The Isle of Wight Festival 2015

Southampton Solent University students have been working with event sound specialists Vanguardia Consulting to manage noise levels at the Isle of Wight Festival.

As well as taking off-site sound measurements at various locations, the group of four students worked with engineers to actively manage the on-site sound levels at the various stages during the four-day event.

Stephen Hale, who has completed a BSc (Hons) Sound Engineering degree at the University, hopes this experience will help him find future employment.

“It has been great; you learn more with a hands on approach and it has given me a real insight into the role of an acoustic consultant,” says Stephen, 33 and from Portsmouth.

“Over my four years at Solent I have been lucky enough to have gained valuable experience in festival noise, studio design and outside broadcast, and these experiences tie the acquired knowledge in with real life scenarios and help craft attendees into professional members of staff.”

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2015 was the fourth year that students have been requested by Vanguardia Consulting to assist at the festival.

Stephen worked with fellow students Mike Crabb (second year BSc (Hons) Live and Studio Sound), Harry Lang (second year BSc (Hons) Live and Studio Sound), and Viktor Marinov (first year BSc (Hons) Audio Engineering).

As well as measuring sound levels, the students spent time identifying the directionality of each PA to work out which off-site locations could be an issue and continually checked weather reports to detect changes in wind speed and direction. The busiest time for the students was at night.

“The licence states a reduced volume at night, so this is when we were the busiest – trying to allow each stage the loudest level possible without disturbing neighbours or breaking the conditions,” adds Stephen.

Jonty Stewart, Senior Lecturer in Audio Engineering, says: “The students worked really hard and were extremely professional – a real credit to the University. There were only a handful of noise complaints over the whole weekend and the local Environment Health Officers were very happy over all.”

Vanguardia Consulting were so happy with the work the students carried out, they have added them as approved subcontractors and offered work at some more festivals over the summer.

Warren King, Project Manager at Vanguardia Consulting, says: “I wouldn’t be able to run the noise management effectively without the Solent students Jonty recommends to us.

“As in previous years, they were all extremely keen to learn about what we do and how we do it. They were thrown in at the deep end from the moment the festival started and all rose to the challenge of identifying noise sources and reducing them where necessary so we can react quickly – and I don’t have to run from one end of the site to the other!

“I will be using them again on the NASS festival and Boardmasters later on in the summer. I hope this gives them good experience and many of the students from Solent have gone on to either work for Vanguardia or other acoustic consultancies around the country.”

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