Red Phone: Downtown music out of tune

“My boyfriend and I were taking advantage of the beautiful weather and owning a convertible car. As we were driving down through downtown Gilroy we couldn’t figure out where this blasting of Mariachi music was coming from. As we kept looking around, we noticed none of the cars were blaring the music. It was the town’s speakers playing it. I can’t say that I agree with the city’s decision on the direction our downtown seems to be going. The Hispanic music put us both over the edge. With the little antique shops left in our downtown, I could see the discomfort in the few elderly people I saw trying to have a nice afternoon antiquing. This occurred on a Friday at 3 p.m. Can someone please justify, if there is one, why our town located in the good ole’ USA was playing the Hispanic melodies?”


and …


“In regards to the new music downtown, who is the person who chooses the music? I have a problem with the volume. We sort of get blasted here downtown. For those people who are down here in a building with customers coming in, as in a retail business, they may not know that it is loud and kind of the same music over and over again. Just wondering.” 


Red Phone: Dear Blasted In Downtown, The city passed a budget amendment in March to allow for $25,000 to be set aside for 56 speakers to be added downtown. These speakers are attached to poles to create a seamless music experience for shoppers downtown similar to what other cities have done. It is one of the steps the city has taken to create a more vibrant atmosphere downtown and make it an attractive place to shop and hang out.

While the city has received a few negative comments, they have been mostly positive, said Eric Howard, president of the Downtown Business Association. 

“Ninety nine percent of the feedback has been positive,” he said. ” We try to play a wide selection of music for people to listen to. I personally love Mariachi music and I am not Latin American.”

The Hispanic music that is played is part of a CD mix that is played over the speakers, he said. Howard said he hopes to have an XM radio installed in the next few weeks to offer an even wider selection of music.

“We are all one community,” Howard said. “Gilroy is a diverse community. There’s no reason why we can’t have a couple songs in the selection.”

Mayor Al Pinheiro even put in a request to have some of his native Portuguese music added to the mix, Howard said.

What do you think? Do you like or dislike the music? What about the selection? Let the Dispatch know what you think by calling the Red Phone or sending a letter to the editor at [email protected]