Law mandating noise limits meeting resistance

Law mandating noise limits meeting resistance


Music venues must turn down the noise starting in February 2008, when the new European Union noise regulations take effect. Music venues in Denmark, however, indicate that they will refuse to lower the volume.

New EU noise limits take effect on 1 February 2008 in effect prohibiting rock bands from performing in concerts at noise levels above 85 dB. The new rules were designed to protect the health of employees and generally direct the music venues to adapt to the same noise limits protecting employees in the rest of the labour market. Guidelines are being prepared, advising the music venues on how to turn down the music.

Special exceptions demanded

The new regulations are meeting loud resistance from Danish music venues.

The vast majority of rock bands perform at noise levels above 85 dB in order for the base and drums to be heard. Playing at the proposed noise levels is useless. If these regulations are implemented we might as well close all our music venues,stated Jesper Nordahl of Amager Bio, a spokesman for an association of Danish music venues (

The association has established a working committee to promote special exceptions from the noise regulations for Danish music venues. Such exceptions have apparently been granted in Sweden.

A goof

What we have here is a law directed at industrial workplaces in order to protect employees from excessive noise from machinery. It’s puzzling to me that anyone would attempt to apply the same rules to the music business. It seems like a goof, said Jesper Nordahl.

Noisy shows are equated with noise machinery or screaming kids when assessing the work environment of the future.

Regular work noise and music do not compare. This does not seem to have been thought through, said Henrik Winther Hansen, an instructor and sound technician at the Jysk Musikkonservatorium music school.

Research speaks in favour of the new regulations. According to numerous studies, more and more people suffer hearing loss, and the prevalence of hearing loss is expected to keep increasing.