Sound Policy

This Sound Policy was created to help ensure the greatest amount of creative freedom while also helping to create a collaborative and supportive environment. We offer our thanks to the many producers, musicians and interested parties in our community who helped us to create it.

Thank you for helping us to maintain our ability to have sound at YOUtopia!

  Any placed camps or groups that bring unannounced sound to the Event without PRIOR approval will not be allowed to play sound. 


Why We Have To Carefully Manage Sound

Sound at YOUtopia is collectively managed by the Sound Stewards (aka YOUtopia Sound Leads), the Content Hub team (Art and City Planning), and a community group open to the public called the Stewards of the Soundscape.

The campground and its various levels, curves, and canyons are a natural amplifier. It doesn’t take much to produce a large amount of sound. Bass travels multi-directionally and cannot be effectively contained with any structures. This means that “sound” as an art form can easily become obtrusive and limit other art forms.

YOUtopia is dedicated to radical self-expression, but it is also dedicated to creating community. This means we all must find a way to get along with our neighbors. This also includes our host neighbors in the surrounding La Jolla Indian Reservation. Our past history has led us to this point where we MUST provide guidelines on amplification of sound during the Event.

Basic Sound Policy

No amplified sound can leave the immediate vicinity of any camp unless it is an approved Sound Camp.

Quiet hours are from 2:00 am - 10:00 am. During this time all sound must be turned off unless you are an approved Sound Camp.

What is a Sound Camp?

All YOUtopia camps bringing amplified sound intended to create an environment for gathering, to dance, relax, or otherwise participate where music is the primary form of artistic expression are considered to be Sound Camps, regardless of the size, wattage, or volume of their system.

What does this mean?

We want YOUtopia participants to be free to express themselves musically or otherwise as much as possible. However too much sound can easily become a major issue because it travels so far around the mountain.

We also don’t want to burden every participant who wants to share some kind of sound art with additional applications and complex rules.

Basically, as long as you keep what you’re doing at a sound level that doesn’t disturb your neighbors, other participants, or other camps…then feel free to do what you want. Jam away on that guitar, listen to guilty pleasures like Britney Spears, or thrash with Babymetal!

Be respectful of your neighbors and the other participants.

Sound Out Of Place (SOOP)

Imagine yourself listening to the most serene and beautiful sunrise set you’ve ever heard when suddenly someone turns on a chainsaw and starts to carve wood.

The soundscape is like a canvas that artists are painting on with music. It is a limited resource and one that we all need to share. We encourage all participants to consider that any sound they are creating may easily travel much farther and more loudly than they realize.

We all have a shared responsibility to deal with SOOP…just as we also share a responsibility for MOOP (Matter Out Of Place).

The more that we are able to respect the soundscape the more amazing opportunities artists (including you) will have to play in it.

Be a Good Neighbor Sound Policy

The best way to resolve disputes is to just go talk to your neighbors.

Sound Complaints

If you believe your neighbor’s sound is too loud and you are not able to effectively negotiate a solution, you may report this to any YOUtopia staff member, the Sound Steward and/or the Content Hub team.

When submitting a complaint, it should contain:

  1. The exact source of the sound, camp name or contact person.
  2. The approximate time and duration of the disturbance.


Please report problems when they happen, or as soon as possible, with enough detail for the Sound Steward to effectively find a solution. We will not take action on issues of taste.


As a community, we need to work together to keep sound at desirable levels. This means that everyone involved is personally responsible for how they affect everyone else’s experience. If your neighbor believes your sound is too loud, you should work with them to find an acceptable volume.


If everyone works together, we can all enjoy a more cohesive sound experience. You are responsible for making sure that your entire camp, and any guest performers, are aware of and in compliance with this policy.


Like “they” say, it takes a village. Communal effort goes a long way to help make everyone’s experience, including your own, the best YOUtopia experience it can be!


Consequences of breaking sound guidelines

Any complaints about excessive sound and sound outside of established volume levels/times per area will become the concern of the Sound Steward, Content Hub team, and if persistent, the Event Producers. Concerns about excessive sound can result in:

  1. Volume check and mediation between camps.
  2. Volume check and a final warning on complaints.
  3. Loss of use of power (private or municipal).
  4. Removal of camp from the Event by the Event Producers and suspension of placement for YOUtopia for the following year.
Complete Sound Policy


Sound Camps will be divided into one of three categories prior to on-site placement: (1) Primary Sound Camps, (2) Secondary Sound Camp; and, (3) Art Cars. Each of these three categories has specific requirements and limitations, as listed below. It is vital that Sound Camps work closely with the YOUtopia placement team to properly identify and understand the designated scope of their camp for the Event. Sound Camps performing at levels or times that do not correspond with their designated camp category will be considered to be in violation of the Sound Policy.

Primary Sound Camps

Primary Sound Camps are camps that have agreed to work closely with the YOUtopia production team, the Sound Steward, and each other to create the backbone of the sonic experience at YOUtopia.

Primary Sound Camps will be pre-placed in specific geographic areas of the Event as determined by the YOUtopia Event Producers, Sound Steward, and the Content Hub team.

Within these areas, approved Primary Sound Camps will be allowed 24-hour sound, with the requirement to significantly reduce their volume to a level set by the Sound Steward on-site from 2 am to 10 am throughout the duration of the Event.

Secondary Sound Camps

Secondary Sound Camps are camps that want to have amplified sound that can be heard outside the immediate boundaries of their camp.

Secondary Sound Camps will be thoughtfully placed so that they can share their sound art in such a way that does not interfere with the participation of other camps.  Placement will be done prior to the Event by the Sound Steward, Content Hub team, and the YOUtopia Event Producers.

Secondary Sound Camps may be within the boundaries of Primary Sound areas, but must still adhere to Secondary Sound Camp guidelines.  Secondary Sound Camps will perform at volumes not to exceed those established during pre-event placement.

All Secondary Sound Camps must transition to Low Volume Night Sound at 2:00 am and remain at low levels until 10:00 am.

Art Cars

Art Cars are a great way to get around the mountain and bring the fun with you. But, because YOUtopia has different sound policies for camps based on their location on the mountain, Art Cars need to take special care with their sound so that we do not disturb our hosts while moving around the city.

Art Cars may have amplified sound, but that sound should not interfere with other Sound Camps. The sound levels should be set to travel no more than 10 feet from the Art Car.

Art Cars stopped near other Sound Camps must turn off their sound to avoid sound competition with established camps. Finally, no Art Cars may have amplified sound during quiet hours from 2:00 am - 10:00 am.


Transitioning To / From Quiet Hours

The transition time from quiet hours to daytime music levels is a major source of sound complaints. In order to mitigate this problem, the volume transition should be gentle since the increase in noise is going to wake up both participants and the locals who live nearby.

We recommend that this increase happen from 10:00 - 10:15 am slowly ramping up the volume.

Pre / Post Event Sound

In the past we have had problems with pre/post Event sound getting out of control and thus rules were put in place that prohibits ALL sound prior to the Event starting at 10:00 am Thursday and after 12:00 noon on Sunday during exodus. This year we are going to allow some low levels of amplified sound during build and breakdown so that it’s a more enjoyable experience for the people putting in all the hard work to build these camps.

Please keep in mind that for legal reasons the party MUST stop Sunday at 12:00 pm. This means that participants cannot be hanging around dancing, partying, etc…or the music will have to be shut off completely.

After approval of your placement as a Sound Camp, a copy of this policy will be forwarded to you for your records, and a copy will be signed by your Sound Manager on-site at the event.

Sound Camps must comply with the directions of all YOUtopia City Planning team members and Event Co-Producers on-site at all times. Due to the nature of our contract with the venue, La Jolla Indian Campground, all Sound Camps are subject to shut down at any time per the discretion of the YOUtopia Event Co-Producers and San Diego Collaborative Arts Project Board Members.

Thank you for helping us to maintain our ability to have large sound at YOUtopia!


What kind of sound environment can you expect at different parts of the Event?

Event Wide Quiet Hours are from 2:00 am - 10:00 am

This does not mean no sound, but that you should keep your sound personal. It cannot bleed away from your camp, art, dome, tent, etc.

Areas 1,2,3,4 (west of the concrete bridge)

  • 24-hour quiet hours

These areas are quiet. No camps or art that produce amplified sound can be placed in the quiet areas.

Area 4B (just East of the bridge) & part of Area 5

  • This area has moderate sound during the day.
  • Quiet hours are from 2:00 am - 10:00 am.

The Hole

  • 24-hour sound, but the volume is significantly reduced during quiet hours
  • Quiet hours are from 2:00 am - 10:00 am.

Area 8 & 9

  • These areas have moderate sound during the day.
  • Quiet hours are from 2:00 am - 10:00 am.

Secondary Sound Camps with low volume downtempo music may be permitted 24-hour sound that is very contained.

Areas 6 & 7

  • 24-hour sound, but the volume is significantly reduced during quiet hours
  • Quiet hours are from 2:00 am - 10:00 am.
  • This is generally the loudest part of the Event and you can expect 24-hour sound.