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Conservationists unhappy with noise from Suede and Keane concerts at Kenwood House

PUBLISHED: 14:00 19 November 2013

Suede frontman Brett Anderson performing at Kenwood House in August. Picture: Dieter Perry.

Suede frontman Brett Anderson performing at Kenwood House in August. Picture: Dieter Perry.

Dieter Perry

Conservationists have called on the organisers of this summer’s Kenwood House concerts to turn down the volume at next year’s event.

British band Keane, from left to right: Richard Hughes, Tom Chaplin and Tim Rice-Oxley. Picture: PA/Zak Hussein.British band Keane, from left to right: Richard Hughes, Tom Chaplin and Tim Rice-Oxley. Picture: PA/Zak Hussein.

The Heath and Hampstead Society, which works to preserve Hampstead Heath, was unhappy with noise levels at concerts held at the English Heritage site as part of the Live by the Lake season over two weekends in August and September.

The society’s sub-committee wants organiser Rouge Events – which has a three-year deal to run the concerts – to improve its sound management system and address a number of other “problems” encountered at this year’s event, which attracted more than 23,000 people with gigs from Britpop legends Suede, alternative rock outfit Keane and West End star Michael Ball, among others.

Tony Ghilchik, vice-chairman of the society, claims he could hear the gigs from his home in Morland Close, Hampstead Garden Suburb, and that noise could also be heard as far away as Golders Green Tube station.

He said: “I went into my bedroom and the window was open and I could hear a concert, which was surprising because we live quite far away.

Crowds enjoy the final picnic concert of the year at Kenwood House. Picture: Dieter Perry.Crowds enjoy the final picnic concert of the year at Kenwood House. Picture: Dieter Perry.

“It was the sort of noise you get from a neighbour whose party is getting a little over the top so you go over and ask them if they could turn it down a bit.”

Mr Ghilchik also expressed concerns about the position of bars and food stalls located in front of Kenwood House during the concerts, which he said created an “eyesore” for people visiting the house.

He added: “In between the concerts the whole area was closed off so there was only a quarter of the pasture ground available for picnickers.

“I went up on the bank holiday Monday and there were a number of people with their picnics stuck in a corner. We don’t want to see that happen next year.”

Nathan Homan, director of Rouge Events, said the company had received no complaints about noise and had even published a phone number for members of the public to call if they had concerns.

He added: “Kenwood House and Hampstead Heath were bequeathed to the nation – not just the borough of Camden – so for the thousands who came along we had to strike a balance between them and the people living nearby.

“It’s something we would be willing to discuss and engage with the community about. We’d be happy to sit down and talk.”

Rouge Events won the deal when former promoters IMG failed to renew contracts last year.

For the first time this year the concerts were held over two weekends rather than the traditional eight beginning in early July.


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