Rhythms noise level dispute continues

THE dispute over sound levels at this year’s Rhythms of the World continues, with organisers admitting that if the sound levels cannot be increased it could spell the end of the festival.

Musicians, organisers and festival-goers have argued that the current level of 65dB is too quiet, and are asking for it to be increased to 75dB.

A decision is expected to be reached later this month at a North Herts District Council Licensing Committee.

RotW organisers have said that if it is not agreed, the future of the festival remains uncertain.

“While we’re disappointed the charity has had to dedicate the time and expense to apply for a variation to our licence, we are glad we have this opportunity to formally state our case to increase sound levels at the festival, for the enjoyment of both festival goers and performers,” said volunteer Cath Cole.

“Sadly, if the variation is not granted, the event leaders - all of whom are volunteers - will have to seriously consider the future of the festival as we believe it is not viable over the long term in its current location without a change to the sound levels.”

The news comes as two petitions were presented at a Hitchin Committee Meeting this week, arguing either side of the case.

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Adrian Knight is campaigning to get the sound levels increased for the Hitchin festival.

His petition has so far collected 880 signatures from festival-goers, who argue the sound levels are too quiet.

A petition was also presented by nearby residents, who have amassed 102 signatures disputing that the sound should be increased.

They argue that the levels will be too loud, and may even affect their property prices.

Committee chairman Judi Billing, who has signed the petition for increasing the sound, said she hoped a resolution could be reached.

“We’re trying to make the festival the best it can be and stop it drying out because people can’t hear,” said Cllr Judi Billing.

“I do think that for the greater good, it’s only two days a year and it would be really good if everybody could pull together for the sake of the town.”

The two petitions will be presented to the Licensing Committee where they will be used as evidence to make a final decision.