Reading Festival explain reason behind Main Stage low sound

Organisers say 'atmospheric conditions' effected volume limits

Reading Festival organisers have said that the quiet sound levels on the Main Stage throughout the weekend (August 22-24) were out of their control.

Fans and some bands have complained to NME.COM during the festival that the volume on the principal stage has been too quiet, making it difficult to connect with the large crowds it attracts.

The problem was particularly acute during headline acts Rage Against The Machine and The Killers.

However, speaking to NME.COM, festival chief Melvin Benn said that the volume had been out of his control this weekend.

“The levels on site are almost entirely dictated by the levels offsite,” he explained. “The [local] council set levels by which noise, sound can’t be above a certain decibel level on certain residential properties nearby [the site].

“They’ve set exactly the same level that they always set, but the atmospheric conditions [this year] has meant that the sound is staying low and hitting those decibel readings much, much earlier than normal. So we have to turn our levels down.”

He added that because of the weather, the sound had been recorded at much louder volumes offsite than normal.

“There’s somebody offsite from the council and somebody in front of house [in the area] from the council basically saying it’s too high over there [offsite], so we’ve got to lower it over here,” he said. “To be honest, last night, for Bloc Party and The Killers, I had to just say ‘I can’t lower it, I’ve got to get it a little bit higher’. So I’ve got to face the music after the festival.”

However Benn said he was confident the problem could be avoided next year.

“I’ve got a meeting with my acoustic engineers, and I’ll present to the council what I intend to do,” explained Benn.

NME.COM is bringing you live coverage straight from both sites of the Reading And Leeds Festivals 2008. For the latest news, blogs, pictures and video interviews head to the Reading And Leeds Festivals index now.

Plus make sure you get next week’s issue of NME – on newsstands nationwide from Wednesday August 27 – for the ultimate Reading And Leeds Festivals review.

For more Reading And Leeds Festivals coverage including live footage and more, visit fellow official media partner