Sound Police

By March 3, 2019 March 11th, 2019 Safety

Music / amplified sound is an integral component of our event.

We all need to work together in our temporary community and implementing some of the below will go a long way to helping us all get along.

Have you got your sound system pointed out towards the lake? – This is vital! PA systems can’t face North (the closest residents), South (General Camping) or West (towards the rock). This is being done to stop sound clashes and major noise spill. Sound Camp Alley is evolving to become longer with more spacing and to (possibly) get everyone on one side so not camp’s PA points at another camp…

Have you clearly written the contact name, number and camping location (if not in the theme camp itself) of your primary sound engineer on the front of the PA rack so we can reach you in an emergency?

Has the engineer fitted a suitable compressor / limiter to the PA system to help reduce the output of overzealous DJs / performers? (And stop the smoke coming out of your PA system!) Pro tip – consider doing the same if you have monster foldback – this will protect your speakers and the ears of the performer if something goes wrong (think microphone feedback, faulty lead or instrument being plugged in while hot).

Stick a big bit of white tape on the mixer with “Maximum” written on it pointing to where the DJ should be running it (typically around 2db so they can see they’re in the orange) – Ideally the main system volume should be controlled by the processor in the PA rack so the DJ can’t easily bring the system beyond a predefined maximum

Put a friendly note (like this one!) in the DJ booth to remind the performer of some helpful expectations (why not add “No Drinks!” at the same time – wet DJ gear doesn’t work well)

Keep an eye (ear?) on your performers – there’s no point running the PA flat out at 4am with 12 people on the dance floor

If the Rangers / Fun Police / Event Manager / neighbours / disgruntled general campers show up in your booth – please try and work with them to reach an agreeable outcome for all.

Sound can carry really far – especially on the wind or when you get those cold, still nights.

When building your PA it may be helpful to put scaffold / D-barrier or other structures in front of your speakers. Technically you need to keep participants out of any zone exceeding 140dB(C) peak. A layer of shade cloth or netting may also assist in keeping empties and other MOOP out of your cabinets!

Invest in a SPL meter – even the $50 ones are pretty accurate (and are much, much better than the “app” on your phone). Your tired ears can’t accurately keep track of how loud things are. Tip – setup your camp, run the system at its ‘normal’ level with a regular crowd and note the level in a set location. Now you’ve got a permanent benchmark – even better if the performer can see it!

Don’t forget – there are some “no play” times – most notably in the lead up to the Temple Burn from 5pm. It might also be a good idea to keep the noise down when the masses are sleeping – you might want to keep partying but maybe they don’t…

Also note that loud / large sound systems in general camping areas aren’t very Community friendly.

Remember – if you have electrical equipment anywhere in a Theme Camp it must be tested & tagged (and a valid tag) – time is running out to get this done for free down at The Nest! There is no guarantee that any tagging can be done on site.

More than anything – we are here to help. If you need help with setting up your gear, sourcing a limiter, a SPL meter or anything else audio let us know!

And a final note – be good to your ears! You are going to need them your whole life so look after them!

(Tip – I thoroughly recommend taking a standard cylindrical foam ear plug [not the tapered cylindrical ones] and cut it in half. Use half in each ear – takes enough of the level out of a belting PA system yet someone can walk up to you and talk and you can actually hear them – try it!) Pro tip – get professional hearing protection!


I look forward to seeing (and hearing) you at the Blaze!

Sound Police / Fun Police Team