On a hot and sticky Bank Holiday weekend at the end of May a new festival appeared on the summer event map in the guise of the NBHD Weekender, held at Victoria Park in Warrington. Organised by Promoters SJM Concerts, this event set about bring the best in indie music to the people of Warrington and surrounding towns. Warrington is close to both Manchester and Liverpool and with both producing some of the best musical talent, Warrington was a great place to bring that all together.
Vanguardia provided input into the planning process to determine the likely noise impacts of the event. This included the preparation of the initial noise management plan, liaison with environmental health and pushing for suitable noise limits for the event to work whilst balancing the needs of the event with local community concerns.
Listening to the concerns of the residents through the licence hearing, it was clear that other events held in relatively close proximity had given cause for concern as these did often cause noise issues, often until into the early hours of the morning. It was therefore important to identify what could be put in place to minimise noise impacts at residential properties.
Although the licence was granted with a noise limit at residential properties of 75 dB, LAeq, 15 Minutes, it was made clear by Vanguardia through all consultations with the local authority and the local community that this is a limit and not a target, and where reasonably possible and practicable the event would run at lower levels than those specified.
Site design played an important part and the main objective was to use distance to attenuate music noise levels. The main stage location was the most critical and utilised the whole site to help increase the level of attenuation to the on axis residential locations.
From other major events held nearby, it was clear that low frequency noise gave the most cause for concern. Whilst changing weather conditions can affect results, cardioid sub arrays were recommended for all stages to increase directivity to assist in the focusing of low frequency energy with the aim of reducing the off-site impacts at residential properties.
Audile were the PA suppliers for the event and had designed a system that would provide great coverage on site whilst respecting the needs of the residents located on all four sides of the park. This included main left and right PA hangs and stage left side fills due to the site layout and proximity to noise sensitive receptors a stage right side fill was not required. Small delay hangs had been used to reinforce the sound to those further back without the need to increase the main PA hangs.
Noise levels for The Courteeners on the Saturday night and Noel Gallagher on the Sunday night both achieved front of house noise levels in excess of 100 dB, LAeq 15 Minutes whilst comfortably remaining below the limit at all off site locations.
Offsite monitoring and logging was undertaken using DUO sound level meters from 01dB which allowed real time monitoring throughout the event and allowed data to be reported back quickly and reliably.
Over the course of the weekend only 5 complaints were received making this inaugural event a huge success for all those involved in the planning and execution of this well received event.