Report says Glastonbury Festival organisers must do more to reduce bass noise at night

  Posted: 11.01.20 at 09:11 by Daniel Mumby - Local Democracy Reporter

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The Glastonbury Festival must do more to plan for hot weather and to reduce bass noise at night.

That’s the verdict of Mendip District Council, which oversees the licensing of the festival to ensure the safety and well-being of both attendees and the wider community in Somerset.

The council has published its latest festival “de-brief report”, looking at every aspect of how the event was run in 2019 and making recommendations of how things can be improved in the future.

The festival organisers have declined to comment on the report’s findings.

The report was published before a meeting of the council’s scrutiny board in Shepton Mallet on Thursday evening (January 9).

Claire Malcolmson, the council’s group manager for community health, said: “The Glastonbury Festival has a worldwide reputation – and as such it means that we have a huge responsibility in ensuring that it undertakes its statutory duties.

“The purpose of the licence, the licensing objectives and other legislation is to ensure event organisers provide a safe event while minimising disruption and nuisance to the local community.”

The council said the 2019 festival had been generally “well-planned and managed”, with most of the changes it had proposed in 2017 being successfully implemented.

These changes included improvements to how traffic moves around within the site, the levels of night-time noise, and the festival’s overall approach to contingency planning.

However, the council did identify a number of areas where further improvements are needed for the 2020 event.

Here are nine areas it identifies in which the festival needs to improve:

1. Alcohol, bars and taxi provision: the council has asked to be provided with a comprehensive list and map of all bars on the festival site two weeks in advance of the festival’s first day, and that staff at the designated taxi rank should be given “a more comprehensive briefing” ahead of the event.

2. Camping capacity: the council has ongoing concerns about how densely packed the various camping areas are on the site, in order to prevent the risk of fire. It has asked the festival to provide a breakdown of “field densities” by early-May, so it can sign off on any work which is needed to provide necessary amenities. Off-site camping will also need to be closely monitored.

3. Crowd safety: while the flow of revellers between different sections of the festival is improving, further work is needed at key “crossing points” between different stages to prevent crushes or congestion.

4. Food safety and hygiene: the council was generally pleased with the quality of food served at the 2019 festival. However, it has called on the organisers to ensure bar operators maintain current food hygiene standards, and to bar catering companies who do not comply with the agreed regulations. The festival must also review how it reports food-borne illnesses or allergic reactions to on-site medical personnel, to ensure people are treated quickly and that bugs do not spread.

5. General health and safety: more work is needed to prevent “conflict” between pedestrians and vehicles moving through the site, and to ensure “welfare arrangements” for staff and volunteers, particularly those who are working at night.

6. Noise and nuisance: a total of 37 noise complaints were made during the 2019 festival – higher than both of the two previous festivals. The council has said more must be done to prevent “low frequency noise propagation” (i.e. bass beats) from reaching intolerable levels – particularly after stage curfew. The council is considering monitoring noise levels after 3am to ensure that this is under control, and will act on residents’ complaints more swiftly.

7. Toilets and sanitation: the toilets at the Springfield site need to be serviced and cleaned more frequently, and compost toilets on site should be provided with “utensils” to allow compost to be scooped when needed. More work is also needed to prevent “cross-contamination” between drinking water taps and toilets.

8. Security checks: staff on the festival gates should be given “a more robust briefing” to stop prohibited items from entering the site. A new limit may be introduced on the amount of alcohol that can brought in for personal use, and more funding should be made available for the police to tackle crime and antisocial behaviour in “off-site hotspots”.

9. Water supply: the festival must do more to ensure sufficient water (including bottled water) is available near the stages and at times of high demand (e.g. if hot weather is forecast). The council must be informed immediately of any supply problems, and all pipes on-site must continue to be inspected to prevent contamination or pooling.

The next Glastonbury Festival will be held between June 24 and 28. For more information click on the red button below.

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