Imagine a perfect summer’s evening with a 40-strong classical orchestra playing to an appreciative audience in a leafy green park. So far, so very English. Add in the fact the Park is in the heart of Lancaster city surrounded by thousands of homes and the orchestra is playing sets of the Hacienda’s classic 90s house music hits and you can understand the headache facing Acoustic Consultant Chris Selkirk on his latest noise monitoring project.
Chris Selkirk – Sustainable Festivals. Chris is a specialist Acoustic Consultant with more than 20 years of working in events and 5 years specifically overseeing the monitoring of sound levels at outdoor festivals, events and venues across the UK. He works both on-site at the music venues and off-site within the local population where necessary. Chris is also a registered member with the Institute of Acoustics.
Haçienda Classical Concert. The concept of Haçienda Classical is to produce dancefloor cuts and classics from the legendary Manchester nightclub, performed by a live 40-70 piece orchestra, along with Haçienda DJs and special guests. Growing in popularity, the latest Lancaster event attracted more than 3,000 people.
Williamson Park, Lancaster
Cirrus Research’s Invictus Portable Noise Monitor and the Optimus Green Sound Level Meter.
The Case Study
The location for this fusion of classical meets house was Lancaster’s Williamson Park. A fantastic outdoor setting but surrounded on all side by some 10,000 homes within 1km.
Organised by the company behind the iconic Haçienda Nightclub in Manchester, this new style of Festival is quickly gathering momentum and a growing army of fans.
Chris was brought on board as acoustic expert to address the many noise issues that come with hosting a live music event in the heart of a crowded urban setting and relied upon the Invictus outdoor noise monitor and Optimus Green sound level meter to allow him to be in more than one place at one time for measurements.
With the Invictus positioned and stationary on site in advance of the venue, Chris was then free to roam the main hot spots that had been identified during the sound check.
He explained: “I’m a big fan. Having both sets of kit – the Invictus can be set up in a key stationary position and then I take the Optimus handheld with me. I can then have simultaneous readings on the unit as well as through on my iphone to get live data from the Invictus.
“The kit allows me to get readings from multiple locations but will also allow me to sign in the sound engineer so he can also see the live real time data coming through – it adds in that extra measure of control.
“You only have to look at Google map to see how many homes are close to Williamson Park, around 10,000 homes within 1km and that about 25% of the city’s population. Bear in mind that you would only need half a dozen or so complaints about noise to trigger enforcement, or at least a visit, and you can see why we needed to put tight controls in place to keep complaints to an absolute minimum and ensure local residents are out of harm’s way of noise nuisance.”
The software and connectivity of both the Invictus and Optimus also allows Chris to offer Local Authority client direct access to the noise data as it is streamed for real time evidence. “It helps to reassure Local Authority clients when they are concerned about noise levels for local residents, so it is a big win for them,” added Chris.