Music & Sound

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Sound policies at Burns often seem to be all about limits and 'what nots'. But of course it is really about maintaining good relations between those who like it loud and those who don't (at certain hours of day at least). It's also about managing sound conflicts between sound camps, and most importantly for the event organisers, managing sound impacts on people outside the event location.

Burns have more complex sound management requirements than one day music events. A Burn event occurs over multiple days with people sleeping on site, often in close proximity to Camps where sound is generated. To some extent the advice given to participants at Burns is to bring earplugs or noise cancelling headphones and to expect sound generation to continue very late. Burns also often involve multiple simultaneous sound performances in structures that are not acoustically isolating. In that case placement of Camps and speakers may need to be regulated in order to avoid cross-over effects or impacts on areas outside the event.

Some Burns create zones based on sound, within the Camping areas and the Theme Camp areas. These are usually controlled in the sense of dB allowed, and times allowed. Some Burns have specific times where all sound is muted, such as the early morning, or around the time of the Temple Burn.

Regulation of sound also requires monitoring of sound using appropriate technology. Using dB meters avoids questions of subjectivity but the utility of this equipment may depend on the operators being trained and having those people given appropriate powers and guidelines. Creating a culture where sound camps monitor themselves is preferable to having an large force of sound monitors or rangers, but the event organisation will always have to hold ultimate authority in regard to sound management.

Management of Sound Camps may also be an issue in that the roster of performers in Sound Camps can be very large and in many cases the performers (and DJ's in particular) have control of the sound equipment. In some Camps the roster includes general event participants taking control of the sound generation. In these cases the people generating the volume might not be aware of the sound rules, or care about the consequences of breaching the sound rules. Sound Camp managers then would be required to have oversight of performances and sound generation for periods up to 18 or even 24 hours a day - over several days.


In 2018 we introduced two major changes to how & where loud sound can live alongside everything and everyone else in Tankwa Town: a mandatory sound switch off daily from Monday - Thursday of the event from 7 to 11am, and The Great Switcheroo, a relocation of all large sound rigs to the northwest side of our city – and these both worked really well. Our Quiet Period is now part of the rhythm of our city, and includes generators staying off during the quiet. It’s a beautiful time, when acoustic music and nature sounds rule the space – enjoy it (there’s plenty time on the weekend for noise and amps). GOT SOUND? GET PLACED IN THE RIGHT ZONE Music’s an important part of Tankwa Town for many people, so if you’re bringing music, everyone’ll love you. But our site is relatively small (1.6km at the longest reach), so if you have a sound system, then you should register as a sound camp to be placed in the right area. Please note: NO SOUND SYSTEMS CAN BE PLAYED LOUD IN OPEN CAMPING. There are Sound Zones for sound systems – please don’t create friction by blasting neighbours. QUIET ZONE these are spaces that are not located next to large sound systems and you are likely to get more shut eye. LOUD ZONE these are the areas where we locate the camps that are gifting music of the amplified variety. If you have a dancefloor, but nobody’s dancing, please turn it down, or off. Tomorrow’s another day and the desert’s not kind on those who don’t sleep. There are Sound Zones for sound systems – please don’t create friction by blasting neighbours. Keep all this in mind when choosing your spot to camp. It’s simple - want relative quiet when in your personal camp? Don’t camp in the Loud Zone. Want to play loud music? You simply cannot settle in the Quiet one. The greatest concentration of family camps where a good night’s sleep can be had are between 5-ish and 7-ish streets or in the new expanded camping areas. SOUND PLACEMENT Bass bins must be raised off the ground (on a platform such as a pallet), and all speakers must be aimed away from camping areas and the Quiet Zones. This is for stationary -sound systems.If you use an amplified sound system at your Theme Camp or on a Mutant Vehicle, keep the volume at a reasonable level. Crazy sound levels that continue after requests and warnings will be disabled. Some artworks are intended to be quiet and reflective spaces – respect this and cut your sound when approaching art installations and performances, or entering the city. Note: Sound Rangers are stationed at Off-Centre Camp - if you need them, head over there and ask the Volunteer crew to call them in via adio. They will also visit dancefloors to check that sound is placed correctly - please work with our crew to ensure the best results for your neighbours, and yourself.

See- Survival Guide


BEQUINOX SOUND POLICY Some of your music may travel beyond our perimeter. Therefore, we must limit sounds to reasonable hours and specific decibels throughout the event. Black Rock Rangers, Sound Squad, Theme Camp, Art and Art Car Placers (BEquinox Staff) will be monitoring and working with camps, art cars and art installations throughout the event. Please protect the safety and success of BEquinox by complying with all sound restrictions.

As a community, we need to work together to keep sound at desirable levels. If your neighbor believes your sound is too loud, you should work with them to find an acceptable volume. The following rules make up our basic sound policy

   1. All large \ medium scale sound equipment must be registered prior to the event as a theme camp, art installation or art car.
   2. A maximum power amplification of 300 watts is permitted
   3. All sound equipment may not exceed 70db (measured at 20 feet from the source). These levels are subject to change as directed by Black Rock Rangers, Sound Squad, Theme Camp, Art and Art Car Placers. You may be asked to turn your volume down, or completely off. Honor these requests.
   4. In 2019, we will have two approved sound camps.  The sound equipment may not exceed 85db (measured at 20 feet from the source). These levels are subject to change as directed by California City Permitting, Black Rock Rangers, Sound Squad, Theme Camp, Art and Art Car Placers. You may be asked to turn your volume down, or completely off. Honor these requests.  
   5. Bass travels, so all sub-woofers are to be turned off at 10pm Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. They can be turned back on at 8am.  All sub-woofers must be placed on pallets.  
   6. You must be off premise by 2pm on Sunday.
   7. Neighbors should talk to one another when sound becomes problem and try to resolve the issue through direct communication.

With these actions you should be able to handle all of your own sound issues and there will be no need for Staff to get involved.

Additional Notes and Considerations

   • Decibel levels are indicated as a guideline
   • The BEquinox Staff will be using a professional dB meter for accuracy and will be enforcing that meter reading.
   • All dB levels refer to maximum potential DBA. The important thing here is the impact of the sound itself. The numbers (dB) are guidelines and the measurement your sound is having.
   • Bigger is not necessarily better. A well engineered and well tuned sound system can create a high quality experience for those nearby without blasting out others.
   • Point your speakers inward and downward so your sound is directed on those in your camp and minimizing how far the sound travels. We may ask you point them in a specific direction so as to avoid off-site sound spill.
   • Any complaints about excessive sound will be addressed to the BEquinox Staff 

Sound Complaints If you believe your neighbor's sound is too loud and you are not able to effectively negotiate a solution, you may report this to a BEquinox Staff member.

A sound complaint should contain:

   1. The exact SOURCE of the sound. (Vague reports will result in ineffective action).
   2. The exact TIME of the disturbance. (Vague reports will result in ineffective action).  Please report problems when they happen if possible. Reports filed the following day can still be useful with persistent problems.

We will not take action on issues of taste, content, or what is art. Concerns about excessive sound can result in:

   • Volume check and mediation between camps.
   • Volume check and a final warning on complaints.
   • The disabling of sound equipment entirely.
   • Failure to comply with volume requests will be grounds for removal from the event.

VEHICLE SOUND POLICY The DMV has developed a basic sound policy to help Mutant Vehicles owners use their sound to the best benefit of the community. There will also be additional questions regarding sound upon registration of your Mutant Vehicle. In addition to all the basic sound policies above, vehicles must comply with these addition rules

   • Point your speakers inward and downward so your sound is directed on those on your vehicle and minimizing how far the sound travels.
   • All sound should be turned down as you pass the permanent residents on your way to the effigy site.
   • The vehicle owner (registrant) is responsible for all aspects of the vehicle, including the use of sound systems. Rogue DJs are not an excuse for your vehicle getting complaints.

Mutant vehicle sound systems can be classified into three levels.

   • Level 1: Normal car stereo / average living room (under 90 db at 30 ft)
   • Level 2: Dance Club or Theatre (90db and up at under 100ft)
   • Level 3: Large Dance Club, Arena, Stadium (100db or more at 100ft or more)

Vehicles with Level 1 & Level 2 systems may not play at high volume at BEquinox. These vehicles will be held under the same sound policy as a sound camp not to exceed 70 decibels, when measured at 20 feet from the source and must be mindful of your volume and surroundings, especially in quieter areas in the city or later at night and turn it down when appropriate. Vehicles with Level 3 systems are not permitted at BEquinox

See - Sound Policy

FreezerBurn Texas

Sound camps fill a special place at burns, but with that fun comes responsibility. In case of emergency, theme camps may be asked to assist with emergency broadcasting. Camp Leads must ensure their camp follows these rules, which may become stricter, at the Board’s discretion, during the event. • 6am to noon: quiet hours, no amplified sound • Noon to 6am: all sound must be under 85 decibels 50 feet from the source. Roving Sound Marshals will monitor sound levels. Be respectful and follow their instructions. A three-strike rule will be in effect. Survival Guide 2019


Sound Restrictions: Please keep your neighbors in mind. Sound from any camp must not disrupt adjacent camps. Sound systems in your camp must be held to reasonable levels.

Sound systems are limited to certain areas of our event and must be registered in advance as a theme camp.

Sound systems may be monitored for excessive decibel levels and may need to be turned-down.

If sound problems continue after a warning the power source or audio equipment will be removed for the duration of the event.

See- Survival Guide


All camps with amplified sound (larger than a Bluetooth speaker) must register with the event during theme camp registration.

We are strong supporters of Civic Responsibility and want to be good temporary residents of the community we are visiting. We have worked hard with our neighbours to come up with clear rules about the level of sound during certain hours of the event and we ask that you help us to keep our impact on the surrounding area to a minimum. While these are the rules we are laying out, you may be asked to turn sound down or off at any time by our Sound Team. This is not to ruin the fun, but will be to preserve our relationship with our neighbours and ensure the ability for Hyperborea to continue in future years. We don’t enjoy asking you to turn it down either, so please work with us if we ask.

Quiet Hours: Hyperborea begins Thursday at noon and lasts until Monday at noon.

All subwoofers must be turned off between the hours of:

11 pm and 10 am on Thursday and Sunday 2 am and 10 am on Friday and Saturday. The goal of these quiet hours is “sound systems equivalent to a personal Bluetooth type speaker”. In order to enforce this in a measurable manner, this means all sound equipment must be kept below 80dBC at 10 meters during quiet hours.

At all other times, not specified in this policy, amplified sound must be kept below 100 dBC at 10 meters.

Sound Rules for Each Day of the Event: Amplified sound is not permitted before the event starts or after the event ends.

Tuesday and Wednesday (early arrival) & Monday afternoon No amplified sound Systems are off. No Exceptions Thursday Starting at 12 pm, sound systems on at an 80dBC at 10 meters and subs can be turned on. At 11 pm l sound systems can be at or below 80dBC at 10 meters and all subs must be turned off. Friday & Saturday Subs back on at 10 am. At 2 am all sound systems can be at or below 80dBC at 10 meters and subs off. Sunday Subs back on at 10am. At 11 pm all sound systems can be at or below 80dBC at 10 meters and all subs off. Monday No amplified sound after 12 pm Systems are off. No Exceptions Permits and Enforcement: All camps with amplified sound (larger than a Bluetooth speaker) must register with the event during theme camp registration. All sound systems will be issued a permit.

We will have volunteers with dB meters monitoring sound levels and responding to complaints; infractions of this policy will be marked on the sound system’s permit.

Infractions may result in a temporary shutdown of a sound system, and multiple infractions will result in a sound system being permanently turned off for the remainder of the event.

Regardless of sound levels, Hyperborea Sound Team requests to turn a system down or off are final and may be due to any number of factors. Our primary concern is ensuring the ongoing ability for the event to operate and that may mean no sound systems. Please work with us if we request something, regardless of what devices or level of experience you may have.

External Sound Complaints: In order to be fair to everyone, all camps may need to turn down or possibly cease amplified music until further notice.

Depending on the severity of the complain, this could last for the evening or the rest of the event. Ideally, we do not want to get their attention in the first place.

We really need to avoid this happening, sound complaints are the most likely incident to prevent our event from happening again.

Monitor Your Sound Volume: Other events have found the sound monitoring app, SPLnFFT Noise Meter (for iOS) to be extremely accurate. To keep infractions minimized, we highly recommend you use this app or a proper decibel reader to manage your own sound. If your sound meter has an option for a weighting, use “C weighting” as this will most accurately account for the bass on your system and is what we will be using to monitor your system.

These rules are subject to change depending on site conditions.

If anything major changes, we will be sending the updates out to registered Theme Camps only and through the appropriate channels. Check this page often.

Please ask the Sound Team if you have any questions!

email: Sound Policy


Objective To outline policy, rules and guidelines for the operation of amplified sound within the Festival so that Kiwiburn complies with the Resource Consent conditions As an aid for Kiwiburn Town Planners and to act as a guideline for the placement of camps in the most efficient manner for the purposes of minimising negative sound dispersion both within and outside the festival grounds To demonstrate that Kiwiburn is responding to larger community concerns around sound management at and adapting to address these concerns. Scope All amplified sound systems Locations where amplified sound systems can operate Times when amplified sound systems can be used The conditions of use for amplified sound systems. Definition of amplified sound

Kiwiburn delineates between two types of amplified sound systems:

Small systems. Any amplified sound device with less than 800w RMS total (where the primary speakers are <= one pair of 12” drivers. (Generally less than 400W per channel amps) Large Systems. All other amplified sound systems. Kiwiburn reserves the right to impose any restrictions for any reason on any sound system operating on the Paddock. Only the on duty Site Manager or Operations Manager may invoke this right. And only when it is believed the offending sound system is in breach of of our Resource Consent conditions and or causing unreasonable disturbance in quiet camping areas.

Kiwiburn operates according to an Operational Noise Management Plan (ONMP) as a condition of our Resource Consent from the council. One of the conditions is the maximum SPL output levels from the festival during certain times of the day. This will be monitored in real time by the Site Manager.

Daytime, 7am – 10pm: SPL not to exceed 48 Db A-weighted average over a five minute period at the boundary with neighbouring properties.

Night time, 10pm – 7am: SPL not to exceed 37 Db A-weighted average over a five minute period at the boundary with neighbouring properties and not to exceed 65Db A-weighted Max volume.

Registration All sound systems must be registered via the Kiwiburn Theme Camp form. Small systems need to be registered by 30 November 2019. So long as there are no complaints from neighbours, they are not subject to regulation; the only restriction is that they are not to be used in the forest or down by the river without explicit consent from the Event Manager.

Large Systems must be registered by 30 November 2019, with specifics on the system provided by 10 January 2020 and are subject to the restrictions outlined in this document.

Unregistered large sound systems will not be allowed to be set up on site.

Locations where amplified sound can be used Once Theme Camps have registered, the Town Planners and Sound Consultant will be in touch to work out where the best placement is for each camp/system. Large Sound Camps will be located around the perimeter of the Effigy field, while small sound systems will be scattered throughout upper paddock/general camping. The bottom paddock is reserved for quiet camping.

Small systems will be placed by the Town Planners upon arrival. Systems should be placed at a slight angle to each other so that the lines of sound dispersion do not overlap on each others dancefloors. At all times, no amplified sound is to be pointed in an easterly direction.

Camps with large amplified sound systems must report to site office on arrival and wait for Town Planners and the Sound Consultant to discuss placement of sound systems within your designated location.

Speaker systems should be placed with a minimum 5 degree downwards angle to limit sound dispersion.

Restricted times of operation / quiet times Kiwiburn is introducing a series of quiet times each day where large systems are not to be operational. This is not total silence, but a reduced level of noise. Small systems can still operate at a reasonable level, and large systems can reduce the number of speakers playing to less than 800w if they wish to continue playing as well.[/text_output]

Quiet Time Begins Quiet Time Ends Anytime Before Festival Begins 10pm 9am Wed night/Thurs morn 3am 10am Thurs night/Fri morn 3am 10am Fri night/Sat morn 4am 10am Saturday 6pm til Effigy burn 4am 10am Sunday 4pm til Temple burn 2am End of festivalOutside of these times, Sound Camps are required to keep within ONMP levels and obey all instructions from the duty Site Manager or their representatives at all times during the festival. It is hoped that large Sound Camps will coordinate so each camp has a designated party time rather than all systems playing at once. Theme Camp Sound Representative During operation each camp must designate to the Site Manager one person over the age of 18 for each night of operation (can be a different person each night) who is the contact person responsible for the operation of the sound system. This person must remain around camp and act as liaison for sound related issues between their camp and Kiwiburn management.

Site and Operations Managers will meet with Theme Camp Sound Representatives during the day on Wednesday prior to a festival-wide sound check, starting with each large sound system separately to set approximate system levels then measuring total noise levels of all camps continuously playing.

Sound pressure levels will be monitored in real time throughout the festival. Testing these levels throughly on Wednesday night will allow us to optimise sound systems, with the aim of avoiding noise complaints later in the festival. If required this person will be responsible for complying with any instructions issued by the duty Site Manager. This includes turning down/off the sound system if requested.

Civic Responsibility Anyone using a sound system should consider their Civic Responsibility (one of the Ten Guiding Principles) to Kiwiburn, as well as to other participants, and adjust volume levels accordingly. If more people are negatively affected than are enjoying your music – turn it down or turn it off.

Overview Process Off site:

Visit and fill out the Theme Camp registration form detailing the total rms output of your system in watts, speaker and amplifier setup of each rig that is being brought onto to the Paddock and how you are intending to use it. (eg. DJs, live music, outdoor cinema) Town Planners and the designated Sound Consultant will contact you to find out more information about your systems and discuss placement. Each Theme Camp/sound system will then be issued a permit (possibly with attached conditions of use) to bring their sound system to the Paddock. On site:

Each Sound Camp will be placed in accordance to Town Planning/Operations Manager’s instructions, and orientation of the sound systems will be subject to a discussion with the Kiwiburn Sound Consultant. All Sound Camps must supply a roster of nominated contact persons (Sound Representatives) to act as a camp liaison for each night of operation. This roster shall be supplied to the site office upon arrival at the festival and clearly displayed in your own camp. The nominated person shall be responsible for enacting all instructions from Kiwiburn management or their representative. They will need to stay around their camp at all times said camp is in operation. If you are unable to be located within 10 minutes of the Kiwiburn representative requesting your presence, your system may be shut down until you are located. On Wednesday afternoon, Sound Representatives and Site/Operations Management will meet to conduct a sound check to determine a good operating level that we can run at night. On Wednesday night we will be testing overall sound system levels to make sure systems are set to acceptable volumes for the rest of the festival. Sound pressure levels will be monitored continuously throughout the Festival to ensure we are within our ONMP levels. If a breach is detected, the duty Site Manager will locate the cause and ask the Sound Camp to reduce their volume.

See - Sound Policy



Sound and music will be a big part of Resonance. You’ll get the chance to hear all kinds of different music and ambient sounds, all day and all night. There will be drummers and drumming groups at Resonance. Bring your own drum and join in – you don’t have to be a pro.

Got a boombox? No problem. Play that funky music. If you are really close to other campsites you should check to see that your volume is reasonable next door. While the property may be very secluded, be mindful that we are not immune to noise complaints. If Reso Rangers or Sound Marshalls request you turn down your music, please do so immediately.

If you do not coordinate your sound camp setup with the event planners and show up at the front gate with an amplified system in tow, you will not be allowed to use it. You can enter and not use it, or leave without refund. Resonance does not “book” musical acts – no one is paid, no one gets a comp ticket. Everyone attending Resonance is a participant, donating their time, equipment and talent for the enjoyment of all.

There is no flyering or promoting at Resonance. You’re welcome to talk to people about your events as you meet them but get their e-mail and send them information later. You may give out free CDs of your music with your e-mail address as a gifts though. The emphasis is on making friends, not building a consumer base.

Sound We all love sound camps and we all love dancing until the wee hours of the morning!

But there are a few rules Sound Camps need to abide by.


There will be Sound Marshalls taking decibel reading through out the weekend. Here are the acceptable levels.

10 AM to Midnight – 110dB

Midnight to 3:00 AM – 100dB

3 AM – 10:00 AM – 85dB

If asked by a Board Member, Sound Marshall or Ranger to turn down the music at your camp, you must do so immediately.

You will be given two warning to turn down your sound without consequence.

If your camp has to be approached a third time, your sound camp will be shut down until the next day at 8 PM.

If your camp gets shut down for breaking sound limits repeatedly, you sound will be shut down for the remainder of the event. See - Survival Guide


SOAK is held on acoustically challenging terrain. The shape of the valley and our proximity to the community of Tygh Valley can funnel sound, both within and outside of the event boundaries, with negative consequences for our neighbors. Sound can easily overwhelm a space, and participants cannot simply opt out as they can with other art forms. Additionally, bass travels multi-directionally and cannot be effectively contained within camp structures. SOAK is simultaneously dedicated to radical self-expression and to cultivating community. We must be considerate to participants as well as to local wildlife and the surrounding residents.

All participants must abide by this policy. If you believe a participant is not following the policy, bring your concerns to SOAK Rangers, who can be identified by their khaki or olive green clothes and lanyards. SOAK Rangers and SOAK Operations will investigate complaints about excessive sound, or sound that is outside of designated hours. Failure to respond appropriately to complaints raised by SOAK officials may result in one or more of the following actions:

volume check by SOAK Operations mediation between camps and/or individuals the loss of amplified sound privileges ejection from the event This policy applies to every individual, group, instrument and device producing sound before and during the event:

Event-wide “Quiet Hours” are 6 am-10 am every day. During this time, keep all sound at a conversational level so people can sleep. SOAK has 3 sound zones (These are outlined on the placement map for 2020): Zone 1: No sound above a conversational level allowed from midnight-10 am Zone 2: No sound above a conversational level allowed from 3 am-10 am Zone 3: Sub-bass must be turned off or significantly reduced at 3 am, no sound above a conversational level allowed from 6 am-10 am All camps in all zones must respect Quiet Hours. Your camp is your responsibility. Ensure everyone creating sound within your camp or from mobile vehicles is aware of this policy and agrees to abide by it. Everyone (camps and individuals) with amplified sound systems must bring a functional sound meter. Sound systems of 300 watts or more must be pre-registered with SOAK. A representative for the sound system must attend orientation (or speak to an event Producer directly) to ensure all policies are understood and agreed. All speakers must be pointed inward toward the interior of your own camp or dance area rather than outward toward the event. Dominate your own space, not the spaces of others. As a general guideline, sound should never exceed 85 decibels when measured at 50 feet from the source. Due to the event site’s physical attributes, sound cannot be uniformly measured; therefore, measurements alone do not constitute reliable or clear indicators of a policy violation. Participant input and observations by SOAK Rangers and SOAK Operations may be the determining factors for sound violations, in addition to (or in spite of) meter readings. Be a good neighbor by reflecting the size of the audience and time of day. For example, if the dance floor is nearly empty at 5 am, bring your levels down. SOAK Rangers or SOAK Operations may ask you to adjust or turn down your sound during ceremonial burns in order to honor the sound plans of the ceremony designers. SOAK Rangers or SOAK Operations may ask you to adjust or turn down your sound at any time if there are multiple complaints. NEW FOR 2020 – Starting at midnight each evening, SOAK Operations will do a sound check at Gate. If your sound can be clearly heard at Gate, you will be instructed to lower your volume. Resolving conflicts

Sound is subjective; sound camps and individuals may be negatively affecting the experience of others without realizing it.

If you’re in a sound camp, get to know your neighbors and share your sound schedule with them. Talk about how you can work together rather than compete for sonic space. Make sure your neighbors know who’s ‘in charge’ at your camp, so they know who to talk to if they have concerns. If you’re concerned about sound, start by talking to the camp or individual responsible and try to resolve the issue through direct communication. If you’ve already spoken to someone and can’t find a compromise, contact SOAK Rangers for assistance. They can be identified by their khaki or olive green clothes and their lanyards.

SOAK Sound Policy