Foo Fighters v Fun Fighters

Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Picture By: Arthur Allison.
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Some people appear to have very little to worry them.

This fact was proven yet again by a story on the BBC NI news site earlier in the week. It was the morning after the first night of Tennants Vital in Belfast. The massively successful gig saw giants of international rock like the Foo Fighters, Stone Roses and Florence and the Machine take to the stage at Boucher Playing Fields.

Oh, that Derry would get a proper grown-up concert like that.

Many thousands of revellers turned out in uncertain conditions for the events on Tuesday and Wednesday. Sadly, I wasn’t one of them. I’d already caught the Stone Roses at their comeback gig in Manchester’s Heaton Park in July so I shouldn’t complain. Mind you, seems to be a week for complaining.

It’s probably fair to say the outdoor gigs were the biggest Belfast would have seen in a while - the names worthy of a place on any Glastonbury line-up. All in, it was a big coup for the organisers.

So with the papers full of good news (we’re always being told we don’t do that enough) and the festival down as another positive example of how the North is moving on, it seemed it was a win-win for the economy, music fans and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board.

Enter the politicians.

Well - enter one politician to be precise - in the form of the SDLP’s Claire Hanna.

Colr. Hanna received calls from annoyed constituents who said the music was too loud.

“It was exceptionally loud. I welcome that we have concerts of this level... but we do have to balance it with the right of people to enjoy a quiet night at home,” she said.

That’s a fair enough point, but let’s face it. This is not a group of party animals who’ve moved in next door and are playing music til 4am every night of the week. This is a yearly event. Once a year. Two nights out of 365. That’s it.

Colr. Hanna went on to say: “I understand that the noise carried partly because it was a very still and cloudless night.”

Aside from the commentary on the speed of sound there’s the implication that had it been rained out and more storm-like conditions, the handful of complainants would have had a much nicer evening in the comfort of their front rooms while the thousands of concert-goers got soaked through.

Eileen Fee, who lives about a mile away from the concert venue in Osborne Park, Belfast, said it was so loud the “windows shook”.

“I just thought I was at the concert, that’s how loud it was. It was really impossible to do anything else at home,” she said.

“It was just a really dreadful situation. I’m not against the concert but there is an acceptable level of noise.”

There were those on Facebook and Twitter who claimed they’d heard the music from 15 miles away, but clearly they fall into the deluded camp.

So it was a really dreadful situation - apparently.

Probably not.

A really dreadful situation is living below neighbours who insist on having a party every night of the week. I lived in one lovely apartment until the noise from those above me got so bad that at one point the police were called. In the end, I moved.

I’ve also lived beside people who let their dogs go hungry and bark and cry seven nights a week. A full night’s sleep was a luxury back then.


So the question for me, and for most reasonably- minded people, given that the Foo Fighters aren’t taking up permanent residence at Boucher Playing Fields, must be - would putting up with it for two nights be a lot to ask?

The people who took the time to complain should count themselves lucky if that’s the worst thing they have to worry them.