The owners of The Woodshed in Manchester have received approval to hold a six-concert series this summer. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

MANCHESTER — The Woodshed in Manchester has received approval to hold a six-concert series this summer, on condition none of the gatherings violates the town’s noise ordinance of 65 decibels.

A typical vacuum cleaner operates at about 75 decibels, according to research published by Yale University.

The approval came Tuesday after a packed meeting of the Board of Selectmen at the Town Office, during which some residents shared concerns about the concerts, which were also held last summer.

The Woodshed opened in July 2020, and is part of the Kennebec Cabin Co. at 915 Western Ave., which serves as headquarters for “Maine Cabin Masters,” a television show on the Magnolia Network.

Tickets for the concerts must be sold in advance and are limited to 350 per event. All of the proceeds from one concert will benefit the Harold Alfond Youth & Community Center in Waterville and all of the proceeds from another concert will benefit the Dempsey Center.

The noise ordinance restriction was added in response to complaints from residents living near The Woodshed, particularly the Longfellow family, which runs Longfellow’s Greenhouses up the road, at 81 Puddledock Road.


Owners Scott and Sandra Longfellow said that while in their backyard last summer, they could hear nearly every word of every song during the concerts. After having made several complaints, the Longfellows hired lawyer Walter McKee of Augusta to help them do something about the noise. They also hired a sound specialist to determine the average decibel level during the shows.

McKee said the audio specialist found music levels far exceeded 75 decibels.

Shortly before Tuesday’s meeting, Ryan Eldridge of “Maine Cabin Masters” posted on Facebook the gathering would be a fight for The Woodshed’s survival and asked for a show of support from the community. The post quickly received more than 100 comments and nearly 400 shares, resulting in a packed meeting room and several more attending through Zoom.

During the meeting, Scott Longfellow addressed the Facebook post, saying he felt it an unfair characterization of the situation.

He said the noise investigation was not favorable to The Woodshed, and he would hate to think that is why Eldridge posted the appeal.

“That is far from the truth. We’re not trying to put anybody out of business, and I want to make sure they realize that that’s not my goal,” Scott Longfellow said. “My goal is to protect my property, my backyard, my peace and quiet. I don’t think anyone has the right to invade that with the noise levels we’ve been experiencing. I do feel as though I had a right to have somebody professionally look at this, and I do feel that we have a right to challenge the noise levels.”


A sign at The Woodshed in Manchester. The owners have received approval to hold a six-concert series this summer. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Eldridge, who did not mention the Longfellows by name in the Facebook post, said he did not know any of what Scott Longfellow had said because there had been no communication between them.

Manchester resident Helene Farrar, who owns an art studio next door to The Woodshed, said at the meeting she had had no problems with noise from the establishment.

“There’s a lot of problems about noise in Manchester,” Farrar said. “There’s been a lot of traffic I’ve seen in the 20 years I’ve lived here, and it has nothing to do with the location of their business. When I first bought 903 Western Ave., there were 6,000 cars that drove by. Now I think there’s 28,000 cars that go by.

“I think that this is a big holistic problem, and I’m really appreciative that Ryan posted it, because I had no idea that something was going on, and I’m the next-door neighbor.”

Kristin Collins, the lawyer representing The Woodshed, said noise ordinance standards do not apply to mass gatherings because they are intended as a one-off, or occasional, events. She also said that while she understands there will be many events over the summer, the presumption is that noise is allowed to be a bit louder for mass gatherings.

Collins said The Woodshed has hired a consultant to ensure the noise level remains at less than 75 decibels, and the consultant could share data with the town’s code enforcement officer after each event and work through issues that might arise.


Collins also said The Woodshed is looking at buying short-range speakers and redirecting the stage to help with noise concerns.

A metal fireplace in the yard at The Woodshed in Manchester. The owners have received approval to hold a six-concert series this summer. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

The Board of Selectmen motioned to permit the mass gathering for the six concerts, with the provision they meet the town’s noise ordinance, including the 65-decibel limit.

When told there could be a 10-decibel leeway with the noise ordinance, Vice Chair Doug Ide said the ultimate interpretation of the ordinance would be left to the town’s code enforcement officer. Ide is a code enforcement officer for the city of Hallowell.

“The motion does not include a limit,” Ide said. “The enforcement of the limit is up to the code enforcement officer and the interpretation of the ordinance.”

The motion passed, with three members of the board in favor.

Garry Hinkley, who first said he was only interested in approving one of the permits, voted in opposition. Chairperson Paula Thomas abstained from voting because Eldridge is her son.


“I just want to make sure everybody knows there’s no threat to The Woodshed,” Longfellow said after the vote, “and I want to thank the board for all your effort. I know it’s very difficult for you, so thank you for your effort.”

On Wednesday, Eldridge used another Facebook post to thank others for their support and asked that any negative actions or comments toward businesses cease immediately.

“We love Manchester,” he wrote. “We respect Manchester and all businesses, and ask that you do the same.”

Editor’s note: This story has been correctly to identify the name of The Woodshed and the beneficiaries of some of its planned concerts. 

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