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Saving live music in London’s Hyde Park

Our relationship with The Royal Parks is one of our longest, having worked together since our inception in 2006. In that time we have managed over 75 live events in London’s Hyde Park on behalf of their promoters, enjoyed by over 4.5 million music fans. Our experienced team continue to manage their eight flagship events, held over three weekends every Summer. Our long-standing partnership has enabled us to reduce complaints by local residents year-on-year to almost negligible levels, whilst improving and enhancing the overall fan experience through our constant refinement and fine-tuning of noise management.

CAPACITY: 65,000

2db or not 2db?

Our most challenging time with the Royal Parks came in 2011. Following the rock and pop music festival Wireless, headlined by the Chemical Brothers, Westminster Council received a watershed 100 complaints from local residents. This brought about a Licence Review which also coincided with the impending events organised to celebrate London’s hosting of the 2012 Olympic Games. Westminster Council deemed it fit to impose a strict 73dB(A) limit on all music events at Hyde Park, putting the future of the venue in serious jeopardy. This decision was resoundly criticised by the music community and even achieved front page headlines in London’s Evening Standard newspaper. 

Vanguardia, the Royal Parks and their Promoters appealed this decision. Acting as Expert Witness, Vanguardia’s Jim Griffith’s successfully demonstrated to Local Councillors and their Technical Officer, that sound needed to be carefully managed, not limited. He countered that reducing levels from 75dB(A) to 73dB(A) would result in subsequent music events being an ‘ineffective form of entertainment’ as it would be below the ‘Startle Effect’ threshold – the physical and mental response that contributes to an individuals enjoyment of a live musical performance. Jim’s ability to convey the science in layman’s terms played a key role in agreeing to continue at the 75dB(A) limit adopted at many other outdoor events.

An all-encompassing Noise Management Strategy

Following the appeal, Vanguardia made the radical changes necessary to appease Westminster Council and local residents, preserving Hyde Park as London’s most significant outdoor music venue for artists and promoters.

Firstly, we designed and tested a number of completely new sound systems at Hatfield Park over the course of two days, allowing us to achieve the best coverage on site, with minimal propagation off site. Secondly, we implemented new Delay Towers across the Park to better distribute sound and achieve maximum coverage. The final component of our strategy was to rotate the angle of the stage by 15o which had a significant positive effect on residents of nearby Park Lane. Throughout the design process, we modelled a number of different scenarios to demonstrate the impact of each decision, until an optimum result had been achieved. 


Event Management

Sound System Design

Noise Management Strategy

Noise Prediction

Expert Witness

Project Team


AEG Presents

Want to know more?

Jim Griffiths

T: +44(0) 7785 243904

The impact of our new strategy, and our subsequent monitoring and refinements over the years has enabled us to reduce noise complaints from 100 in 2011, to just eight in 2018, despite noise being maintained at the 2011 of 75dB(A).