Residents fear Northamptonshire music festival noise could make weekend ‘unbearable’

Rockingham Castle
Rockingham Castle

Concerns have been raised about noise at a music festival at Rockingham Castle later this month.

The Summer Gathering Festival, now in its fourth year, will be taking place at Rockingham Castle’s Great Park on July 24 and 25 with more than 100 musical acts from around the world across four stages.

But residents are worried that the noise will be too much and that this event could be the first of more to come.

More than 30 people turned up to a public meeting in June with Corby Council’s licensing panel to protest about the choice of venue.

Sue Southern, of Corby, said: “I’m not against these events in general, but a much smaller festival was held there recently and the noise was unbearable, reaching beyond a radius of 500m.

“With at least 5,000 people set to attend this event, I don’t know how they could possibly contain it.”

Mrs Southern, who often wakes in the night to care for her disabled husband, said: “They can have a good time as much as they like, I just want to be able to go to sleep.”

During the meeting event organiser Sidewinder Events, based in Northampton, agreed to ensure that all outdoor music will stop by 1am, instead of 4am as originally proposed.

After that time, they will switch to an indoor ‘silent disco’.

But the noise isn’t the only concern for Mrs Southern.

She said: “They will still be able to sell alcohol until 3am and people can bring their own.

“If people have to leave shortly after that, there is always the risk that there will be a small amount who won’t want to be told what to do and won’t want to go straight home.

“Even though the event organisers have said they will be putting security in place, the site is an open park area so I don’t know how they are planning to do that.”

Since it was first launched the Summer Gathering Festival has expanded into a two-day event featuring underground music of a variety of genres.

“It’s obviously making more money,” said Mrs Southern, “which makes me worried that local authorities will agree to hold more and more events of this scale at Rockingham Castle.

“We’ve done all we can to point out the problems but we are just resigned to it now and we will have to wait and see what happens.

“If it doesn’t bother anyone then that’s great, but if it does, the organisers won’t be doing their neighbours any favours.”

In response to the concerns, the council has stipulated a number of guidelines that the event must comply with.

Following last month’s meeting a spokesman said: “Due to concerns from both responsible authorities and interested parties regarding issues including public nuisance attached to the event, a safety advisory group was set up in order to talk to the organisers.

“Expected standards of management were discussed at length and an action plan has been agreed.

“The licensing panel has since agreed the licence could be granted with a range of conditions attached around the prevention of public nuisance and the more restrictive time which was reduced from 4am until 1am.

“The organisers must adhere to all conditions.

“A qualified and suitably experienced noise management consultancy will be appointed to produce a noise management plan and provide a representative on site during sound checks and throughout the festival.”

The proposed plan will include noise monitoring both on the site and as far away Cottingham.

A 24-hour phone number will also be provided to people in the nearby area to phone with any noise complaints while the event is going on.