Music News

Shady Park Tempe Is Pausing Operations

Recalling the outdoor bar park during a Lazy Syrup Orchestra set.
Recalling the outdoor bar park during a Lazy Syrup Orchestra set. Benjamin Leatherman
Shady Park Tempe is temporarily ceasing operations, according to a statement posted on its Facebook page on Wednesday, July 7. It’s the latest development in an ongoing controversy involving noise complaints made by residents living in a new residential tower that caters to senior citizens.

“We are pausing operations to construct a step-pyramid over parts of the park to help contain sound,” the Shady Park statement reads in part. “We sincerely hope this will make our neighbors happy.”

The neighbors are residents of ASU Mirabella, including some who’ve taken issue with noise generated during outdoor live music performances at the Tempe hotspot. The university has not provided Phoenix New Times with details about the number and types of complaints lodged by ASU Mirabella residents, but did send the following statement via email on June 17:

“Arizona State University is aware of the disruption that Mirabella residents are experiencing and the rights and responsibilities of the owners of the Shady Park night club and we are working with all parties and the city of Tempe to find a satisfactory resolution.” On June 25, a university spokesperson confirmed that “discussions are ongoing.”

On June 28, a spokesperson for the city of Tempe emailed New Times, confirming that “the city is working with ASU/Mirabella and Shady Park to facilitate a resolution to the issues recently raised.” That statement also noted that outdoor live music would be temporarily paused at the venue.

“Outside concerts will be ceasing at Shady Park for the next few weeks due to the summer heat and to allow for a shade canopy that may also offer some noise mitigation benefit,” the city spokesperson wrote. “The city continues to appreciate the responsiveness of both the business and the area residents who are involved in this matter.” New Times requested an update from the city on July 7 but had not heard back as of this writing.

click to enlarge Throwback to a packed house for a Kill Frenzy set at Shady Park. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Throwback to a packed house for a Kill Frenzy set at Shady Park.
Benjamin Leatherman
However, an ASU spokesperson did reply to New Times' July 7 request for an update.

"Like many neighborhood–local business issues, this had a flashpoint but it's now moving along methodically," the ASU spokesperson wrote. "Meetings have been held between Mirabella residents and management, and the City of Tempe including both the owner of Shady Park and his representatives. Conversations about noise and mitigation are ongoing and we are not aware of any steps toward legal action being taken by Mirabella residents."

His statement also clarifies ASU's role in the housing development at the center of the controversy.

"While ASU is most certainly involved and takes a strong interest in the people who have chosen to make Mirabella their home, the university does not own the building, nor is it involved in any of the real estate transactions involving its residents," he explains. "The university does continue to be involved in discussions with the city of Tempe about conditions and potential resolution as we go forward."

Shady Park has not responded to New Times’ repeated requests for comment or information.

However, Shady Park has shared details about some of its future plans via social media. “Shady Park is staying,” according to its July 7 social media post announcing the temporary pause in operations, which also states that “tickets for future shows will be announced soon.”

In that same post, the venue announced the creation of a Shady Park community fund, stating that “25% of the profits from our company, Peacocks Unlimited, will go to this fund and then back to the community.”

According to the post, updates will be provided via social media accounts for the new Shady Park Community.
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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