Sound Check Symposium

Live Music in the Sustainable City

In April 2015, RMIT University (Melbourne) hosted the first Sound Check Symposium – Live Music in the Sustainable City.


Attendees included academics, policy makers and members of the live music industry (musicians, venues, sound hire companies, managers and festival organisers) who came together to discuss best practices, how state regulations impact on sound levels and how to sustain our live music industry within this framework.

HEARsmart was delighted to be one of five groups talking at the symposium (others included Marshall Day Acoustics, Music Advocacy and HuonLabs), and we later participated in a round table session too. Discussion ranged from sustainable cities to healthy aging and looked to find synergy in actions dealing with noise pollution on one hand and hearing damage on the other.


Jos Mulder, a researcher from Murdoch University in Perth organised the event with the support of a CAESIE (Connecting Australian European Science and Innovation Excellence) priming grant. He enthusiastically brought together different stakeholders to share experiences and best practices – he also invited international guest speaker Marcel Kok from dBcontrol, an expert in sound level measurements at live music events from Holland.

Jos commented that “although not surprising, the foremost aspect that emerged from the meeting was the need to facilitate meticulous stakeholder communication, before and during an event – but also in the evaluation or development of regulations and policies. Good communication may not prevent noise pollution and risky sound levels per se, but it will allow stakeholders to find the best possible compromises between the different desired outcomes. Good compromises avoid concerts that are unnecessarily loud, alleviating noise issues for neighbours and hearing damage risk. Understanding that every concert is different – understanding the process of stakeholder communication is important time and time and again in order to optimize the compromises for each event.”

HEARsmart is keen to work with Jos and others from the symposium on future projects to evaluate how venues deal with noise regulations currently in place and how they engage with stakeholders. Our ultimate aim is to achieve a model of best practice that can be implemented in live music venues across Australia.


Jeff Hannam
Jos Mulder (Murdoch)
Jon Perring
City of Melbourne
Gillian Lee – Marshall Day Acoustics
Kat Hope

10th of April, 2015