Columbia, MD (September 22, 2006)–Radio station festivals are not dead–even when the stations are. WHFS has been one of the best-known station fests around for more than 15 years, but while the station recently converted to a Latin format, its namesake alternative music festival, HFStival, lives on. This year’s edition, held across two days at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD featured Kanye West, The Strokes, Counting Crows, Dashboard Confessional, Panic! At the Disco, Coheed and Cambria, Joan Jett, OK Go, Cypress Hill, All Time Low and more than 50 other acts
Mike Scarfe and his company, MHA Audio, had already worked the event for over a decade, but had never been responsible for all aspects of the production. This year, the company took on not only the two side stages that it had run in the past, but the main stage as well.
Working in the Merriweather meant MHA had its work cut out for it: “The seats are steeper than the newer amphitheaters that have a gentler rake to them. Prior to this event, we had used the Martin WSX subs ground-stacked there, and regardless of the configuration, we couldn’t evenly cover the whole seated area. The engineers who were mixing halfway up the seats were overdriving the subs and killing the people down in the front. I’d been aware of this for some time and thought that flying the subs was the solution. So we purchased 16 Martin Audio W8LS fly subs, using eight a side and flew the subs alongside the W8L line arrays instead of ground-stacking them”. It worked fantastically well. Not only did it get the low end up to the top, as we had hoped, but it also added a cohesive nature to the whole sound. “
In addition to the ten Martin W8L enclosures, and eight W8LS subwoofers per side, and the 12 WSX subs stacked in the pit, the main stage lineup consisted of four additional flown W8LCs per side for the loge, with four W8Cs and two W8LMs for front fill. All speakers were powered with Martin MA4.2s amplifiers and controlled via an XTA DP226 Speaker Management System with AudioCore. Control for the main stage FOH consisted of a Midas XL4/48 mixing console, Yamaha PM5D-RH mixing console, and an 8-channel TC Electronic EQ Station.
The main stage monitor system included 16 Martin LE 700 bi-amped wedge monitors, eight MHA M6 speaker enclosures for side fills, two Blackline 2X18″ subs and an LE12J for drum fill, Yamaha PM4000M/52-channel and PM5D-RH mixing consoles, a 16-channel TC Electronic EQ Station, BSS quad gates and compressor/limiters, and Yamaha SPX990 digital effects.
The B stage lineup included eight Martin W8LCs and six WSX subs per side, with two W8Cs a side for front fill and 12 Martin LE12J stage monitors. A half-dozen Martin W8LC and six Blackline 2X18″ subs per side handled the brunt of the effort on the smaller local stage, with two W8Cs for front fill and eight LE12J wedge monitors.
In addition to Scarfe who supervised the main stage and the engineers for each band, the crew for the event included on the main stage, Zane Marshall (FOH Engineer/Systems Tech.), David Colella and Mark Bradley (Monitor Engineers), Keith Suffecool and Bruce Coffman (Stage Patchmasters). For the B Stage, Robert Bowers (FOH Engineer/Systems Tech), Mike Moss (Monitor Engineer) and Ziggy Lippard (Stage Tech/Patchmaster). Local stage crew included Vince Steed (FOH Engineer/Systems Tech), Chris Huffman (Monitor Engineer) and James Eastham (Stage Tech/Patchmaster)
Asked about the reaction to the Martin Audio lineup, especially the flown W8LS subs, Scarfe added, “The reaction was fantastic. We had acts that were already using Martin Audio like Kanye West, The Strokes and Dashboard Confessional. The increased acceptance for the Martin Audio product is amazing; we’re seeing more and more riders every month specifying Martin. Three years ago you wouldn’t have seen Martin on a rider, unless it was an English act coming over to tour the U.S.; now when acts have a positive experience with Martin Audio, they add it to their rider.”