City officials were surprised by the application from the International Noise Exposition Professional Team for Key West to become a stop on their international competitive noise circuit beginning in 2014. Planned for mid-March, 2014, the Key West Noise Exposition would bring competitors from around the world for a week long series of noise events.
The application indicated that, based on attendance at similar competitions held in 2013, Key West can expect between 20-25,000 in-city visitors, with as many as additional 20,000 within 50 miles of the island city. “We can certainly guarantee 100% occupancy in all hotels and inns in town,” sponsor Jack Wooddimple explained. “This is the kind of event that generates its own publicity so no TDC money would be needed. Worldwide there is a large fan base ready to attend.”
A Noise Exposition is a series of contests between various noise producing “creations” in different categories: mechanical, internal combustion, external combustion/explosion, electronic amplification, and personal performance. The winners from each of the categories compete against each other in the Grand Finale for overall prizes in three areas: total noise, annoyance, and people’s choice.
Unlike other competitions where attendees need to be in close proximity to the event, the very nature of Noise Expositions is such that people even at distances can appreciate the efforts. “We have had large crowds gather 50-60 kilometers from other competitions, following us on the Internet and enjoying the sounds as they reach them delayed in the atmosphere. It provides a special level of anticipation.” co-sponsor Guiseppe Carbonera added.
Last year, in Kiev, the Exposition awarded its first triple-crown winner when an extreme amplified recording of 1001 fingernails on a blackboard won in all three Grand Finale areas. “Kievites are still talking about that night!”
Wooddimple, when asked about the competitors and the competition, remarked, “These are mainly rich people with lots of time on their hands. They manipulate various technical aspects in ways to create noise at unimaginable levels, and as of yet there has not been a single demonstrated use for any of their work. This is pure sport!”
The I.N.E.P.T. application included outlines of some of the previous entrants. In Seoul, South Korea, forty-two modified diesel engines were able to produce a sustained whine above 250 db for over 24 hours. Gstadd, Switzerland, provided the natural setting for a series of in-ground explosions which created seismic waves that disturbed the milking patterns in cows and sleeping patterns in babies for a 1000 km radius. The Pretoria, South Africa, assemblage of a 2500 member orchestra which tuned-up without ever reaching a sustained harmonic chord for over an hour was the People’s Choice there.
Citing the Truman Waterfront as a perfect location for the competition, Carbonera noted “the potential for ocean-enhancement of low-frequencies will make Key West a one-of-a-kind competition.”
The application also noted that the proposed competition was consistent with other, already approved events sanctioned in Key West. “The island seems to welcome anything as long as it fill hotels rooms and induces people to spend lots of money in bars. We will fit right in!” Wooddimple said. “All we need is the waterfront to ourselves to prep for about a week in advance and then let the show go on.” Special movements of heavy equipment into town would occur during the preparation time, causing no more than a few lane closures per day.
Concerns about safety were also addressed in the application. “Over the years, no more than a few people are killed or deafened annually, an incident-to-attendance ratio enviable in most large sporting events.”
The City Commission is scheduled to consider the application at its next meeting, but already they have been warned that treating this event differently than already-approved events might bring legal action.
In 2013, Expositions were held not only in Seoul, Gstadd, and Pretoria, but also Brazil, Australia, and Canada. It is unclear if any of the previous sites will be on the 2014 tour list.