Case Overview

Legal Principle at Issue

Whether a New York City regulation requiring performers in Central Park to use the city's sound amplification system and technicians violates the First Amendment


Reversed. Petitioning party received a favorable disposition.


Respondent Rock Against Racism (RAR), furnishing its own sound equipment and technicians, has sponsored yearly programs of rock music at the Naumberg Acoustic Bandshell in New York City's Central Park. The city received numerous complaints about excessive noise at RAR's concerts. Rejecting various other solutions to the excessive noise and inadequate amplification problems, the city adopted a Use Guideline for the bandshell which specified that the city would furnish high quality sound equipment and retain an independent, experienced sound technician for all performances. After the city implemented this guideline, RAR amended a preexisting District Court complaint against the city to seek damages and a declaratory judgment striking down the guideline as facially invalid under the First Amendment.

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