The thread title and content of the thread seem to be a big tangential to one another (event improvements vs. purely a discussion on music/volume), so I’ll do my best to answer both.
In terms of music at events - I enjoy it. One of the defining attributes of FRC events has always been the atmosphere. Find any news article on a regional or district, and you’ll find mentions of the “homecoming game atmosphere,” excitement, or similar language. For better or worse, noise is simply part of what sets FRC apart from other “science fair”-like activities. It’s a large part of what gives it the sports-like atmosphere.
That’s not to say that reasonable accommodations and common sense fixes can’t be applied. Many events can definitely do a better job of how they manage volumes. Stop pointing speakers at the queueing and driver station areas, reduce/eliminate volume in the pit area, actually have the DJ/AV crew positioned where their key audience is (the crowd) rather than by the scoring table to better manage volume (a principle that “sound guys” at concert venues have long understood), and make free earplugs available to those who wish to reduce the volume even further.
More broadly speaking, I would love to see FIRST and event organizers use some of the COVID safety protocols as an opportunity to re-examine some of the norms we’ve come to expect at events. What processes can be modernized or improved upon? This moment in time is presenting us with an opportunity to re-examine what an FRC event looks like and operates.
I’m sure there will be plenty of other discussions regarding one-day events, so I won’t hash that out here.
But there are tons of process improvements that can be applied across a wide variety of events.
- What volunteer roles can be filled remotely, and which should stay remote after COVID?
- What portions of the inspection process can be completed before teams even walk through the door of the venue?
- Would allowing teams a more defined judging interview window, perhaps remotely, be a more beneficial judging experience than just catching whoever is in the pit when the judges wander by?
- What kind of webcast experience(s) is required to cater to the various audiences (not just FRC enthusiasts/scouts) when we have reduced attendance limits, and should it stick around after COVID?
- What can we do to support remote scouting efforts for attendance limited events, and should those efforts be extended after COVID?
- How do we best enable remote communication between teams and their supporters they left behind at attendance limited events, especially in venues that are cell reception tombs?
- How can we encourage social distancing in close-proximity activities/areas such as the driver station, scoring table, question box, team queueing, etc. without sacrificing the quality of those areas?
- How can we streamline field reset and minimize cross-contact of game pieces/field elements between different teams and volunteers over the course of an event?
- At what rate should we be cycling in new game pieces?