The 73,000-capacity U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN has been a hit with fans of the Minnesota Vikings football team, but it hasn’t fared as well with concertgoers. Having hosted only a handful of shows since opening in July, 2016, there seems to be a growing consensus that the $1.129 Billion venue that took two and a half years to build isn’t acoustically amenable to music.
That shouldn’t be a surprise to audio pros; sports venues have long been designed with plenty of hard surfaces to reflect crowd noise, the theory being that more noise adds to the drama and excitement, helping keep sports fans revved up throughout the game. That’s certainly the case with this venue—USA Today reported the crowd noise hit 114 dB at a pre-season game in August, 2016.
But what gives one set of fans a great experience isn’t as beneficial for others. Hindering concert sound are the massive reflective surfaces, starting a large, slanted wall on one side, and the non-retractable, 240,000-square-foot semi-translucent roof, created from Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene plastic to allow as much natural light into the venue as possible.
The situation has caused so much grief that local TV news has started covering the situation, such as local CBS station, WCCO, in the video clip above, where a stadium spokesperson commented:
“The venue is one of many pieces in the overall acoustical equation. We provide the services of our in-house sound technicians and a sound consultant to support the tour’s sound engineers and provide recommendations in working with our in-house sound systems. We also provide draping in the upper level to help all concerts with their acoustics. Our team works to support the tour as closely as possible in order to provide a best-in-class experience for all of our guests.”
That makes it pretty clear that US Bank Stadium is aware of the issue—but it also sounds like there’s a lot more work to be done.
Stadium Photo: Darb02 (CC BY-SA 4.0)