Gigs in Hyde Park have been saved after Westminster Council rubber stamped the venue’s licence despite noise complaints by residents which threatened the viability of shows. However, the number of shows will be reduced to nine in 2013.
The Licensing Sub-Committee decided against reducing the number of concerts from 13 to six and noise levels to 73 decibels, from its current 75, at a marathon meeting yesterday. Capacity crowds of 80,000 will also be allowed.
Madonna, Bruce Springsteen (Hard Rock Calling), and Rhianna and Drake (Wireless) have already confirmed shows in the park. The reprieve also safeguards 18 Olympic events, which the promoter, Live Nation, threatened to drop if the constraints were imposed. A surprise intervention by Bruce Springsteen via a written a letter to Westminster Council said sound levels needed to be the same as last time he played in 2009.
A report stated that Westminster Council received 109 noise complaints from residents last year — that's double the 2010 figure — with dance music singled out as being unsuitable for the area. The continuous and repetitive nature of acts like Chemical Brothers caused particular gripe for wealthy Mayfair residents.
However, for gig goers, Hyde Park is notorious for its poor sound quality with a sound level already below the usual rock show standard. A Red Hot Chilli Peppers show a few years ago sounded particularly awful – (Not just because of their songs- DN).
The committee heard Hyde Park concerts breached the terms of their license 24 times in 2011, with one resident claiming 60,000 people stomping at the same time sounds like an earthquake. The Evening Standard reported Mike Dunn, vice-chairman of the Mayfair Residents Group, said of the noise: “It's pretty bad. There are two issues for us - the number of concerts and noise they're allowed to make. If you sit here with the windows open on a hot day, you can hear every word.”
John Giddings, from Solo Productions which represents artists including U2 and Rolling Stones, said he would have advised his artists never to play the venue, had the constraints been imposed, report the Evening Standard.