loud music on Castara beach

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loud music on Castara beach

Post by FionaMC » Thu Aug 14, 2014 9:49 am

Friends and I spent a week at Castara Retreats 18-25 June 2014. The only thing that marred an otherwise perfect holiday was the loud music that played for two days and nights on the beach. It wasn’t just loud – which can be dulled with earplugs – the bass vibrated the walls and reverberated through our beds, making sleep impossible for 48 hours. I totally respect the right of any local community to have a party but this was way beyond any legal noise limit. On the second night a friend and I decided that as we couldn’t sleep we’d go down to the Cas Creole bar and join the party – but no one but the DJ was there! That made it harder for me and my friends to just ‘live and let live’. The owners of Castara Retreats did everything in their power to get the volume reduced and offered to relocate any guests at no cost if they found the noise intolerable, which was taken up by some of the guests. We would love to come back to Castara next summer but do not want to take the risk of this happening again. What are the chances of having a quiet holiday in Castara in June/July 2015?

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Re: loud music on Castara beach

Post by Julian » Fri Aug 15, 2014 12:39 pm

Hi Fiona,

Have a read

http://www.mytobago.info/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=9085

People are aware of the issue but I guess it needs local discussion as to whether these disturbances are "freedom of expression" or a threat to the tourist trade. Castara is a wonderful place, and Castara Retreats a beacon of quality but the experience of both can be marred if there is 24 hour loud music.

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Re: loud music on Castara beach

Post by Paul Tallet » Sat Aug 16, 2014 8:34 am

Doesn't bother me ... and I have said my piece in that thread that Julian refers to.

I will always expect a big party to kick off at any time or any place in Tobago and I love it. Maybe the DJ was practising?!?

The pounding of the sea is quite deafening at night and I have yet to find anyone that can switch it off :mrgreen:

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Re: loud music on Castara beach

Post by FionaMC » Sat Aug 16, 2014 12:58 pm

Thanks Julian

I have read the whole thread and can see that this is a complex and sensitive issue which has been debated for a while. The needs of the local community should always take priority over the needs of visitors, but to the extent that the community's income depends on visitors being happy, then some compromises might need to be made. I'm curious to know what came out of the community discussions that Steve W and Porridge referred to back in 2011.

I live in a rural farming community in Wales that increasingly looks to tourism for its economic viability, and I can see some parallels. As a service provider (self-catering accommodation) I often have to moderate my own behaviour in consideration of my guests. It’s not a sacrifice - it's just good business sense.

If parties like the one in June are actually detrimental to the Castara community and only serve the needs of a few then I reckon this needs to be seriously reconsidered. I’d be interested to know if there is a legally permitted noise limit that was being flaunted – the agreed timings certainly were.

Apart from this I loved every minute of my time in Castara. I want to come back and I want to be able to recommend it unreservedly to anyone I talk to 8)

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Re: loud music on Castara beach

Post by Gabriela » Sat Aug 16, 2014 2:03 pm

Joining the conversation here as one of the people having stayed at Castara during the time of the 48hrs beach music. I actually took some clients out there for a health retreat, so having 2 solid nights disturbed was not good for my customers. I want to take a group out again next year but seriously have to consider the risk of this type of disturbance. I hear you, Paul, when you say 'I always expect a big party to kick off at any time or any place on Tobago...'. I've been to Tobago 4 times now and have certainly had the 'big party kick off' experience a few times from the Cas Creole. I also understand what you mean by the surf and I had recommended that my guests come prepared with earplugs to deal with that level of noise. But nothing compares to what the June experience was like. This was a beach concert held at the Cas Creole with speakers pointing at the Castara hills, that has it's peak between midnight and 6am in the morning, going on for 48 hours with only an hour here and there respite during the day time, with a bass volume that made the shelves shake on the wall of my bedroom and a music style that stresses a person's adrenals. This actually felt like an assault. I tried both ear plugs and noise cancelling headphones, neither allowed me to sleep. We went down on the second evening around 10pm to ask if they could please turn down the bass. We explained that we could just about cope with the volume but that it was the intense bass that was so grating on the nerves over such an extended period. The most irritating thing was that there was nobody there to listen, dance or have fun. Apparently I was told the next day that by 1am there were about 40 people. Yet by 5am, when I could no longer bear to be awake in bed, there was again nobody on the beach. Yet the music continued well into the morning.

I had already been on Tobago for over a week, but my guests had only just arrived a couple of days earlier and were still getting to grips with the time difference. Please keep in mind that many visitors only come for one week. To have one or two nights robbed of sleep in a one week holiday can spoil that entire break which may be one of only a few vacations people have in their year. I don't think licenses should be given for such extended hours. I really want to go back. Castara is such a wonderful village with such charm and very friendly people. I feel safe there and it's a great place to relax and unwind, as long as one can get sleep!

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Re: loud music on Castara beach

Post by Paul Tallet » Sat Aug 16, 2014 10:24 pm

I hear you all ... I go to Castara for my holidays, you know that Castara is a community and I prefer that to being in a resort.

I have experienced the loud music too.

I guess you are just unlucky you were there when it happened ... 48 hours of music mayhem equates to about 14% of a 2 week holiday or 28% of a weeks holiday so I guess your happiness factor is somewhere between 72% and 86%.

I guess that's a positive ... Smile :mrgreen:

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Re: loud music on Castara beach

Post by Gabriela » Sun Aug 17, 2014 9:08 am

Actually Paul, I was working. 12-14 hours a day making smoothies, breakfast, lunch and dinner for 16 people and running classes. The second night of the music I just stayed up and worked in the kitchen until 1 or 2am. But even working and staying awake was extremely draining with the music. I guess you would have to have been there. This was not Caribbean Jazz, Blues or Soul. This was extreme clubbing music, which I believe you can only tolerate if you're high on something. This was not some fun beach party that anybody could join in, with great music to dance to. It was in my humble opinion a mindless activity which benefitted nobody, as there were less than 3 people there 87% of the time. (worked this out by the number of hours that allegedly there was a bunch of people present).

Of course we coped - and recovered, and yes we were unlucky, and no I don't want Castara to become a resort but stay a community. I really don't mind a beach party that starts late in the afternoon, even if it goes on until 1am or 2am, at decibels where a person has a choice to put some earplugs in and lull themselves into sleep to the dulled rhythm. But these were decibels that left your eardrums and your diaphragm hurting for a day after, I'm not kidding you. I know plenty of the locals, and many of them were disturbed too, and I spoke to several who told me that they were just glad that they lived in a part of the village where it 'wasn't so bad'. Maybe Castara Retreats was particularly badly positioned, as the large speakers were pointing directly at us and the sound than reverberated back of the hillside into the lodges.

So in keeping with your positiveness, how about Castara finds a way to do the beach parties in a way that works for everybody, where there is an agreement as to how loud the music can be and how intense the bass can be, so that everybody can enjoy this piece of paradise. A beach party is such a wonderful idea and it truly is part of the Caribbean culture, it should definitely not be stopped. But equally, the inhabitants and guests of Castara should not have to feel that they have to relocate for the night or escape for the day because the volume levels are intolerable.

I'm sure there is a positive way forward. This should not be a discussion that ends in one league saying 'it's got to stop completely' and the other saying 'oh come one, don't worry, be happy'. This is a discussion that should end in the community working together to find a solution that works for all. :D =D>

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Re: loud music on Castara beach

Post by Paul Tallet » Sun Aug 17, 2014 11:17 am

I could not agree more Gabriela ... I am totally with you.

But the chances of getting various factions within the village together with outside business interests and holiday makers and agreeing a future policy on this will be as easy as nailing smoke to the wall, coupled with the point that the music was that loud I guess that everyone is now stone deaf with hiccups and will find communication difficult until they all learn sign language.

I guess that if tourists decided not to go to Castara and their holiday trade suffers then perhaps something could be done but I can't see that happening either.

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Re: loud music on Castara beach

Post by Taharka » Mon Aug 18, 2014 7:55 pm

Hi Guys,

Gabriella, I think we actually met while you were out here in lovely Castara. My mom and I sold you some basel to make a dish for your clients. Anyway, as a local who lives in Castara, I actually agree with your line of reasoning. However in reading your note you seem a bit oblivious to the real source of the distasteful disturbance which you had to painfully endure. Let me have you know that that party had absolutely nothing to do with the Community of Castara. It was put on by a promoter who lives outside of Castara by the name of 'Shorty' who uses the Cascreole compound to throw his parties which have continually become less popular among locals. Just a little history on 'Shorty, or before I do that I should also have you know that Parties to Caribbean/Tobago people is like Fish and Chips to the English, they are inseparable. That is to say that two, or for the most three really big parties in Castara yearly (like the Castara Fisher Folk festival) is not uncommon, it is just part of how locals live. However 'Shorty' and his boys took advantage of this and about five years ago began keeping regular parties on the beach in Castara. They were initially frequented by some segments of the community but as it prolonged, the villagers began to turn on him more viciously (for the said reason you were upset), to the point where he was driven out of Castara for a while. The party that you are referring to was the first one of it sought for sometime (So I kind of actually agree with Paul when he told you that you were a bit unlucky to be there at that time, however if you won't there someone else would have and then they would have had to put up with the same nonsense.) So I am thinking this was suppose to be a rebirth of 'Shorty' in Castara and by the response from the locals, who are obviously fed up, it fell flat on its face. I can easily turn this into a 2000 word narrative, but I would rather not do. However let me leave you with some succinct conclusions.

1. Please don't go away with the feeling that this was a party that was organized by inconsiderate villagers of Castara to disturb the peace of locals and tourist a like, the villagers generally had nothing to do with this.

2. To me, the fight is in gathering interest to oppose guys like 'Shorty' and have them know that Castara is a village that depends heavily on tourism and we cannot have them hurt our interest with there selfishness. Also regardless of the tourism factor, locals are fed up with him anyway.

3. The second point brings up the third. I will be naive as a Tobagonian to tell you that we don't love parties and we don't want them. The real fight is when parties are being kept, it must be done with a compromise that will leave all parties satisfied.

4. And please come back to Castara, because believe it or not, guys like yourself are a lot more important to our fight than you probably realize.

Baba.

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Re: loud music on Castara beach

Post by Thomas » Tue Aug 19, 2014 5:20 am

Hi Everybody

me just come back from Castara. Need not to say that since my last stay ten years ago there were not to many changes and the place is real one of the nicest in the West Indies :D

To the Music issue, I love the Islands because of the different attitude to Music and life.

(Remember some day I stayed somewhere in Jamaica and play some Music on my porch and the neighbour come over to ask kindly if I could Play louder because he loved what I Play :D )

By the way Castara is most of the time very quiet and if there is some Party why not join or at least be happy that something happen.

Tourist that cannot stand the locals living there should stay in that caged things called Resort

I`m looking for peace and quiet too in my vacation and thats the reason my prefer places like Castara (beside Carriacou one of my fav Islands is Tobago) but I also don`t want People living there to Change there way of living
I want to be a guest and just happy if the living in the place goes on

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Re: loud music on Castara beach

Post by FionaMC » Tue Aug 19, 2014 8:12 am

Thank you Baba – what you say is very interesting (and reassuring!) especially about this event having little to do with the local community -whose absence was pretty obvious by all accounts. I also heard a rumour that one reason the music was so loud was because the promoter was trying to lure people from other parts of the island beyond Castara. Let’s hope that local people whose interests are hurt by Shorty’s self-interest will speak out so that future licenses won’t be granted.

I would LOVE to experience a ‘real’ Tobagonian party – a bunch of us would have gone to Sunday School had we not been so sleep-deprived after Shorty’s 48 hour do!

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Re: loud music on Castara beach

Post by Steve Wooler » Tue Aug 19, 2014 10:02 am

Hi Taharka

Welcome aboard! :) It is so great to hear from someone from the local community. I hope we hear a lot more of you here on this forum. We have never met, but having read your reply, I can see why you are held in such high regard by those visitors who have mentioned your name to me.The future of the village and community is very much in the hands of young Castarians, like yourself, and I really can't think of any village resident, young or old, who could have expressed themselves so eloquently, or in such a reasoned way. So, please let us hear more from you on this forum, Taharka. If you see me around the village, PLEASE make yourself known.

Anyway, please don’t think me churlish for picking holes in your response as I do agree with 99% of your well-made points. I appreciate that politically, it might be difficult for you to respond to the specific points I now make…
Here is my issue. You are totally correct when you say that most villagers were every bit as annoyed by the ‘Shorty’ events as any tourists and that the party had absolutely nothing to do with the local community of Castara. Yes, the party (and others before it) was organised, promoted and managed by Shorty Promotion of Mason Hall. However, these events are based at a venue owned by a member of the Castara community – Dexter Taylor. So, the bottom line is that they are being made possible by a member of the local community. What horrifies me is that Dexter owns Angel Apartment, the largest guest house in the village. How does he justify the sleepless nights to his guests? Maybe he ensure that he doesn’t have any!

The sickening thing is that that the local community does not benefit from these events. They do, however, do irreparable damage. Yes, Dexter gets a nice fat fee for renting out the Cascreole venue, no doubt. However, as I understand it, nobody else in Castara benefits. Shorty brings in his own non-Castara staff to run the event. I understand the local ladies who use to set up stalls selling food and drink have been banned from the Cascreole site and Shorty brings in his own ‘ladies’. So, the local inhabitants get a couple of sleepless nights but only one member of the community earns anything out of it. Yes, I guess a few residents might attend the party, but with all the visitors and their income gone, they won’t even be able to do that in a few years’ time.

Can I make a final comment to those who appear to think that this is just a case of a large music centre being left on a little too loud. I am reliably informed that at this last event, the professional sound system speakers were positioned on the beach so that they could be heard in Plymouth, 7 miles down the coast. The sound travels well across water, of course. Apparently, the aim was that people in Plymouth, Moriah and even Mason Hall would be alerted to the fact that a big party was going on and hopefully track it down and attend. Just imagine what that must have been like for poor sods only a few hundred yards away.
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Re: loud music on Castara beach

Post by Taharka » Mon Sep 01, 2014 4:03 am

Hi Steve,
Obviously we haven't met, but once I see you around and recognize you I will definitely make myself known. Both you and I know how the politics work and I don't want to get too entangled in that; but just might have to if this madness continues. I remember writing an editorial piece in the Tobago New as a 15 year old about garbage that was left on the beach until after midday the following day after a party that was held at the venue in question (I think Shorty and his boys also had a hand in this party as well). So imagine how ridiculous it was for me as a local to have to be skipping through all manner of rubbish (broken bottles included) on my own beach!!!!!!! Some people though I was right to do what I did, however some hurtful things was said (although not to my face by a small minority). From that Experience I have learned that in the local political system that you made reference to, you can make lifelong foe/enemies for simply denouncing the wrong. That is why I think more locals haven't vociferously opposed those involved. I don't know why a local who has interest in tourism will continue to do this, but I think he has the right to rent his place to whoever he wants. What really worries me is why is it a licenses is being granted to Shorty and his boys to come and terrorize Castara and environs? Aren't there people who are being paid by the EMA (or whoever) to monitor situations like these? If a party like this went on for 48 hours, what on earth are these guys being paid to do, couldn't they have shut that foolishness down the first day? If we can find answers to these questions, maybe we can solve something.

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Re: loud music on Castara beach

Post by Steve Wooler » Mon Sep 01, 2014 9:14 am

Hi Taharka

Good question - how are they getting licenses for these events? The problem is that Tobago hasn't got an honest or efficient judicial and court systems. Too many backhanders ensure that the authorities look the other way in these situations. It really shames Tobago. I don't know what the answer is, but I do feel that ensuring that the village is represented, and the views of the majority expressed, at license hearings for these events. I guess the tricky bit is finding out when the license application is to be heard.
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Re: loud music on Castara beach

Post by Kenny Dorner » Thu Sep 18, 2014 1:11 pm

I’ve been very interested to hear what you have to say about this Taharka. What you say pretty much fits with how I have seen things, particularly as these parties of Shorty at the Cas Creole have hardly anyone turning up, but the whole village is kept awake. I had the opportunity to speak with Dexter a couple of days ago about this and I mentioned the following points:
· The volume level very high: in some properties all the kitchen utensils (plates, glasses, cutelry) were shaking and making noise.
· Direction of speakers: the direction of the speakers caused addittional discomfort to parts of the village that they are pointed at. Many people say that they should be pointed out to sea.
· Licenced hours: the granted hours for such event were eight hours for each night from midnight but more than double these hours had loud music.

He mentioned to me that he was not aware that the event caused that much disturbance and discomfort throughout the community. He apologized, but he gave no assurance that such events will not be held in the future. He agreed that he would pay more attention to the above mentioned points. He did not know until I told him that people can object to his licence when such a disturbance happens. We both agreed that we would monitor future events to check that there is minimal disturbance. I will wait now to see what happens.

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Re: loud music on Castara beach

Post by GervaisAlkins » Thu Sep 18, 2014 2:10 pm

Growing up in T&T I was pretty accustomed to loud noise through the night but after we had a young one that changed.
When a nearby all-night party at the local watering hole got to bad we tried to take action. We got a number for the three police officers who are environmental officers for the Environmental Management Agency (EMA). We called them on one occasion and they eventually came, measured the noise level from the offending party and asked the owner of the bar to turn the music down to which he complied. When the officers left, the music was promptly turned up even louder! #-o
I do think things will eventually change ( at a very very snail-like pace) but I can recommend contacting Environment Tobago for the numbers of the EMA officers although I must admit it probably will be difficult to get them to come to Castara for 'a little noise' problem.

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Re: loud music on Castara beach

Post by Bryony » Thu Jan 22, 2015 2:37 pm

We had lunch at the Cas Creole bar and we also enjoyed their Thursday night bonfire on the beach bonfire. We felt that they had something special right on the beach. Little did we know that later on the Thursday when we gone to bed, the owner’s son, Andy, would be turning up the volume and keeping us awake till 3am. This has occurred four times in the past week. We are told that it is only him and a few friends and his girlfriend from the Netherlands who stay on playing this music at such an antisocial hour. We have met plenty of others this week, including locals, who are fed up with this. Why would we or anyone else support the Cas Creole for food and drink when they allow their son to ruin everyone’s sleep. They have no respect their customers or this village. I see on this forum that there have been other times when this bar has spoiled things for the village. I’m told Andy is applying for a visa to go and stay with his girlfriend in the Netherlands. I feel like writing to them to ask them if they realise what they will be getting. We won’t be coming back here to find out. Such a shame but nobody seems prepared or able to stop him.

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Re: loud music on Castara beach

Post by Paul Williams » Fri Jan 23, 2015 4:22 pm

It would be good to hear what some other prominent members of the forum who are in Castara at the moment think about this.

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Re: loud music on Castara beach

Post by Hugh S » Fri Jan 23, 2015 5:40 pm

Others with similar names? :wink:

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Re: loud music on Castara beach

Post by Algirdas » Fri Jan 23, 2015 5:44 pm

We stayed in Castara four times. We enjoy the hospitality of our hosts from the apartment just near cascreole. Music was difficult and sleep was hard. We thought to join the party . The bar was empty but for three boys, all drugged. One was aggressive , so we retreat. Later we saw one of the boys and was told he is Andy Taylor, the son of the owner Dexter Taylor. They say the family have " bad attitude “ . They have spoiled cascreole and the supermarket and their Angel Apartment gasthouse. They must be alone in Castara not to profit from tourism . Perhaps that explain attitude. But not such disrespect for local neighbors. Last summer we went instead to Charlottesville. How different. It is the real Tobago. I do not wish to patronize a place that treats visitors this way. We will return when the people want tourists and put affairs in order .

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