Frank Petty and his family were enjoying a performance of “Peter and the Wolf” by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra at the Chrysalis in Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods on Sept. 18 when things got a little uncomfortable.
Toward the end of the concert, instead of hearing the sound of Sergei Prokofiev’s famous composition, music by Tom Petty and Fleetwood Mac boomed throughout the grounds, much to the chagrin of those in attendance.
“It was so disrespectful. It was just blaring,” said Petty, of Columbia. “Merriweather was intentionally interrupting the concert. It was something else.”
A soundcheck for the sold-out Daryl Hall and John Oates concert at nearby Merriweather Post Pavilion later that evening had started and was quickly shut down when the venue’s operators were made aware of the disturbance. It was the first time the staff has ever had to ask an artist to shut down a soundcheck, according to Audrey Fix Schaefer, communications director for I.M.P., the concert promoters at Merriweather.
“[It was] an unprecedented issue,” Schaefer said. “We are working with all the parties to make sure it does not happen again.”
According to Nina Basu, president of Inner Arbor Trust, which operates the Chrysalis, two other performances were disrupted by events at Merriweather earlier this year. She said the occurrences were a first for the Chrysalis, which opened in 2017.
“We are very sorry to the BSO and the audience for … the interruptions. It was regrettable,” Basu said. “We are focused on moving forward.”
Those in attendance at the Chrysalis event were offered free tickets to one of the BSO’s two final family concert series performances at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore on either Feb. 26 or April 2.
“The BSO was very gracious,” Basu said. “We are hoping they come back.”
Merriweather staff were made aware of the concert at the Chrysalis three weeks before the Hall and Oates concert, Schaefer said, which had been on the calendar for two years. She said she was unaware of any other previous issues with the Chrysalis.
“We are all working together to ensure it doesn’t happen again,” Schaefer said. “We are all here to make the patrons and guests happy.”
Basu said all venues were doing their best after being closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and are now dealing with the various restrictions and changing environment while still trying to put on live shows.
“We are all coming back from COVID and a year without concerts,” Basu said. “Obviously, we want 0% of our shows to have issues, and we are working toward that. Everyone is trying to do their best.”