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Environmental noise protection in outdoor events

Environmental noise protection in outdoor events

The “51. State Festival” in London has its roots in gospel, soul, disco and house music. These styles of music have influenced the colorful and multicultural type of dance celebrated at the festival. Copthall Playfields in London is the site of the Open Air Festival. Reducing noise pollution and negative impact on the local population while simultaneously entertaining the audience over seven stages was a challenge for the festival’s production team.

Environmental noise control requires careful sound reinforcement planning prior to construction. Photo: d&b

In 2022 the festival will be held for the first time at Copthall Play Fields. As this was the first major event at the venue, the local council, who had limited experience with festivals, had to work out a plan beforehand. This should ensure that the noise from the festival does not affect nearby residents. Environmental noise experts and sound engineers worked together last year to predict the impact of noise on the environment using d&b’s NoizCalc software and other tools. The goal – to provide a memorable show for the right ears rather than the wrong ones – was accomplished and the sequel followed. The 2023 51st State Festival will be held at this location again on August 5th.

Experiences from this project and many others have been incorporated into the latest version of d&b’s NoizCalc. NoizCalc 4.0 is an advanced simulation tool for accurately predicting noise levels in external events using d&b systems. Version 4.0 provides a number of improvements over previous versions.

Proactive noise management
NoizCalc enables proactive noise management in the lead-up to an event. Using system data from d&b ArrayCalc project files as well as geospatial data from Google Maps and OpenStreetMap, the software computes a point noise map that accurately predicts potential noise disturbances in the vicinity. The software was developed in collaboration with SoundPLAN, a software developer specializing in environmental noise simulation. Potential noise problems can be identified with NoizCalc at the planning stage, even before production is set up.

environmental acoustics
“Noise is essentially unwanted sound, and its effects can be very detrimental to the success of an event—even threaten its long-term existence,” explains Daniel Pilcher, Product Owner of NoizCalc, and Environmental Acoustics. “A slight rotation of the stage may be enough to get around a problem, but this knowledge is only useful if the stage has not already been set up. It may also be possible to correct the speaker system without affecting audience area coverage. Either way, NoizCalc provides the information needed to take appropriate action before a potential problem becomes a real problem – and is likely to be very costly.”

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