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Vuvuzelas: Sound pollution or joyful noise?

Liz Clarke wrote earlier about the vuvuzela debate that is currently raging in South Africa, and now Reuters checks in with this video report:

What do you think?

By Matt Bonesteel  |  June 14, 2010; 12:34 PM ET
Categories:  2010 World Cup , South Africa  | Tags: South Africa, World Cup, vuvuzelas  
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Next: Vuvuzelas allowed, FIFA says

Comments

I've grown quite accustomed to them and they don't really bother me anymore. I do wish I could hear the other types if vocal support, though.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | June 14, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

yes, and can we stop calling them "traditional"

Posted by: nairbsod | June 14, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

The tournament has been a resounding success so far, in my eyes. All games in HD, multiple online viewing capability, ESPN has made huge advances (and efforts) in their futbol coverage, the games have been mostly well played, and the officiating has been generally above reproach.


The horns are the same as last summer's tournament, and are kind of a routinely expected din, to my mind.

No complaints here. If some noobs don't like it, then meh...I'm beyond caring about attracting new fans to FIFA football.

Posted by: JkR- | June 14, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

I seriously can't believe people are having this debate. Ban vuvuzelas and next thing you're banning drums, banners, use of the word "wanker," and hot Swedish girls kissing each other. Where's the tolerance?

Posted by: asfoolasiam | June 14, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

If it really is affecting the ability of the players to communicate with each other on the field, then they should be banned for the knockout stage and on. But they shouldn't be banned becasue its noisy for TV viewers - watching games in a bar, you can't hear anything but the dopey questions of the once every four years crowd anyway.

Posted by: harkes4ever | June 14, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

i haven't heard any referees complaining about the vuvuzelas. hearing the players and commentators whine about the vuvuzelas is 100 times more annoying than the sound of the vuvuzelas themselves.

Posted by: asfoolasiam | June 14, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Two things:

1) Ban from any future World Cups. Since this is a South African thing, let it stay in South Africa.
2) Along the 'stay in SA' line, maintain the ban of these damned horns from RFK.

My oldest son arrived at our house to watch the USA match with one in hand. My wife told him that it was like soccer defense. Either the man or the horn could pass, but not both.

Posted by: seahawkdad | June 14, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

@rfghhjhk

Make yourself useful and teach me how to vote "yes" 1,000 times . . . .

Posted by: OWNTF | June 14, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

We've had at least one yellow b/c a player couldn't hear the ref's whistle and kept playing - suggests that they need to go, or refs need to lay off the yellows for this. I would also like to be able to hear TV commentary, b/c while I might know what's going on, I don't always know who's doing it, and that's useful info to me.

I second JacobFromAtlanta-ish's comment about being able to hear songs, chants, etc.

Posted by: northgs | June 14, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

well played, seahawkmom, LOL

Posted by: OWNTF | June 14, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

If they could play a tune, I'd say keep them. As they are, they are annoying noise that drown out other soccer fans . . . i.e. Mexican fans often will have a mariachi playing, England fans often sing the whole game, and some even will bring trumpets, etc.

I'd rather here all of these than the stupid horns.

Posted by: delantero | June 14, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

hear =/ here

Posted by: delantero | June 14, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Thundersticks Part 2, Electric Boogaloo.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thundersticks

People come up with ways all the time to reduce crowd atmosphere to the lowest common denominator of noise, essentially distilling passion and creativity into the latest toy.

Yes please, stop this.

Posted by: Rosslyn45 | June 14, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

@delantero: I'm not sure why Mexican supporters should be allowed to have mariachi bands and English supporters should be allowed to yell and play trumpets, but South Africans can't play their vuvuzelas. It seems that your real frustration is with the dysfunctional management of this World Cup that has prevented so many non-South Africans from attending.

Posted by: asfoolasiam | June 14, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

I'm mixed on it. For the most part they don't really bother me, but as others have said, it takes away from the multiple other forms of support (singing, drums, etc.).

@nairbsod - The tradition is the use of a horn of roughly that type. I doubt they were always made of plastic though.

Posted by: SoccerVA | June 14, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

They really don't bother me. I am also impressed people have the lung capacity to blow them the whole game. I would like to hear the other chants but not enough to ban the noise. Just accept it and move on. Watch the game and enjoy the futbol. Plus, I am forced to watch most games at work, which means no volume anyways.

Posted by: grubbsbl | June 14, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

""I'm not sure why Mexican supporters should be allowed to have mariachi bands and English supporters should be allowed to yell and play trumpets, but South Africans can't play their vuvuzelas.""

B/C there's no rhythm. It's just noise. Give me the steel drums of the Reggae Boyzz, mariachi's, Scandinavian horns, trumpets, anything else. The vuvuzelas are cheap and loud. Play them outside the stadium all they want. Play them during South African matches, leave the rest of us alone.

Posted by: delantero | June 14, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

See, I say ban them at FUTURE World Cup events not in South Africa.


But in South Africa? Let them have their fun.

Posted by: mbhowa | June 14, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

its noise. just turn the volume down, and enjoy the HD. its not like the commentators are ever helpful anyway. ive seen no less than 5 yellow cards so far in which not even a speculative attempt at the justification was provided by the commentators. oh, and there was the announcing gaffe in the first game in which Tyler and his partner were convinced Mexico had been robbed of a goal, and offered no apology to the officials when it became clear the call was legitimate. so I have zero problem with the vuvus drowning out the announcers' banter.

Posted by: VTUnited | June 14, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

FIFA should have know that giving the World Cup to SA would encourage the vuvuzelas. It's not right to ban them. Just don't ever play the WC in SA again!

And of course, there's lots of things FIFA "should" know.

Posted by: CYork1 | June 14, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Give me the steel drums of the Reggae Boyzz,
Posted by: delantero
==========

Steel pans (drums) belong to the Soca Warriors (T&T). If they Jamaicans use them, it's without license.

Don;t understand why other forms of noise are acceptable, but not vuvuzelas.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 14, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

""I'm not sure why Mexican supporters should be allowed to have mariachi bands and English supporters should be allowed to yell and play trumpets, but South Africans can't play their vuvuzelas.""

B/C there's no rhythm. It's just noise. Give me the steel drums of the Reggae Boyzz, mariachi's, Scandinavian horns, trumpets, anything else. The vuvuzelas are cheap and loud. Play them outside the stadium all they want. Play them during South African matches, leave the rest of us alone.

Posted by: delantero | June 14, 2010 1:33 PM

alright mr Cowell, so who gets the job of legislating what constitutes "music", and what consitutes "noise"?

Posted by: VTUnited | June 14, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Sorry my post should say should have 'known.' And for the record I hate the sound of the vuvuzelas but I think it's wrong to ban them, especially in the middle of the tournament. Didn't we have this discussion after the Confed Cup?

Posted by: CYork1 | June 14, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

B/C there's no rhythm. It's just noise.
Posted by: delantero

Exactly. Just as someone said earlier, you could turn on a machine at a constant pitch and get the same result.

If they weren't so annoying, we wouldn't be talking about it.

And since we're talking about this, we aren't talking about the games. Well done, Blatter.

Posted by: Reignking | June 14, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Those pesky horns are getting on my nerves too, but it's their tourney and they can do as they wish (within reason). It's one thing to make an argument about noise but it's a whoole other thing when you only hate a certain type of noise because you prefer another kind.

They are allowing us to hear the national anthems and like the Englishman said, teams should know what they are doing out there and find ways to compete under the conditions - they are pros, right? Players complaining about the noise are like those who complain about the round bouncy thing because it bounces too much.

I hate the vuvuzelas but my internal filter is starting to recognize and deal with them. In the end it's their tourney and their thing - their tradition. So we either ban all noises or get used to some types of noises that offend our tastes. It's the world's game.

Posted by: Kosh2 | June 14, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

@ northgs

....we had a yellow because the ref didn't believe the player could not hear the whistle. They seem to hear all the other whistles.

They are part of South African soccer, whether for 100 years or ten. And I find it interesting that all the complaints seem to be coming from European-based professionals...do they want the world of soccer to conform to what their used to? As long as both teams play with the same ball, and the same noise, then it is fair and players just need to get on with it. They love to find something to complain about in non-European settings...in Mexico it was too hot, in the US travel was too far.

You want to be the best team in the world, you've got to be able to win in all kinds of environments.

Personally I found the organized mass-cheering sections in Japan/Korea kind of creepy, does that mean THEY should have been banned.

Posted by: teo_68 | June 14, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

If the vuvuzelas were going to be banned, they should have been banned after the Confed Cup. There is no reason whatsoever to ban them now.

I'm especially surprised American fans want them gone. What ever happened to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, three things that can certainly be applied to South Africa's affinity for these annoying noise contraptions. Also, wake up and realize that it distracts and annoys the big boys, we can use this.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | June 14, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Posted by: DadRyan | June 14, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

As a guitarist, I've been getting a lot of practice during the games improving in various modes of B flat. The reason I mention this is that a drone -- such as the B-flat drone of the vuvuzela -- is, in fact, part of music, and is something other supporters could easily adapt to and play off of in their own forms of support if they weren't so busy WHIIIIIIIIIIINING.

Posted by: asfoolasiam | June 14, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

yes, I know the claim is that these plastic horns come from/represent a time when the tribes would blow into antelope horns to strike fear into their opponents ... but I just don't buy it. I think it's very clever marketing.
And I wonder if there will be any claims based on permanent hearing loss because of the horns.

Posted by: nairbsod | June 14, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

This reminds me of Dumb and Dumber. "Want to hear the most annoying sounds in the world? ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh"

Posted by: Reignking | June 14, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

I have long hated plastic horns -- which is all a "vuvuzela" is -- with a passion. They don't add atmosphere, they are simply noise pollution that sound like a rhinoceros in heat. It's a massive annoyance that drowns out everything else.

I reject this idea that all types of atmosphere and fan actions are equal. If showed up at a game and just ran a chainsaw the entire time -- roughly the same decibel level as the accursed vuvuzelas -- would that also be atmosphere?

I don't care that South Africans adopted plastic horns as some kind of national symbol, they've simply got to go.

Posted by: grabowcp | June 14, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

alright mr Cowell, so who gets the job of legislating what constitutes "music", and what consitutes "noise"?
===

It sounds like a General Electric CF-34 turbofan engine at takeoff power. Fly on an Embraer E-jet or Bombardier CRJ100 or CRJ700+ series aircraft . It's an uncannily similar noise.

Posted by: mason08 | June 14, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

As a guitarist, I've been getting a lot of practice during the games improving in various modes of B flat. The reason I mention this is that a drone -- such as the B-flat drone of the vuvuzela -- is, in fact, part of music, and is something other supporters could easily adapt to and play off of in their own forms of support if they weren't so busy WHIIIIIIIIIIINING.

Posted by: asfoolasiam | June 14, 2010 1:50 PM
-------------------------------------------

To do that, they'd have to be able to make themselves heard over said drone. Vuvuzelas are for the lazy. Is it too much to ask for a little creativity in our World Cup noisemaking?

Posted by: Kenobi | June 14, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

If showed up at a game and just ran a chainsaw the entire time -- roughly the same decibel level as the accursed vuvuzelas -- would that also be atmosphere?
===

With or without the chain?

Posted by: mason08 | June 14, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Just don't let them catch on. I'd rather wear wide collars and fat ties than see the dreaded vevuzaphone become a new fad Stateside.

Posted by: -rke- | June 14, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Just don't let them catch on. I'd rather wear wide collars and fat ties than see the dreaded vevuzaphone become a new fad Stateside.

Posted by: -rke- | June 14, 2010 2:16 PM
---------------------------------------------

You obviously never made it to a Metrostars game in Giants Stadium.

Posted by: Kenobi | June 14, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and this is a WORLD Cup that just happens to be in South Africa . . it'd be nice if the hosts allowed the visitors a chance to support their teams.

Ban the Voovuvuzuuella . . . er . . . horns.

Yeah, good luck with that, now that everyone seems to have one!

Posted by: delantero | June 14, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

I'm going to get the whoopee cushion to be the US symbol for our World Cup. Every seat!

Posted by: delantero | June 14, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

While I would not ban them, I cannot for the life of me see any benefit or purpose for them.

Posted by: kieran2001 | June 14, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Waaah! Waah!

Bamas who don't like them are the same people calling the cops for noise complaints from neighbor's cats!

Waah! Waaaah!!!!

Posted by: bs2004 | June 14, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Taping this match, for some reason, so I've got to disappear...

Posted by: Reignking | June 14, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

I bet when drums first started showing up at soccer matches, people complained. Now we are used to them.

Posted by: tundey | June 14, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

It's unimaginable that the polls shows a majority opposed. Lighten up! It's free speech!

Posted by: m1kem1lls | June 14, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

@SoccerVA:

Yes, they are traditional. It's the horn of the plasticbok, a rare beast but much valued by many SA tribes, who could use their antlers to round up other animals.

Posted by: ah___ | June 14, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

"obdurate Paraguayans."

This World Cup can turn into a word of the day calendar.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 14, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Those who dislike the vuvuzelas had better hope that Australia doesn't host a World Cup.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 14, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Those who dislike the vuvuzelas had better hope that Australia doesn't host a World Cup.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 14, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

I had obdurate paraguayans.

The doc gave me an ointment and I had to change the dressing nightly for two weeks!

Posted by: DikShuttle | June 14, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

just another good reason not to watch the WC - besides the fact that soccer is boring - I can't even watch the sports news clips and have to mute or turn the channel.

Posted by: sux123 | June 14, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

btw - for those who 360:

FIFA 2010 vs South Africa

who likes which better??

Posted by: DikShuttle | June 14, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

@DikShuttle - depends on what you like more, club or country? FIFA probably has more play-ability over the year, but SA10 was pretty exciting to play through the first time. the presentation waaay better with SA10 than FIFA, but thats usually the case when they put these games out every 4 years. the only stuff for SA10 was pretty cool as well. you can jump into an impromptu tourney whenever you want.

Posted by: VTUnited | June 14, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

The vuvuzelas are awful. I wouldn't go so far as to say they should be banned, but their constant drone has already caused ESPN to alter the decibel level coming from the game during their broadcasts. The result is a more dull atmosphere for the TV viewers, as crowd songs/reactions, player communication, and referee whistles are also being drowned out by ESPN. It's annoying, and it does slightly ruin the experience of the World Cup. Though, of course, it would never stop me from watching any of the games.

I wonder if when the US wins its bid for the 2018 or 2022 WC, FIFA will embrace thundersticks as an American soccer "tradition?"

Posted by: psps23 | June 14, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

You obviously never made it to a Metrostars game in Giants Stadium.

The Metrostars wanted Giants Stadium to stop selling the horns almost immediately after the Meadowlands started selling them.

Because the stadium could make about $7 on $1 worth of inventory, they told the Metrostars to get lost. (Of course, the team made literally nothing on the sale of souveniers at Giants Stadium.)

It took Alexi Lalas almost two years to get the Meadowlands to stop selling the horns.

What a horrible landlord the NJSEA was.

Posted by: Mastodon_Juan | June 14, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

It doesn't matter what fans like. The players are getting cards for not hearing the whistle and continuing play. That is alone enough reason to ban them.

Posted by: GeneWells | June 14, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Take them to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup? NO, NO NO NO NO NEVER UH UH NO NO NO!

I only want to hear samba beats when in Brazil. South Africa can have their horns, Brazil their drums, end of line for the VUVUz.

By the way, MLS used to have the damn horns, thank God people have come to their senses. 5-8 year old kids with them are a bother from HELL.

Posted by: elfelixg | June 14, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Banning. Great idea. Because South Africans usually take so well to being told what they can-or-cannot have...

http://www.entertainmedaily.com/2010/06/vuvuzela-let-south-africa-blow/

LET SOUTH AFRICA BLOW, AND LET THEM BLOW HARD!

Posted by: shlomitandroypethostel | June 14, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

I'm ready for life/and games/ without them. i miss the traditional football songs and other sounds of the WC. There is only one sound now: a loud monotone horn. I'd much rather hear the different nations and the sounds of their futbol fans. Leave them in the streets.

Posted by: heiser3@yahoo.com | June 14, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if when the US wins its bid for the 2018 or 2022 WC, FIFA will embrace thundersticks as an American soccer "tradition?"
Posted by: psps23
============

Thundersticks are a traditional Native American instrument used by the Hekawi tribe.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 14, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Tradition and culture are one thing. Deliberately annoying the whole world by vuvuzela blowing throughout the entire game is quite another. No excuse for such ill behavior. By blowing their horns they are shooting themselves in the foot. Viewers will be turning away from these matches in droves. It's a sad state of affairs for what should be an exciting fun event for everyone. I'm now looking forward to Wimbledon!

Posted by: joekeyer | June 14, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

The damn things should have been banned since Day 1

Annoying and provide nothing of substance to the game other than annoy everyone

Posted by: Bious | June 14, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

BBC Radio One have a "Horn or Swarm?" contest. Listeners call in and try to guess whether a sound is a recording of a swarm of bees or vuvuzelas.

Posted by: ldmay | June 14, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

FIFA10 SA rocks. I don't have regular FIFA10 as I was still playing my 09. SA10 should provide you plenty of fun play until FIFA 2011 comes out around Thanksgiving or Christmas?

Posted by: DadRyan | June 14, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Leave the Vuvuzelas alone. They are annoying, so what. There is not one football game (American) that I have been at that there are not annoying fans in the stands. The foul language is the most annoying part of both football and futbol.

Vuvuzelas,(a great name), are harmless. I suspect they will not be around next FIFA World Cup.

Posted by: 189AROD | June 14, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Tobacco is an American tradition as it was discovered here so I want my right to smoke in public again throughout the world.
Is smoking allowed there in the stadiums in SA?It is said that the sound causes ear damage just as second hand smoke causes "lung damage".Ban the vulvas.

Posted by: teacherinchina69 | June 14, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

I WON'T WATCH BECAUSE OF THEM.

I KEEP THINKING I AM GOING TO BE STUNG BY A BEE.

Posted by: twotimetuna1 | June 14, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Whine, whine, whine. Join the "get a life" club.

Posted by: seaduck2001 | June 14, 2010 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Keep the Valenzuelas. Ban the games from television. Heard about it on the news. Sounds like a bunch of cicadas on a 17 year wake up.

Posted by: nick18 | June 14, 2010 8:30 PM | Report abuse

I think they're great!
They're certainly no worse than air horns some Americans have used.
They add atmosphere as much as cow bells during ski events.
They provide background as much as any drinking song or the oh-so repetitive "Ole ole ole ole" heard round the world.

Let the rest of the world adjust to the vuvuzela, plain and simple. And brace yourself, cuz the thing was built to travel. This is by no means the last we'll ever hear of the things. Just look at the video footage...many Europeans, Latins and Americans have taken up the thing in full voice!

Posted by: francetony | June 14, 2010 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Vuvulelas are better than Dumb-azz Thunder Sticks we come up with in the US.
Luv the Vuvu.

Posted by: zosodave | June 14, 2010 9:04 PM | Report abuse

I'm not suggesting they should be banned, but if they aren't, I'm bringing a big can of Raid to the game.

Posted by: laboo | June 14, 2010 10:11 PM | Report abuse

the vuvuzelas are awesome - I'm taking one to work. When someone does something stupid -wwwwwaaaaa -

seriously what a great environment to play football in...wow.

Posted by: bobfairchild1 | June 15, 2010 5:59 AM | Report abuse

"The vuvuzela sound
that makes you tune in
and not tone down"
http://www.vuvatchunas.co.za

Posted by: VuvaTchunas | June 15, 2010 8:01 PM | Report abuse

The vuvuzela has not been harnessed to its full potential yet and
should also not necessarily be seen as an irritant right yet anyway
since it takes a long time to fully enjoy.

Remember the rattle-like, swinging objects English fans used to carry
about in the sixties and seventies to most football matches?

Well, if enough fans united to blow the darn thing in a directed
harmony of rhythm and sound they could have a wonderful effect in
inspiring their team to greater effort in overcoming the opposition,
very much like the singing and chanting of English fans do today.

In South Africa, one Band, Midlovu, has tried to unite fans in this "harmony of African rhythm and sound" and have produced a CD
the " Vuva Tchunas" for fans to learn how to play in united notation,
albeit a bit late to teach all fans in time for this World Cup, but which
still holds good for the future however…

In fact they have used the tune of a universal South African
"liberation struggle anthem" formerly and currently used by
demonstators to " toyi-toyi" to, and harnessed it to become a
powerful and moving "Bafana Bafana song" called Tshisa Bafana which
means " hot boys."

Admittedly like all things in this Information Age, the vuvuzela has
made its impact though the electronic transfer of sound and images
through the greatest festival transmitted world-wide every four years,
but can we truly say it is here to stay?

So dear football lover and hearer of the vuvezela buzz, if you were
ever in doubt about what is agreeably a presently cacophonic din made
by the vuvuzela, and fear its insidious penetration into your local
stadium, or wished it could be done away with, banned or played in a
better way, consider the following first before standing in judgment,
by going to www.vuvatchunas.co.za.

Only you can be the judge, let me say this though, that all who come into
contact with the vuvuzela have the strong urge to want to
blow it. In fact, I have never seen so much blow jobs been done at
one place at one time in my whole life.

Posted by: raphaelwyngaardt | June 19, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

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