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Capital Sound and MLA take on big three Hungarian Festivals

The Volt Festival, Balaton Sound Festival and the Sziget Festival used Martin Audio equipment

Capital Sound’s busy summer festival schedule includes annual visits to Hungary, where they provide technical infrastructure for the Sziget Organisation at three major gatherings.

For several years they have serviced the back-to-back four day Volt rock festival in Sopron, before trucking the equipment two and a half hours south east from the Austrian border to Balaton Sound, which takes place on the beach of Zamárdi over five days.

Martin Audio’s MLA system has been used at these two festivals and in 2014 the organisers were keen to try the system out on their own flagship event: the Sziget Festival.

With all three of the festivals growing exponentially, Capital Sound general manager Paul Timmins says that delivering bespoke sound designs that take into account the peculiarities of the different site dimensions and terrains – all within a tight budget – presents a real challenge.

This year he enlisted the services of Polish MLA partner Muśnicki Sound Systems, who provided their MLA System 36.

Says Timmins: “Given the logistics, and the different deployments required for each site, we always need to be very clever with truck space. This is a two-truck operation but for budget reasons we can only bring one from the UK, containing all the control and a lot of the speakers. It’s therefore great to be able to source the shortfall of equipment from within Eastern Europe with another Martin Audio partner – and Maciej [Muśnicki] and his team were fantastic.”

The Volt Festival headliners included Iron Maiden, The Prodigy, Wiz Khalifa, Axwell^Ingrosso, Slayer, Damien Rice, Paul Kalkbrenner and Sigma. for the main stage PA Capital fielded 17 MLA plus an MLD Downfill on each wing and for side hangs eight MLA stage left, and five on the facing flank.

In addition, 30 MLX subs were set in a spaced cardioid array – a pattern increasingly adopted by Capital where greater LF punch is required.

Meanwhile, the 10th Balaton Sound Festival recorded 157,000 visitors, breaking all records for the five-day beach party. Timmins set out the challenges: “This is a much a wider site – more like a rectangular football pitch – and around 90m from the stage to the edge of the lake. Because of the arty nature of the stage, there are limitations on weight loading – so it is fortunate that MLA is not overly heavy.”

For the main hangs, Capital rigged 13 MLA and an MLD Downfill on each side, with eight further MLA outfilling on each flank. They deployed the same 30 MLX (again in spaced cardioid pattern but without the centre WS218X). A further five MLA were set across the stage for front fills.

Meanwhile, this year almost half a million people attended the ‘Island of Freedom” Sziget Festival, which saw headliners the Chemical Brothers, Rihanna, David Guetta, Muse, SIA, Manu Chao La Ventura and Hardwell.

This time the main hangs consisted of 17 x MLA and an MLD Downfill on each side, with nine MLA and an MLD Downfill providing side hangs. Subwoofers consisted of 40 MLX in a spaced array comprising six stacks of three on each side of two stacks of two MLA – all evenly spaces across the front. Front fills consisted of 20 x W8LM Mini Line Array.

In addition, there were four separate delay points using a total of 32 x MLA and four MLD Downfills, with LF extension on the delays provided by 16 x WS218X across all four towers in a cardioid design. Two further shadow delays were set behind the mix tower, either side of the video screen, with four MLA Compact in each.

Timmins says: “Although Hungarian festivals tend not to have SPL measured, Sziget epitomises the perfect sound level, running at 100-103dB. And those levels present no problems with offsite thresholds for a system such as MLA.”

Picture: The Sziget Festival. Photo credit: Rockstar