Connect Festival has curfew extension refused

Featured image credit: Peter Cordes on Unsplash

Connect Festival organisers have been refused permission for acts to play later, after this year’s edition in Edinburgh (pictured) garnered more noise complaints than any other event. 

The festival is presented by DF Concerts and is set to take place August 25 – 27 next year, in the grounds of the Royal Highland Centre. 

City of Edinburgh Council’s existing rules state that outdoor concerts should finish by 10:30pm. However, organisers have asked for acts to be allowed on stage until 11pm when the festival returns in August next year. 

Organisers said that a half-hour extension would make a difference to the audience, the artists, the long-term success of the festival and bring a boost to ticket sales. 

Councillors denied the request because of concerns over the impact of residents living nearby, as there were a high number of complaints during the festival this years. 

Connect had previously been hosted at Inveraray Castle in Argyll in 2007 and 2008, and has been brought back by DF Concerts and moved to the Scottish capital. This year saw artists such as Idles, The Chemical Brothers, The National and Mogwai perform. 

Alongside the main festival, four standalone ‘Connect Presents’ concerts are also planned  between August 29 and September 2, which will include a performance from The Killers. 

As reported by STV, Geoff Ellis, head of DF Concerts, told the licensing board earlier this week: “10.30pm is a very restrictive time to finish for any concert, to the best of my knowledge there is nowhere else in the UK that doesn’t have 11pm as a standard curfew.

“The city centre of Glasgow is 11pm, city centre of Dundee is 11pm – as far as I know every city in the UK is 11pm except from Edinburgh. I think when you’re running a festival as well you want as many acts on as possible and for those acts to play a long a set as possible and you can’t really open a lot earlier to get people in.”

Ellis added that it could be a struggle to entice some big acts because of the earlier curfew, making other venues, including those in Glasgow for instance, look more attractive. 

He added: “We want to grow the attendance, we want people to feel that it’s a real festival, but again when they’re having to go home at half 10 it doesn’t feel like a music festival and it’s hindering ticket sales as well.”

However, council officer Dermot Connolly said: “Outdoor music events such as Connect have the potential to cause significant amounts of disturbance to nearby residents. This has been the case on a number of occasions in the past. One of the main ways to allow events such as this to go ahead whilst maintaining protection for residents is to use noise controls and time limits as part of the licence conditions.

“Extending the curfew to 11pm significantly runs the risk of disturbing residents further and generating more complaints about the event and venue.”