downtown shopping.

These are all doable fixes to dampen the most obnoxious strains of Nora Jones. But the last thing any of us should want is to dampen downtown events.

So, let’s stop complaining and start collaborating to figure out how to best serve us all.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.



Put speakers up behind and above the stadium stands at the waterfront; face them west, towards the fountain. This will annoy the heck out of the people on the North Shore but there are lots fewer there than there are facing east. Personally it doesn't bother me one way or the other, but it may be a simple solution for those that seem to be bothered by almost anything. If we stopped the fountain they would scream about the lost revenue; you can please some of the people ...


An FM transmitter setup will sound like garbage and will potentially be a problem when some punks come along with their own transmitter and start broadcasting vulgar music on the same channel.

The sound carries so far due to the topography of the land and the atmospheric conditions. The existing speakers should be kept around for the Coast Guard Festival and the 4th of July.

During normal shows, a couple small/medium line-arrays should be installed in the waterfront stadium area. They are very directional, and having them near the audience will prevent sound spillover while providing a much cleaner sound. It would give the viewing audience the punch and sound quality they desire while not disturbing the residents of the city. It would also allow the waterfront concerts to tap into that system if needed to provide concert-quality sound without annoying everyone else in town.

For events downtown, there should be decent sounding, yet small speakers mounted on the lamp posts. Once again, these will provide good sound to the sidewalks of downtown, while not disturbing residents at all (even the ones above the shops).

The current sound system was designed partly based on the original 1962 design, as well as technical limitations when it was upgraded in 1995 (no feasible way to get the audio across the river, and vandalism concerns). Now there is high-bandwidth wireless solutions that can transfer the audio to amplifiers located in the waterfront stadium in CD-quality, and line-arrays are mounted above the ground on poles to prevent vandalism. The current speakers are so far from shore that the atmospheric conditions can affect the sound. There are many nights where it can sound very quiet in the stadium (you could whisper over the sound), yet it would be incredibly boomy and loud on the other side of town at that exact moment. Any of you that have visited the fountain on a windy, or cool night (with warm river water) will know what I am talking about; the sound will go from not being heard, to incredibly loud, and back again during the show.


Some simple solutions will get ignored or at least get ignored after a committee was formed (as a previous councilman delighted in suggesting) to investigate a problem. But you know what? Some common ground has to be arrived at between kid’s amplified noise and the fountain, which will never happen. Those that complain as they are about to be hung with a new rope will prevail, again.


What committee are we talking about? The musical fountain committee or some other one?


Who knows!


I like your solution. It’s well thought out and presented in easy to understand English. My comment of it being simple and it will get ignored, especially after well meaning citizens get a hold of it. My example of this former council member, he was tired of being brow beat when he commented on decision making items. He then suggested such matters be turned over to a committee to be investigated. This had a negative effect in that for a committed to come up with something constructive (in theory) took time, and therefore, “Died in committee.”

The Manitou

There was once a vivacious and beautiful girl of sixteen. Everyone loved her charm, wit and smile. Two women (sisters) moved in next door and soon became jealous. They knew she lived there, but figured the little "strumpet" would change. She was actually a good girl and brought joy to many. The women patiently waited for her to grow up and attend college. Years passed and when she graduated, the young lady decided to live at home with her parents and go to the local college. This infuriated the oldest sister. She made her youngest sister march right over and demand that the girl "tone-it-down" significantly. Her parents, caving into what their neighbors wanted, gave her a stern talking to. The young lady, embarrassed as she was by it all, dressed in darker colors, lowered her voice and stopped going out of her comfort zone to bring joy to others because she was told by the neighbors how annoying she was (and a little bit of Heaven on earth was extinguished). My view is, don't move downtown if this is an issue. Can I buy your house? I love downtown! It's convenient to everything fun and I'm not some fuddy-duddy that would fail to enjoy it.


Do you really think so? Understand your attempt, but whoa; not sure you pulled that one off. The issue, as I understand it, is that the majority of complaints are coming from the East side of U.S. 31. The proposed solution is to have the sound more localized to the downtown area as to not bother these "noise sensitive" individuals. Nice you want to move downtown though, don't blame you on that one; Grand Haven is a wonderful place. Maybe you can talk some of the whiners into moving to Manitou; or anyplace else for that matter. I feel that anybody complaining about any living condition in the tri-cities has never lived any place else. If they had something to compare this paradise to, they would shut their mouths and be so very grateful; we are every day.

The Manitou

In the next couple years I want to talk to a real estate agent about moving closer to the fountain area or the beach. Maybe I can get some person disgruntled by all the "people, tourists, dogs, snow, sand and fountain noise" to come down a great deal on their home. I really want to be downtown.


Police ticket kids for loud music in there cars in town
yet we live 2 miles upstream from the fountain and can hear it.....Go figure

The Manitou

I figured it out! Brain surgeons can do surgery. You can't. A drive-in movie can show films, I can't set up an outdoor theater some weekend, just because I feel like it. Pronto pups can cook up a real good snack, but my sister cannot deal corn dogs out of a paper sack for tourists to munch on. The local high school band or symphony can play a beautiful piece of music and the sound may spill out into the parking lot or streets, but the little yahoos you're talking about can't cruise up and down the road booming obscene laced music 24-7.


Lost revenue??? The city sure didn't care when they spent years driving all of the younger people out of downtown by ticketing them for every move they made. They also don't worry about the lost revenue from stalking the bars with 3-5 police cars non stop every weekend just waiting for people to leave (and ticketing their cars if they don't). We are ticketed for having loud music playing in our vehicles but not when the musical fountain plays it. Keep making these decisions GH we will soon have the same stuck up nose in the air reputation as Spring Lake.


good one justme, love it, i lived here in grand haven all my life, wouldn't live anywhere else, the only thing that bothers me when the young one,s cruise the downtown with the heart pounding so called music


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