Belfast Telegraph

U2 fined over noisy rehearsals in Barcelona

By Ken Sweeney

U2 have been fined for making too much noise during rehearsals for the start of their current world tour.



Doctor Music, the group's promoter in Spain, was forced to pay €18,000 after city chiefs in Barcelona ruled that U2 had exceeded noise limits.



It follows even stiffer fines imposed against the band that were imposed by Dublin City Council last year when they played at Croke Park.



In Spain, U2 breached rehearsal timetables as they prepared for the start of their 360 Degree tour in the Catalan capital in June of last year.



Such was the din made by the group that police dealt with dozens of complaints from people living near Barcelona FC's Nou Camp stadium in the days leading up to the concerts on June 30 and July 2.



Barcelona City Hall said U2 had played too long and too loudly during the rehearsals.



A spokeswoman said the group had been penalised for rehearsing until midnight.



That was two hours over the scheduled time -- and at sound levels above those set by authorities prior to the concerts.



However, the €18,000 fine will not make much of a dent on the group's fortune, which is said to have been boosted by their 360 Tour.



It netted them $130m (€103m) over the past 12 months. More than than 1.3 million tickets were sold in North America for an average price of $94 each.



This is not the first time that U2 have been fined for turning up the volume. Last year, it was MCD that footed the bill when the band breached noise-level regulations at their homecoming concerts in Croke Park during July.



The company was hit for €36,000 by Dublin City Council after the rockers soared over the barrier 12 times during the three nights in July 2009.



An environmental officer had clocked the band breaching the 75-decibel noise level that had been set by the Environmental Protection Agency.



U2 were fined €3,000 for each of the 12 breaches.



They are not the only ones to have broken the noise barrier at concerts.



In 2008, promoters were hit with penalties after Bruce Springsteen clocked up nine breaches at the RDS and even Boyzone managed to break the barrier at one of their concerts.



Despite the penalties incurred by the band's promoters, U2 are set to return to Spain next month.



But a planned concert in Seville has been delayed by a day due to a strike which will affect public transport and security services.



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