d&b NoizCalc curbs noise pollution at London’s 51st State Festival

Southby Productions and Three Spire Acoustics join forces to provide a full suite of d&b tools for London’s 51st State Festival. Photo: d&b audiotechnik

From its roots in gospel, soul, disco and house music the 51st State Festival showcases the technicoloured heritage of dance. This year, held in Copthall Playing Fields in London, the festival’s production team were tasked with minimising noise pollution and adverse impacts on the local community, whilst elevating the audience experience across seven stages. Southby Productions and Three Spire Acoustics collaborated with a full suite of d&b tools to ensure they had the appropriate components to deliver a memorable show for the right ears, and not the wrong ones.

 Copthall Playing Fields was a new location for the festival and marked the venue’s inaugural large-scale event. The first large-scale event for the venue required the local council, who had limited experience of festivals in the borough, to see a plan in place ahead of time to ensure the offsite noise from the festival did not impact the neighbouring urban environment. Southby Productions and Three Spire Acoustics worked together to predict the noise impact on the surrounding areas with the help of d&b’s NoizCalc software

NoizCalc is designed by d&b in collaboration with noise consulting and software development experts SoundPLAN. NoizCalc predicts sound propagation of multiple coherently emitting sources such as line arrays and subwoofer arrays, allowing system designers to predict any potential noise issues before the event begins.

“Noizcalc assisted in understanding potential noise pollution dispersion from the site and was instrumental in providing the client with different options for orientation and location of stages, “commented Chris Hurst, Director at Three Spires Acoustics.

In addition, the team used a new workflow feature within NoizCalc 3.0, reSum. This new heavyweight workflow feature enables post-calc changes without the total recalculation time.

“Our team at Southby are huge fans of the new reSum feature set in the latest 3.0 NoizCalc release which is particularly useful when working across an entire festival site with six different ArrayCalcs,” said Digby Shaw, Technical Director at Southby Productions.

Using NoizCalc the team ultimately secured approval for the event to take place with d&b partner Southby implementing d&b’s KSL System across seven different stages at the electronic dance music festival. The cardioid properties of the KSL System proved to be the ideal solution for the festival main stage due to the stage’s close proximity to a residential housing estate.

A cardioid line array and sub array allowed system designers and engineers to easily adhere to noise restraints. KSL also served as a vital advantage to another stage within the music festival. Unlike the mainstage setup, this stage featured the PA near the rear of the tent. With the arrays being cardioid, this arrangement negated energy from the back of the arrays hitting the rear of the tent and causing issues out front.

“KSL is a system we know we can rely on. From its rear rejection to its consistent horizontal dispersion, we never need to worry that the system wouldn’t perform flawlessly,” said Max Liddell, Head of Production at Southby. 

Overall, the 51st State Festival was a big success. With noise emissions controlled by d&b, the artists could focus on providing the best possible show to audience members. “Thanks to the combination of Noizcalc for viability assessment and the use of the latest ‘Noisy’ concert noise monitoring solution, we had a high degree of confidence in the noise management of the event, which would not have been so predictable and controllable using traditional techniques,” concluded Hurst.