Noise from Concerts and Festivals
Summer brings with it the potential for noise from concerts and festivals. Outdoor events have increased in popularity in recent years. Most large concerts and festivals will require a premises licence to operate (issued under the Licensing Act 2003). That will stipulate the times at which live music can be played and may also list a number of other conditions relating to the prevention of public nuisance; for example, established events will normally operate to a maximum decibel level. At large festivals they often monitor sound levels in order to check that conditions are not broken.
If a licence has been issued this will usually be the primary legislative control that is used by local authority environmental health and licensing departments. If any of the terms of the licence or licensing conditions are broken they can be prosecuted or the licence reviewed (depending upon the severity of the offence).
Where the terms of the licence are not broken but the noise from concerts or festivals (or any other form of public nuisance resulting from its operation) is still deemed to be excessive the licence may be reviewed by any responsible authority or interested party. Interested parties in this context are likely to be those who are directly affected by the event(s) taking place. Usually a reduction in time of operation (e.g. not beyond 11pm) or a reduction in the number of events can help reduce the impact. Some sites are just not suitable as live music venues, particularly if they are located in noise sensitive areas.
Existing (fixed) concert venues should have rigorous sound management plans in place and will usually adhere to stricter conditions on noise abatement and safety. A preliminary noise risk assessment will be necessary to determine likely impact. Neighbours will often understand that a certain amount of noise from outdoor events is inevitable and that a balance of interests must be struck.
We provide further advice to operators and regulators on live music. Comprehensive guidance may be downloaded here.
We provide a range of resources for sufferers of noise nuisance and for those who manage venues or noise enforcement services.