St Albans fitness festival will not disrupt residents like drum and bass event, site owner promises

PUBLISHED: 07:00 04 July 2019

An event being held at Springfield Farm. Picture: Submitted by Vik Josh of Springfield Farm

An event being held at Springfield Farm. Picture: Submitted by Vik Josh of Springfield Farm

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A festival site owner has promised that a fitness event will not disrupt St Albans residents, following a wave of noise complaints about a drum and bass gig last weekend.

Herts Fit Fest founder Emma Sills at a BNBF competition. Picture: Submitted by Emma SillsHerts Fit Fest founder Emma Sills at a BNBF competition. Picture: Submitted by Emma Sills

When the inaugural Tearout Fest came to Springfield Farm on Old Parkbury Lane from June 28 to 30, the heavy drum and bass music could be heard miles away in St Albans city.

St Albans district council (SADC) received more than 75 complaints about pounding bass from the festival, which was scheduled to be open into the early hours.

Areas affected included Sopwell, London Colney, Bricket Wood, Chiswell Green, Park Street, Redbourn, Markyate, and Bernards Heath.

Site owner Vik Josh said stage sound regulators ensured the volume was kept to an acceptable level: "However, one of the stages didn't have that and the DJ decided to go wild, he thought he was in Ibiza."

A fitness instructor leading a flash mob for Herts Fit Fest. Picture: Submitted by Emma SillsA fitness instructor leading a flash mob for Herts Fit Fest. Picture: Submitted by Emma Sills

Vik stressed that the music was turned down for Saturday and Sunday and it was not registering on any equipment for a 360 degree mile radius.

He apologised for any distress to local residents: "The sound hopped over the 360 area and landed in St Albans. Some people said it maybe happened because I am on lower ground and St Albans is higher ground, or atmospheric pressure, but irrespective of why, it did happen.

"[Later in the weekend] it was reduced to such a level that we could hardly hear it in the house and we are right next door."

Awaiting a debrief with SADC, Vik has been told he was in breach of his licence.

Springfield Farm is the site for about six or seven events each year, but Vik says Tearout Fest will probably not return.

Vik is worried he will lose his license following what happened: "It's scary and I am apprehensive because we don't know what the next stage will be until the review is done.

"I am hoping they don't give us a big fine. I have learned that maybe it is not a good idea to open until 2am [his licensing hours], maybe I will make sure I ask it is closed at 11pm next time.

"I have learned never to do drum and bass gigs."

There is another festival being held at Springfield Farm this weekend, from July 5 to 8, and Vik reassured everyone that there will be no further problems.

There will be at least 200 exercise classes on offer at Herts Fit Fest, including Zumba, clubbercise, pole dance, aerial silks, hoop, bootcamp, trampoline, pilates, yoga, powerwave, and kickboxing.

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Only three acts will be performing in the evening - Shola Ama, Sweet Female Attitude and DJ LexBeatz.

Vik said: "It is such a shame as a small business. I understand why people were complaining as people are sensitive to noise and I don't want people to worry about Herts Fit Fest.

"It's going to be a really good fitness festival with lots of classes."

He said the music will be turned off no later than 12.30am.

Founder of Herts Fit Fest, Emma Sills, also reassured St Albans residents: "It is not drum and bass. It is a fitness festival so there is lots of fitness classes going on during the day - some of them are yoga so there has to be quiet places.

"The noise will not be anything on that level [of Tearout Fest]."

She encouraged everyone to come down as there are still tickets available.

A spokesperson from SADC said: "The council was aware of the festival which was considered by its Safety Advisory Group.

"The festival was described as 'a small-scale, music and arts festival with a focus on supporting local and national emerging artists, engaging communities in the arts, and allowing people to enjoy the outdoors as part of the great British festival experience'."

She said the licensing team is investigating what happened and has requested CCTV and noise monitoring data.

A spokesperson from Tearout Events, Ollie, apologised for the disruption: "At the start of the event we set about following our noise management plan that had been put in place to ensure there was no local disruption.

Ollie said they were taking readings every hour and "many of the people and houses close to the festival couldn't hear it and wasn't even aware it was on".

He added: "Unfortunately, the sound travelled two miles for a number of reasons and caused people in a number of locations to be disrupted."

After they were made aware of noise complaints, Tearout Fest turned the volume down and made a new noise management plan.

Ollie said it was "nice to have seen a great response from the locals about the event who managed to make it down".

Find out more about Herts Fit Fest at www.hertsfitfest.com

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