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Page last updated at 14:54 GMT, Wednesday, 27 August 2008 15:54 UK
Reading boss defends sound levels
Rage Against The Machine
Fans complained the sound was too low for Rage Against The Machine

Organisers of the Reading Festival have defended sound levels at this year's event.

The move comes after fans complained about the sound on the main stage being too quiet for some performances.

Reading and Leeds Festivals organiser Melvin Benn blamed the problems on the weather.

He said: "The council set exactly the same level that they always set, but due to the weather this year, the sound stayed low."

The sound level was less than ideal on the Friday night
Melvin Benn
Reading and Leeds Festivals organiser
"Sound levels

Benn went on: "As a result the sound hit those decibel readings much, much earlier than normal, resulting in the sound being recorded at much louder volumes offsite than normal.

"So we were obligated by the council to turn our levels down.

"The sound levels on site are almost entirely dictated by the levels offsite.

"The local council set levels by which sound can't be above and this is measured next to residential properties nearby to the site."

The Killers at Reading
Fans crowded around the speakers during The Killers' performance

Fans onsite complained that the sound levels were too low for Rage Against The Machine's headlining slot on the Friday night and The Killers and Bloc Party on the Saturday night.

Despite the sound issues, Benn has promised to rectify the problem at future Reading Festivals.

He added: "The sound level was less than ideal on the Friday night and my sound engineer and I have a meeting scheduled in with the council to present how we will overcome this so we donít face the same issues with sound next year."

Your comments:

In most cases a selection of your comments will be published, displaying your name and location unless you state otherwise in the box below.

As the crow flies, we live about 2 miles North of the Festival site, and we always hear just enough to make out whose on the main stage. This year, we barely herd a thing!, so I guess the reports of the sound being too low stack up

Pete, Reading

Personally I found it annoying because for a ticket price of £160, you really expect the bands to blow you away with a performance and it is hard for the bands to do that if they don't have the volume levels to provide a performance they are happy with. If the festival and the council cannot sort out some compromise of providing a louder volume then it is going to be a problem that exists for the imminent time Reading festival is still located at that site

Greg Clark, Plymouth

I was with my friends outside the entrance point for the festival and couldn't hear anything, an even at one stage received a phone call from someone that was at the front of the stage and could hear them word for word.

Kayla J, Reading

I was there on the Friday and we noticed weird changes in the sound and volume, after a while we noticed it was cause we were to the left side of the stage and the sound was blowing to the right of the stage in the wind. Once we moved over we didn't have any complaints. Reading can't be held responsible for a windy day. oh and Rage rocked.

Will, Colchester

During the Friday and Saturday night there were obvious sounds problems on the main stage. I have been going to Reading festival for 3 consectuative years now, and there was a significant drop in volume. There didn't seem to be the problem on the Sunday during Metallica's set, which would suggest that maybe there was reason behind it. Although the levels were low, it didn't take away the amazing performance by the legends that are Rage Against The Machine, Bloc party and the Killers.

Joe Stevenson, Reading/Wokingham

The sound wasn't great Friday, Saturday or Sunday daytime. But 'amazingly' as soon as Metallica hit the stage on Sunday night the levels were fixed and the volume cranked up to 11....The same thing occurred on their last visit in 2003

Richard, Gravesend - Kent

Being down the front for RATM meant I heard everything, whilst trying to stay on my feet. There were no problems on Sunday however for the headliners, Metallica, where to be honest it was as loud as seeing them in an arena. A blooming good weekend as ever and here's to next year!!

Martin, Reading

The sound on the main stage wasn't just low in volume it was also of poor quality. For some bands it was like listening to an MP3 player with only one earphone as either the bass or keyboards etc. were inaudible. This was worse for The Enemy and The Killers. Apparently it was better on Sunday but we'd given up by then and stuck to the tents just to get some decent atmosphere.

Shaun, Godalming

It has now reached the point that if a reflective cloud layer moves over a site during a performance, and then the volume has to be restricted to the point where the music is no longer involving. It is our opinion that the considerations of off-site inconvenience for a small number of local residents and the enjoyment of hundreds of thousands of festival goers is not at all in balance, being heavily and unreasonably biased in favour of the local residents through the licensing conditions. Festivals have become part of our cultural heritage, but unless a more reasonable balance of sound levels can be reached, it is our deep concern that our festival future is in jeopardy.

Tony Andrews, Dorking, Surrey

We found big pockets of poor volume and sound quality. In general it still seemed better than last year with more relay towers used and standing behind those seemed to improve matters - even though the visuals were then slightly out of sync. We found that the worst areas were standing any further away than the side screens before you hit the relay towers. As always we had no complaints about the sound / acoustics in the tents which were far superior to the Main Stage and a slight improvement from previous years.

Lenny, Chipping Sodbury, South Glos.

I was there and out to the edges there was a lack of punch with a lot of bands. I was sat to the side for an early band and could hardly hear them, everyone I talked to, said the same about the Killers and Tenacious D lacked bite for me due to the wind taking away all the bass. Slightly disappointed, for £160 you expect a lot, Metallica were perfect though, blew everyone away.

Chris Moreton, Swansea

I noticed no problems on the Friday, but on the Saturday I was right down the front for both The Raconteurs and The Killers - and the sound was so low that I was able to talk quite easily to folk around me. I expect to have to shout in people's ears and still not get heard! I felt sorry for the bands because they weren't getting the crowd response they'd have got if the music was louder. Sort it out.

Lindsay, Glasgow

Strangely enough, I could hear Friday night's performance very clearly from my house, yet absolutely nothing on Saturday and Sunday. I live about 1 mile south of the festival site.

Jon, Reading

Personally I didn't think that the sound for the Rage was too bad but it was quiet for Queens of the Stoneage. I saw the killers and was at the front left of the stage and was struggling to hear Brandon's voice. The crowd did chant on a few occasions "turn it up". The same problem occurred when I went to see the last of the shadow puppets in the NME/Radio 1 tent. You couldn't hear them sing until crowd chanted. This time, the sound engineers re acted by flicking a switch and the sound was perfect. Personally I've been to Leeds for the past five years and never had a problem, the sound quality at Reading this year has put me off. For £165 a ticket you would think that you could at least hear the bands you've paid so much to see.

Heather Wilcox, Halesowen, West Midlands

I've been a regular at Reading for the past 10 years. The sound used to vibrate my rib cage and take my breath away at times. This year I stood at the barrier of the main stage and had conversations with my neighbours - NOT rock & roll. The sound in the NME tent however was an improvement on previous years, with more screens than the main stage go figure!

Angela Crittenden, Thatcham, Berkshire

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