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BRISTOL: Loudest open-site music festival granted despite objections

BRISTOL: Loudest open-site music festival granted despite objections

Image: LDRS

The “loudest ever” open-air music festival in Bristol has been approved – but the volume must be turned down a bit after scores of neighbours objected.

And it will be held as a one-off trial only on the weekend of July 24-25 at Greville Smyth Park instead of annually over the next three years after applicants Slammin Events scaled back the drum-and-bass event in a bid to placate residents.

Sequences Festival’s organisers had wanted noise levels up to 75 decibels outside the nearest homes, arguing it was the same as that permitted for concerts at nearby Ashton Gate Stadium.

But Bristol City Council environmental health officers said 65 decibels would be more appropriate for the event, which has an 8,000 daily capacity, because of the technical difference that the park was classed as an “open site”.

Sixty-five householders near the Southville park objected, along with the council’s pollution control team, although a police objection was withdrawn after they agreed conditions.

Neighbour Matthew Gibbs told the licensing sub-committee at City Hall on Thursday (June 10) that a survey he conducted of 253 residents found about three-quarters were opposed to the event and 87 per cent believed the noise would have a negative impact.

He said the festival would disturb children’s sleep, potentially damage the grass and could put neighbours at risk because of access problems for emergency vehicles in surrounding streets.

Slammin Events solicitor Matthew Phipps said the fact there was no representation from the council’s traffic management officers meant the experts did not deem this to be an issue.

He said the event was being run by “proper operators and organisers” who had vast experience and expertise.

Mr Phipps said they had agreed to 112 conditions covering everything from traffic management to security.

He said the fact Ashton Gate Stadium was allowed to play live music up to 75 decibels at the nearest homes meant that level did not cause a noise nuisance.

“Sixty-five decibels fundamentally undermines the event – the audience would not enjoy themselves,” the solicitor said.

Mr Phipps said the vast majority of festival-goers would either walk or use public transport and that parking arrangements away from the residential area were in place for the small number who would drive.

He said noise levels would be closely monitored during the event but that a mechanical noise limiter was not appropriate because the specified volume related to just outside the nearest homes, not at the source on stage.

City council senior environmental health officer Dylan Davies said: “The problem is residents are relatively close to the event area so it is a very restricted site.

“Music levels will be relatively high.”

Promoter Tom Hoyle said: “We will make it a test event for one year and if it doesn’t’ work out, we will go somewhere else.”

Summing up, Mr Phipps told the panel of three city councillors: “What we are saying is give us a go.”

He said that if they made a “pig’s ear of it”, it would undermine their ability to gain a licence for future years.

Granting the licence with revised conditions, sub-committee chairman Cllr Paul Goggin said the decision was a compromise over noise levels.

He said the average volume over a 15-minute period within one metre of any home must not exceed 68 decibels up to 4.30pm, 70db from 4.30pm to 7.30pm and 72db after 7.30pm.

The licence allows the sale of alcohol from midday to 10.10pm on Saturday and until 9.40pm on Sunday, with music and dance performance until 10.30pm on Saturday and 10pm on Sunday.

Tickets and more information about the event, which is the first time the park has been used for a day festival, is at: https://www.facebook.com/events/1339472976432552/

The line-up includes globally renowned DJs including Chase & Status, Gorgon City and Sonny Fodera.

Sequences, which was first held in Motion nightclub in 2016, will be held on the Saturday, with a new Back to Love event on Sunday.

The two parties would form a new series called Greville Smyth Live, which “works with the city’s best music promoters to supply large-scale events within the park”.

Words: Adam Postans, Local Democracy Reporter


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