After making its Electrobeach debut in 2018, Funktion-One’s Vero was back on the Main Stage at France’s largest electronic music festival for three sun-drenched days in Port-Barcarès, but before that there were a couple of other events in and around Marseille to take care of – Delta Festival and Night of the DJs at Stade Parsemain in Fos-sur-Mer.
Concept Group, which was the primary audio supplier for all three events, joined forces with Solution One and Think! AV to deliver Funktion-One sound across the board. The Vero system, which was split to service Delta and the Night of the DJs before being deployed in full at Electrobeach, was supplied by Think! AV, while Evo and bass systems from Solution One and Project Sound were deployed elsewhere. Funktion-One founder, John Newsham, who has played a vital role in the design and development of these systems, joined the audio team for the two-week tour of southern France.
After being trucked from Think! AV’s HQ in the Netherlands, the Vero system was split and ready for load-in at both Marseille locations on Wednesday, July 3. The Delta system was tipped, hung and configured in just over three hours, leaving the afternoon for load-in at Stade Parsemain. While there was some juggling of personnel for sound checks, the audio crew were together for both events’ live days – Friday at Stade Parsemain and Saturday/Sunday at Delta.
Load-out at Delta commenced on Sunday evening and was completed on Monday. A day off for some was followed by load-in at Electrobeach on Wednesday, July 10, followed by sound checks on Thursday ahead of the festival starting on Friday.
Such a smooth logistical operation was only possible thanks to careful planning. Concept Group’s Paul Meskel, Solution One’s Chris Hawkes, Funktion-One’s Newsham, and Think! AV’s Yannick Hoogerwerf, Larsten van Diest and Niels de Feij worked hard in the weeks prior to ensure the system designs and associated infrastructure were as accurate and effective as possible.
Night of the DJs at Stade Parsemain was organised by the local council and required a simple to implement solution that would provide the 15,000-strong audience with an impactful listening experience.
There were a few challenges to consider, as Hawkes explained: “The system had to be suitable to work with the weight restrictions determined by the available staging equipment. Also, flying points were relatively low at eight metres, but by using Projection Software’s load calculator, a practical working solution was found and implemented onsite.”
The flown 10-enclosures per side system featured three V60 60-degree mid/highs, three V90 90-degree mid/highs, and four V315 mid/bass, together with 12 V221 bass enclosures and two F132A sub-bass speakers – ground-stacked. The system was panned out by 10-degrees to cover all of the stands – 120m wide and 35m downfield at zero elevation, with a gradual rise to 10m at 65m downfield.
Hoogerwerf, Think! AV’s project manager, explained: “We actually got to 100m width with a standard left right system, without any outfills. Vero waltzed right through my expectations and delivered something quite spectacular. Having only two major sources meant that the stadium reflections were kept to a minimum, which resulted in a very clear sounding system throughout the stadium.”
The slightly smaller system on Delta Festival’s main stage comprised left and right hangs of three V60s, three V90s and three V315s, with 12 V221s and two F132As for ground-stacked bass reinforcement. There were also Funktion-One systems on both the beach area and Colosseum stage.
Production manager, Greg Lopez, explained: “For the past 15 years, I’ve been enjoying Funktion-One’s support on numerous projects – particularly from Chris Hawkes. For the fifth anniversary of Delta festival, we wanted to bring festivalgoers a 100 per cent FunktionOne experience on all the stages. This was my ideal choice, but it was also the choice of our clientele who have expressed their preference over other systems previously used.
“My biggest challenge on this project is, in the first place, its geographical location. Being a seaside area, I cannot close much of the site to the public. I am obliged to build my site in phases to leave the beaches accessible to bathers for as long as possible. This involves massive coordination with local authorities while trying to keep our focus on providing the best possible entertainment for the festival goers. The choice of suppliers is therefore vital.”
This placed an even greater emphasis on a speedy setup. Hoogerwerf commented: “The load in at Delta was quite amazing. We got that system in from truck to soundcheck-ready in under 3.5 hours, with a bare minimum of crew. That’s when you can appreciate all factors of a production like this paying off. It also shows that Vero can be very easily toured around with a minimum of crew.”
Discussing the result at Delta, Lopez said: “The system designs of all the stages were perfectly precalculated, which made it possible to have perfect sound pressure with an exceptional quality of sound. In addition, I had no problems with noise complaints, despite there being residences located just 400 metres behind the main stage. I’d say we were right to choose this system.”
The core members of this audio team first worked together last summer on Electrobeach 2018, when the festival – under the technical direction of Jean Denis Rolland – chose Vero for the Main Stage. This made Electrobeach the first festival in France to use Vero – making it a calculated risk, but one that paid off.
Electrobeach 2019 welcomed some of the world’s biggest DJs and producers – including Above & Beyond, David Guetta, Eric Prydz, REZZ and Steve Aoki – and around 130,000 people over three days, across three stages. The largest, by far, was the Main Stage (with an audience area of approx. 65m x 120m) but the Techno Stage and Hardstyle Stage were consistently busy throughout the weekend.
The Vero system on the Main Stage featured 15 speakers per side – five V60s, five V90s and five V315s. A total of 32 V221s were deployed eight wide and four high, together with eight F132As in a single stack for a highly efficient infrabass setup.
Paul Meskel, Concept Group’s project leader, said: “From my point of view, the main challenge was to make it as good as last year, if not better and in less time. We had one day less to set up sound on the Main Stage but thanks to last year’s experience, we optimised the time we had. We improved the coverage of the PA by flying the out-fills, which worked very well. The quality of the shows were even better than last year – especially in terms of the synchronisation with the lighting and video.”
The efficiency of the Vero system, both in terms of set up time/resource and power usage, was demonstrated clearly on the Main Stage system at Electrobeach, with power supplied by only 22 Lab. gruppen PLM20K44 amps. The whole system used 80A peak per phase. In comparison, the Main Stage system in 2017 used around 300A.
Electrobeach technical director, Jean Denis Rolland, commented: “It’s the second time that we have used Vero on the Main Stage. This system is very musical – it breathes. Since the beginning of the festival, we have heard different sound systems. They are good systems but personally I love the sound colour of Vero. With this choice, I have cut the power needs, hanging weight and number of motor points in half, while also having the best quality. It is, for me, the best system I’ve heard.
“All the festival team – Maxime the director, Charlotte the artistic booker, and me – we are very happy and proud to be the first festival in France with the Vero system. The result certainly confirmed our choice as the right one.”
Since last year’s festival, Vero has been further improved by new crossover filter discoveries made during the development of Vero VX.
Hoogerwerf added: “We had plenty of headroom left in the system, while using a relatively low number of boxes. It sounds very friendly and comfortable right across the spectrum but it also packs a giant punch where needed.”
Concept Group’s Steeve Thimpont, who took charge of FOH, commented: “This system has a very nice tonal balance and the ability to spread the full spectrum at a very good distance.”
David Guetta closed the festival with a three-hour performance on the main stage. His show was mixed by long-term engineer, Hassane Essiahi, who stated: “I am very pleased I had a chance to listen to Vero at Electrobeach. It was an honour for me to have John Newsham as my system tech.
“Funktion-One has built up a strong link to dance music, which is well deserved. However, in recent years the electro scene has gotten bigger and festivals, following requests from engineers, have opted for conventional line arrays. Previously there wasn’t a line-array option available from Funktion-One but now there is Vero – a vertically arrayable point source system, which can be configured so that different sources combine to provide sound that is powerful yet not aggressive, allowing you to feel and enjoy the music for hours.
“It has incredible pressure with the additional subs. The tone and the smoothness of the highs are a distinctive relief for the ears. Try it, you won’t disappoint anyone who loves music.”
Funktion-One’s Vero also made it to Glastonbury Festival, which you can read about here.