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Kiwiburn Sound Policy 2021 (2023 TBA)


To outline policy, rules and guidelines for the operation of amplified sound within the event so that Kiwiburn complies with its resource consent conditions as approved by the Rangitikei District Council. (Resource Consent 180031A). 

To act as a guideline for the placement of sound systems in the most efficient manner for the purposes of minimising negative sound dispersion both within and outside the event grounds.  

To demonstrate that Kiwiburn is responding to larger community concerns around sound management at and adapting to address these concerns.


  • 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:

  1. 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)
  2. 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.

Party time, 10am – 3am: SPL not to exceed 48 Db A-weighted average over a five minute period at the boundary with neighbouring properties.

Quiet time, 3am – 10am: 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 Process

All sound systems must be registered via the Kiwiburn Theme Camp Registrations webpage so that our Sound Consultant can place them appropriately. No sound systems will be used in the forest or down by the river, to help us stay within our Resource Consent requirements. 

Large Systems must be registered by 30 November, with specifics on the system provided by 5 January and are subject to the restrictions outlined in this document. 

Small systems need to be registered by 30 November, which is also the deadline for events. So long as there are no complaints, they are not subject to regulation after placement.

Unregistered 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.

There is to be no amplified sound prior to the event starting on Wednesday. 

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.

Quiet Time Begins Quiet Time Ends
Anytime Before Festival Begins  No amplified sound Wednesday 7am
Wed night/Thurs morn 3am 10am
Thurs night/Fri morn 3am 10am
Fri night/Sat morn 3am 10am
Saturday  6pm til Effigy burn
3am 10am
Sunday  4pm til Temple burn
3am No sound from 7am

Outside 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. The Sound Representative is expected to be sober and locatable within 10 minutes of Site Management arriving to deal with a complaint. 

Rosters must be provided to the Event Manager prior to the event.

Site Manager, Sound Team, and Event Manager will meet with Theme Camp Sound Representatives during the day on Wednesday prior to an event-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 event. Testing these levels throughly on Wednesday night will allow us to optimise sound systems, with the aim of avoiding noise complaints later in the event. If required, the Sound Representative 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.


Process Off site:

  1. 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)
  2. Town Planners and the designated Sound Consultant will contact you to find out more information about your systems and discuss placement.
  3. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
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