SOAK*2020 Sound Policy

SOAK is held on acoustically challenging terrain. The shape of the valley and our proximity to the community of Tygh Valley can funnel sound, both within and outside of the event boundaries, with negative consequences for our neighbors. Sound can easily overwhelm a space, and participants cannot simply opt out as they can with other art forms. Additionally, bass travels multi-directionally and cannot be effectively contained within camp structures. SOAK is simultaneously dedicated to radical self-expression and to cultivating community. We must be considerate to participants as well as to local wildlife and the surrounding residents.

All participants must abide by this policy. If you believe a participant is not following the policy, bring your concerns to SOAK Rangers, who can be identified by their khaki or olive green clothes and lanyards. SOAK Rangers and SOAK Operations will investigate complaints about excessive sound, or sound that is outside of designated hours. Failure to respond appropriately to complaints raised by SOAK officials may result in one or more of the following actions:

  1. volume check by SOAK Operations
  2. mediation between camps and/or individuals
  3. the loss of amplified sound privileges
  4. ejection from the event

This policy applies to every individual, group, instrument and device producing sound before and during the event:

  1. Event-wide “Quiet Hours” are 6 am-10 am every day. During this time, keep all sound at a conversational level so people can sleep.
  2. SOAK has 3 sound zones (These are outlined on the placement map for 2020):
    1. Zone 1: No sound above a conversational level allowed from midnight-10 am
    2. Zone 2: No sound above a conversational level allowed from 3 am-10 am
    3. Zone 3: Sub-bass must be turned off or significantly reduced at 3 am, no sound above a conversational level allowed from 6 am-10 am
    4. All camps in all zones must respect Quiet Hours.
  3. Your camp is your responsibility. Ensure everyone creating sound within your camp or from mobile vehicles is aware of this policy and agrees to abide by it.
  4. Everyone (camps and individuals) with amplified sound systems must bring a functional sound meter.
  5. Sound systems of 300 watts or more must be pre-registered with SOAK. A representative for the sound system must attend orientation (or speak to an event Producer directly) to ensure all policies are understood and agreed.
  6. All speakers must be pointed inward toward the interior of your own camp or dance area rather than outward toward the event. Dominate your own space, not the spaces of others.
  7. As a general guideline, sound should never exceed 85 decibels when measured at 50 feet from the source. Due to the event site’s physical attributes, sound cannot be uniformly measured; therefore, measurements alone do not constitute reliable or clear indicators of a policy violation. Participant input and observations by SOAK Rangers and SOAK Operations may be the determining factors for sound violations, in addition to (or in spite of) meter readings.
  8. Be a good neighbor by reflecting the size of the audience and time of day. For example, if the dance floor is nearly empty at 5 am, bring your levels down.
  9. SOAK Rangers or SOAK Operations may ask you to adjust or turn down your sound during ceremonial burns in order to honor the sound plans of the ceremony designers.
  10. SOAK Rangers or SOAK Operations may ask you to adjust or turn down your sound at any time if there are multiple complaints.
  11. NEW FOR 2020 – Starting at midnight each evening, SOAK Operations will do a sound check at Gate. If your sound can be clearly heard at Gate, you will be instructed to lower your volume.

Resolving conflicts

Sound is subjective; sound camps and individuals may be negatively affecting the experience of others without realizing it.

  • If you’re in a sound camp, get to know your neighbors and share your sound schedule with them. Talk about how you can work together rather than compete for sonic space.
  • Make sure your neighbors know who’s ‘in charge’ at your camp, so they know who to talk to if they have concerns.
  • If you’re concerned about sound, start by talking to the camp or individual responsible and try to resolve the issue through direct communication.
  • If you’ve already spoken to someone and can’t find a compromise, contact SOAK Rangers for assistance. They can be identified by their khaki or olive green clothes and their lanyards.
What is your reaction to the policy after attending SOAK*2018? Number of responses: 218 responses.