Organisers defend sound quality at Reading Festival

Melvin Benn says event was louder but the wind got in the way

Reading Festival boss Melvin Benn has blamed the weather for the sound problems at this year’s event (August 28-30).

Some of the bands on the Main Stage suffered as the volume appear to fluctuate during performances, with some fans complaining it was too quiet.

However speaking to NME.COM Benn explained that the stage was louder than last year, and though effected by adverse weather conditions, the sound had improved from 2008 – when there were similar complaints.


“To be fair, the sound has been massively better. Last year we were having to run so low that it wasn’t possible, that hasn’t been the case this year,” he said. “Generally, we’ve been running between 101 and 103 decibels, sometimes 107, amazing.

“The only issue has been there have been massive gusts of winds which can pick up the sound and throw it away. That’s not a sound issue per se. Some people will have noticed on Friday we had to drop the screens on the Main Stage because of the wind. The sound has been pretty remarkable, the gusts of winds have been difficult. It’s generally a British summer issue.”

Benn also spoke about his decision to ban flags at the festival, saying punters had been largely positive about the move.

NME.COM was at both Reading And Leeds Festivals sites this weekend (August 28-30). Head to NME.COM/festivals for news reports, blogs, video interviews and photos from the event.

Get next Wednesday’s (September 2) issue of NME for the ultimate Reading And Leeds Festivals review.

Plus have your say on this summer – fill in the annual NME Festival survey now to cast your verdict on 2009, and tell festival chiefs who you want to see next year.