Northwestern University’s president has sent an open letter to Evanston’s mayor apologizing for the amount of noise that could be heard in city neighborhoods Saturday from Dillo Day music performances on the lakefront.

Schapiro says that because of construction on campus, the stage this year was facing south, rather than east, which apparently contributed to the problem.

Here’s the text of his letter, as posted on the university’s website:

Dear Mayor Tisdahl,

Following up on our email exchange, on behalf of Northwestern, I would like to apologize again for the unusually loud level of music that occurred during Dillo Day on Saturday. We appear to have been quite successful this year in reducing behavioral issues in the neighborhoods near campus, and we have heard from residents in those areas who were pleased with the progress that has been made. On the other hand, there were far more noise complaints this year than in the past.

In doing our post-event analysis, it appears the increased noise in the neighborhoods near campus, particularly to the south, was the result of a new configuration of the stage this year due to construction, along with the wind pattern. Specifically, the stage was pointed south this year while in previous years it was pointed east toward the lake. With the wind coming off the lake, the sound carried south and west into the neighborhoods. Again, I extend our apologies to you and to our neighbors.

I assure you that as we plan Dillo Day next year, we will take a careful look at the configuration of the stage and at other ways to reduce noise coming from the event.

Finally, I would like to express my appreciation for the cooperation and support of the Evanston Police and Fire Departments during Dillo Day. Their collaboration with University Police enabled us to provide a safer environment for our students and for residents of the neighborhoods near campus.


Morton Schapiro
President and Professor

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. This year was better than last year

    I live in downtown Evanston near Davis st, and the noise level this year was much lower than last year. And downtown Evanston was quiet and traffic-free for most of the day and evening. As a homeowner and Evanston resident, I'm OK with some noise level once a year so students can have some fun before finals. It's the vomit on the sidewalks from overindulgent students that I can do without.

    – Ron S

  2. We had something like Dillo

    We had something like Dillo day when I was in college…it was called Thursday.

    1. Heard the music at Main and Hinman

      I could hear music at Main and Hinman.  I was just walking through the neighborhood in the afternoon so it wasn't a big deal.  I could imagine it would have been annoying to those living in the vicinity. 

    2. A friendly gesture

      Very funny comment.

      It's a major U.S. university located proximally to downtown Evanston. They do this once a year, there's no gun fire, and there really very little disruption at all that I've seen/experienced in my 30+ years of living here.

      There are much bigger issues but it was a nice and friendly guesture on the part of the University.

  3. How far the noise carried

    You could still hear the music at Central and Asbury and I was told even west of Greenbay and Central.

    That said I can sometimes hear the marching band practice at Sheridan and Lincoln and on game day hear the PA from the stadium at Sheridan and Foster.

    I'm told they have fireworks every year but this year was the first I remember and it was a surprise.

    Given the first year when it sounded louder at Dempster and Chicago Ave. than on campus [I suspectg reflection from the lake], I guess it has got better.

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