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December 4, 2021

Splendour noise variation approved

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Splendour in the Grass 2015. Photo Jeff Dawson
Splendour in the Grass 2015. The North Byron Parklands site, which hosts the festival, has won an application to have its noise generation differently measured. Photo Jeff Dawson

North Byron Parklands (NBP), home of Splendour in the Grass and Byron’s Falls Festival, has received permission to vary the noise controls on music events held there.

The company has also received permission to run multiple ‘small scale’ non music events at the site throughout the year.

The Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) has altered the existing sound limits so that lower-end frequencies are more clearly regulated.

Local groups including CONOS (Community of North Ocean Shores) have argued the move would adversely impact residents but North Byron Parklands’ GM Mat Morris says it brings the site into line with the vast majority of other music festivals around the country.

NBP was fined $3,000 for noise infractions at last year’s Splendour and a similar amount the year before, prompting CONOS to argue that the event be moved.

But Mr Morris said at the time that the existing noise limits were ‘unworkable’.

Echonetdaily understands the new regime would limit bass noise, which NBP says the highest impact on neighbours but allow more leniency at the middle and high end of the spectrum.

In making the determination the PAC stated, ‘The modification seeks an increase of the permitted noise limits, not the actual noise generated. This is contrary to the perception that the proponent requests to increase the actual noise emanating from the outdoor events.

‘The new restriction will not allow the proponent to increase the actual noise emanating from the events. Overall, it would assist the proponent to provide better noise management and to ensure that all necessary mitigation and management measures are in place across the two noise zones,’ the PAC determined.

Mr Morris said that setting absolute noise goals rather than ‘background plus limits’ allows for ‘a much more precise level of monitoring and management of sound at this venue.’

‘We are pleased that the PAC have recognised that Parklands’ previous operating conditions in relation to sound limits were not on a level playing field with other venues of its kind in Australia,’ he said.

‘We feel the PAC determination strikes the balance of preserving patron expectation and community amenity.

‘There are now clear parameters around “bottom-end” sound which had been previously unregulated.

‘We are confident that these new limits will improve the amenity for certain residents affected by bass or lower frequency sound from events,’ Mr Morris said.

Additional events

The PAC also approved an increase in the number of events held annually at the site, specifically allowing for smaller-sized community events.

‘Over the past few years we’ve been approached by numerous schools and community groups all wanting to use our home to stage small, low-impact events,’ Mr Morris said.

We welcome the PAC’s decision and we look forward to opening up our beautiful venue to these local groups,’ he added.

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  1. NBP can celebrate PAC adjusting noise levels, and locals will hopefully be spared from the ‘sick sound’ that the future deaf thousands seem to demand. (One day these volume levels will be outlawed on health grounds I expect)

    There was of course nothing stopping event organisers from turning down base frequencies, except their own poor sense of community membership.

    NBP may be keen on their ‘level playing field’, but their competitors did not choose to run events in a Nature hotspot/Wildlife Corridor and then expect everyone else to adjust to them!

    The events at NBP certainly find a very supportive audience, and a great time is had by patrons. But the wildlife surrounding dont have another home, so why not be brave and re-educate the population that sound does not have to verge on ‘deafening’ to be enjoyable.

    Get creative with how to deliver sound, not just by using the sledgehammer delivery method, but in a way that wins friends in the wider community!


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