Kitchener-Waterloo

Just six noise complaints from 2018 Ever After Music Festival

The number of noise complaints from the Ever After Music Festival dropped significantly from 2017, but there was a rise in the number of festival goers who were taken to hospital, local officials say.

Number of festival goers taken to hospital rises from 24 to 32, paramedics report

There were just six noise complaints about the 2018 Ever After Music Festival, down from 130 a year earlier.

There was one complaint on Friday and none on Saturday for the electronic dance music (EDM) festival held at Bingemans over the weekend.

On Sunday, there were five complaints, but most of those were because the festival went beyond 9 p.m., the time the city had told them to be done.

The electronic dance music (EDM) festival spent $30,000 on new technology for this year's festival to meet the demands of Kitchener's city council, which told organizers to decrease in noise levels coming from the venue to 55 decibels, down from 65.

The decibel level was measured from a person's home if they sent in a complaint.

'Did not hear a sound'

Ward 2 Coun. Dave Schneider said he was out in his backyard where he could hear the festival last year, but this past weekend "did not hear a sound."

"At the grocery store, somebody said, 'Can't even tell that festival is on,'" he said.

Schneider said the great work by the city's bylaw director, Gloria MacNeil, in working with the festival to bring the noise down was why this year was so successful.

"From right after the end of last year's festival up to this festival, we had many meetings with our staff, with Bingemans, with the Beyond Oz Promoters, with an acoustical engineering company to really discover what the cause of the excessive noise was last year and then a plan was put together to rectify that and it seems the plan worked very well," he said.

The festival did go beyond 9 p.m. and Schneider said it will now be up to council to decide whether to fine the festival.

But he's happy with how this past weekend went.

"I think it's really important that Kitchener be able to hold festivals like this that draw top world talent, no matter what genre it is," he said.

"But at the same time, you want to have the balance where when that happens, we're not inconveniencing a lot of area residents."

Sound went down river

Jeremy Bridge is the CEO of PK Sound, which worked with Hamilton company Sound Box and local bylaw officers armed with decibel meters to ensure the music stayed within acceptable levels.

He said the work done before the festival with city officials helped them figure out where sensitive areas were for sound, and they were able to fine tune any problem areas.

During sound check on Thursday, he and bylaw officers went to some of the areas where noise complaints were filed last year. At the first three stops, they couldn't hear the music.

"And then at the fourth, you could a little bit and we made some changes to make it better because it was basically kind of going right down the river to Breslau," he said.

"So we made some changes that afternoon and also Friday morning to kind of focus the sound so it was projecting less down the river."

32 taken to hospital

Paramedics also reported there were 37 calls to the music festival this year. Of that, 32 patients were taken to hospital with 22 in serious or critical condition.

Nic Smith, community programs liaison with paramedic services, said the majority of people taken to hospital were because of substance use or misuse.

That number is up from 2017, when 24 people were taken from the festival to the hospital with alcohol and drug-related health concerns. That was also a rise from 12, in 2016.

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