Keep That Noise Down

Blue Balls director Urs Leierer expects his Swiss event will be hit with another fine after officials from the Lucerne, Switzerland, local authority informed him that Jeff Beck played too loud at this year’s festival.

“For 2006, I think I’ll book Motorhead,” he told Pollstar last December, after the local canton levied a 1,500 Swiss Franc (US$1,155) charge because Iggy Pop had exceeded noise limits at last year’s gathering.

“Motorhead wasn’t available at the right time but it seems that I didn’t need them anyway,” Leierer explained, clearly irked that one act playing a decibel or two above the limit is attracting so much local media attention.

While the local councillors were reaching for their earplugs again and the local journalists had Leierer continually reaching for the phone, the 100,000-capacity, week-long event July 21-29 was doing more than 90 percent business. Crowds packed the outside stage area at the water’s edge and the 1,500-seat and 1,000-standing capacity rooms in the city’s Convention Centre.

“This is a very quiet area and it only takes one act to play a shade too loud and it becomes a big issue, getting even more attention than the success of the event.”

The other acts helping to raise the roof at the 14th annual Blue Balls Festival, generally regarded as the Montreux Jazz of the German-speaking region, included Billy Idol, Randy Newman, Gary Moore, Tracy Chapman, and Joe Jackson.

– John Gammon