Byron Bay Festivals Will Have To Drop That Bass

Falls Festival and Splendour In The Grass punters may not have as much bass in their face from now on, after the owners of North Byron Parklands were fined for breaching noise restrictions due to high levels of low-frequency noise emitted from this year’s Splendour, which affected local residents.

According to the ABC, owners of North Byron Parklands — the site of both Falls Festival’s Byron Bay leg and the annual Splendour In The Grass festival — have been fined $3,000 for the breach. Parklands now say they are making moves to curb bass levels for future events.

In July, the NSW Department of Planning & Environment (DP&E), who work with the Planning & Assessment Commission (PAC), monitored Splendour In The Grass, and found that excessive noise levels were being recorded despite attempts to minimise noise.

Parklands’ owners claim that this breach was the result of the PAC not following the DP&E’s recommendations to set noise limits for bass. In a press release, the owners of North Byron Parklands have said that PAC “did not set any criteria for bass sounds”, meaning that bass-heavy acts such as OutKast, Childish Gambino and Danny Brown were free to crank it as loud as they pleased.

Parklands owners note that some local residents did experience vibrations caused by the festival. “It is during particular weather conditions that some residents have experienced these bass emissions from events held at Parklands,” they said.

In response to the fine, the venue’s owners have proposed an adjusted set of criteria to help manage low frequency sounds created by events held in the venue.

“These modifications would benefit the local community, especially in relation to sound by providing clear parameters around bass emissions generated from events held at Parklands,” owners have said.

Matt Morris, General Manager of North Byron Parklands, has called for restrictions on North Byron Parklands to be brought in line with other venues. “Many other outdoor venues in NSW have limits set for bass frequencies and this modification would bring Parklands into line with those venues,” he said.

North Byron Parklands is now two years into a five-year trial period. Let’s hope event organisers and government departments can agree on a more comprehensive set of restrictions.

Photos: Outkast – Splendour In The Grass 2014, Byron Bay 25/07/14

Photos by Ashley Mar

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