The annual experimental music and culture festival Welcome to the Village will get underway on Thursday, albeit with some stipulations: amplified musical performances cannot go on past midnight.
The changes for the festival are the result of several law suits that were recently heard in court. A judge ruled that musical performances using amplifiers would not be permitted past midnight (as opposed to going on until 1 a.m.) and noise levels at the festival will be assessed based on the number of decibels being produced on stage as opposed to noise impact on the exterior walls of nearby homes.
Ivo van der Meer, a lawyer representing the festival organisers, says that the new noise measurement approach is arbitrary and flawed. “The noise levels depend on a lot of different things, from the direction of the wind to weather conditions. Ruben Bosch, the general director of Welcome to the Village, told the Leeuwarder Courant that having to go acoustic an hour earlier than expected could mean thousands fewer euros being spent at the festival. Acoustic acts can keep on playing past midnight., and other small-scale entertainment will be held on the grounds throughout the night.
Last summer, organisers of the innovative festival, which has been held at De Groene Ster in Leeuwarden since 2013, were caught off guard when they were told to pull the plug after reportedly violated local noise ordinances. The limitations imposed on the festival, along with other music and cultural events in Leeuwarden, have led some organisers to consider relocating outside of the city
The festival, which is one of many taking place across the north this summer, serves as a testing ground for testing out green technology and inventions, and this year is no exception. Part of the festival is the DORP Innovation Lab, and technological innovations that will be featured over the weekend are a food truck that will demonstrate how important bodily waste is to the food chain and a special chewing gum recycling device. Companies and initiatives across the province of Friesland have prioritised creating circular economies that eliminate waste in recent years.
Welcome to the Village was the only Dutch festival nominated for a European Festival Association award this year, which recognises events for their artistic excellence and impact on local culture.