Music News

Tempe Music Fans Rally Around Shady Park Amid Noise Complaints by New Neighbors

The outdoor bar park at Shady Park in Tempe.
The outdoor bar park at Shady Park in Tempe. Jacob Tyler Dunn
More than 7,000 people have signed an online petition supporting live music at Shady Park, hoping to secure support from the Tempe City Council amid noise complaints allegedly lodged by residents at a new high-rise apartment complex.

The restaurant, located at 26 East University Drive, has been presenting a steady lineup of live music for several years. For much of the pandemic, though, its live shows were on hold. The ASU Mirabella development, a retirement community, opened across the street at 65 East University Drive in late 2020, while shows weren't happening. Now that music is back at Shady Park, the retired residents aren't happy about the noise.

“A few weeks ago some of the residents began a coordinated, aggressive campaign” against Shady Park, the venue said in a June 16 statement on social media. The statement didn’t include specifics, such as the number and type of complaints, or how they were made.

The building is owned and operated by Pacific Retirement Services, according to ASU spokesperson Jay Thorne, who confirmed “the disruption that Mirabella residents are experiencing” in a statement sent to Phoenix New Times on June 17, adding that “we are working with all parties and the city to find a satisfactory resolution.”
The petition has garnered significant support.

“I got involved because I’m a fan and I’ve been going there for five years,” says Amanda Rodriguez, who started it. "It’s my favorite music venue, and I don’t want it to change.”

Shady Park has not responded to New Times’ repeated requests for information. However, the venue posted a June 18 update on social media, which says it have been working with Tempe Mayor Corey Woods “to find a cooperative solution to this issue.”

Shady Park also posted a statement attributed to Tempe City Council member Joel Navarro, which praises the Tempe music scene in general, as well as Shady Park creator Scott Price. Navarro has not responded to New Times’ request for details about this statement. Shady Park social media posts also thank council members Randy Keating and Robin Arredondo-Savage for their support.

click to enlarge One More Time performing at Shady Park in Tempe. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
One More Time performing at Shady Park in Tempe.
Benjamin Leatherman
A city statement sent to New Times on June 16 affirms that they are working with the venue to address concerns raised by residents living near Shady Park. “In an effort to accommodate both the residents and Tempe music lovers,” it reads, “city staff has worked with the owner of Shady Park to implement some sound mitigation measures to direct the noise away from the residential area.”

Meanwhile, Shady Park supporters have taken a variety of approaches to the issue.

Early on, some posted bad reviews of ASU Mirabella online, a strategy Shady Park discouraged in its June 18 update. “Please refrain from any and all negativity directed towards the residents of Mirabella,” they wrote. “These people are our neighbors, and the current situation is not their doing.”

Others replied to Shady Park social media posts by suggesting that people use City Council meetings to show their support. So far, the item has not appeared on a City Council agenda, and there were no comments about Shady Park during the public comment section of its June 24 meeting.

For now, it appears that discussions are happening behind the scenes.

“This is a sensitive situation and the goal is to calmly talk through this issue and explore options, which is what is happening now between the Shady Park ownership, the city of Tempe, and Pacific Retirement Services,” Thorne wrote in a June 25 email to New Times.

“Discussions are ongoing,” Thorne wrote, “and respectfully civil.”
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Lynn Trimble is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specializing in arts and culture, including visual and performing arts
Contact: Lynn Trimble