EDM mainstay Martin Garrix played two shows at RAI Amsterdam through an Adamson Systems Engineering E-Series loudspeaker system.
The annual 538 Koningsdag festival brought together Dutch EDM fans to celebrate Koningdag (Kingsday) by dancing to the likes of Armin Van Buuren, Jay Sean, Gavin DeGraw, Maan and others. Ampco Flashlight provided audio and lighting for the event, fielding an Adamson Systems Engineering E-Series system.
By Strother Bullins. Since 2001, Atlanta has been the host city for ProgPower USA, an annual indoor music festival where progressive rock and power metal bands from around the world perform for American fans who rarely get to see them live on tour. These carefully curated acts are packing the increasingly sold-out multiday festival at CenterStage, a concert complex in Midtown Atlanta. Participants have included Finland’s Nightwish, Sonata Arctica and Stratovarius; Sweden’s Sabaton and Therion; Holland’s Epica and Delain; and the UK’s DragonForce, among many, many others. And though a minority, American acts are regularly included in the mix, too—for example, Kamelot, Fates Warning, and Between The Buried And Me.
By Clive Young. The last few years have seen the concert industry ride a growing wave of success, and so far, 2017 looks to be following that trend to the letter. Tours have generally done well this year, and despite some high-profile blowouts, festivals, too, have had a strong showing. Good grosses are likewise good for live sound companies, keeping audio providers busy at all levels, from the national tour providers, to regional and local sound reinforcement businesses.
This year’s 7,000-capacity Shambala Festival featured 200 acts across a dozen stages of music programming, but Stage Audio Services’ main concern was the main stage, where it fielded a sizable Martin Audio MLA Compact rig for the event.
To paraphrase Shakespeare, something is rockin’ in Denmark—and it’s usually the Roskilde festival. To ensure that, however, the annual event has partnered with Meyer Sound, and starting with the 2018 edition, all stages at the Roskilde Festival will use Meyer Sound reinforcement systems exclusively. Additionally, Meyer Sound will train the festival’s technical staff and also create a new Roskilde Festival Academy that will offer advanced audio training year round.
Owner and chief engineer Michael Comstock upgraded the console in his Indre Mobile truck to a DiGiCo SD9 just in time to mix and stream 40 bands from this year’s Meadows Music and Arts Festival.
For years, certainly since the transition to DTV in 2010, when wireless audio equipment operators had to vacate the 700 MHz band, RF coordinators have been warning that the sky is falling. Well, that day is here.
By Strother Bullins. With the popularity of multi-act musical events at an all-time high, mixing console needs at FOH and monitor positions are broader and more complex than ever. After all, many festivals host dozens of acts, and thus dozens of different engineers, each of which will have unique preferences and mixer requirements. So, what exactly are among the most popular choices in festival mixing today, based on the observations of audio system providers?
By Ian MacDonald. Despite its relative infancy, AEG/Goldenvoice’s Panorama Festival has made a splash. Not only did this year’s edition, held July 28-30 on Randall’s Island nestled between Manhattan and Queens, feature headliners like Frank Ocean, A Tribe Called Quest and Nine Inch Nails, but it also saw an innovative deployment of technology in the form of a massive immersive experience called The Lab.
London’s Barclaycard Presents British Summer Time Hyde Park Festival (BST) just marked its fifth consecutive year at the site and once again, Capital Sound provided audio at numerous stages throughout the event. With a new two-year extension to their contract with BST in their pocket, Capital implemented upgraded Martin Audio gear on the main Great Oak Stage.
While it had a famously rocky start five years ago, the BottleRock Napa Valley festival has matured like a fine wine, turning into one of the top festivals in the country. This year’s edition, which presented the likes of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Foo Fighters, Maroon 5, and Modest Mouse and others across Memorial Day Weekend, saw Los Angeles/San Francisco-based Delicate Productions return once again to provide audio for multiple sites, including the Miner Family Winery stage, where it fielded a VUE Audiotechnik house and monitor system.
By Phil Ward. On May 22, a suicide bomber detonated a device in the foyer of Manchester Arena in northern England, killing 22 and injuring 59 as they were leaving a concert by pop sensation Ariana Grande. Just thirteen days after the attack, a hastily convened benefit concert for victims and their families took place at Manchester’s Old Trafford Cricket Ground. Christened ‘One Love,’ the event brought together the community within the largest city in Northern England, and likewise revealed the intrinsically cooperative spirit of the pro-audio industry alongside a powerful vindication of recent rental company business consolidation between the UK and the US.
The annual iHeartCountry Festival recently took over Austin’s Frank Erwin Center to bring fans a dozen top names in country music, including Little Big Town, Dierks Bentley, Rascal Flatts and Kelsea Ballerini. Providing audio for the occasion was Firehouse Productions (Las Vegas, NV/Red Hook, NY).
With 125,000 in attendance at this year’s Coachella Festival, ensuring that every syllable recited by headliner Kendrick Lamar could be heard loud and clear was crucial. The task fell to the artist’s audio team, which employed Sennheiser’s Digital 9000 and new Digital 6000 wireless systems.
This year’s Coachella found Professional Wireless Systems (PWS) on-hand to provide frequency coordination for all wireless microphones, in-ear monitors and communications on the eight music stages, The Antarctic Dome, a sponsor stage, content ENG crews, artist interviews crews and a film crew, working closely with festival audio provider, Rat Sound.
The concert business may be heavily focused on festivals these days, but they’re old news to the team behind MerleFest. The venerable event marked its 30th anniversary in April, held once again on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. More than 100 artists, including James Taylor, The Zac Brown Band, The Avett Brothers, Bela Fleck and Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives performed. SE Systems of Greensboro, North Carolina handled production for 11 of the 13 stages throughout the four-day event.
Some may call it Sin City, but Las Vegas’s jazz community prefers a more sophisticated sobriquet, as proven by the name of the region’s top jazz event: The Las Vegas City of Lights Jazz Rhythm & Blues Festival, which this year featured such artists as the Gerald Albright, Lalah Hathaway, and Anthony Hamilton.
The Lollapalooza festival in Chile has become one of that country’s premiere musical events, and this year’s edition was no different. With a main stage line up that included Metallica, Cage The Elephant, Rancid, We Are The Grand, Jimmy Eat World and Two Door Cinema Club, in addition to a number of other stages, the annual festival was a hit. Ensuring that all 140,000 people in the crowd could hear every note from the main stage was Viña del Mar-based Audio-pro, which fielded a brand-new L-Acoustics touring system for the show.
The population of Trumansburg may be 1,800 people for most of the year, but for July 20-23, 2017, that number will swell considerably when the 27th edition of the non-profit, non-corporate, volunteer-powered Finger Lakes GrassRoots Festival of Music and Dance takes place. The annual event will feature 80 acts on four stages over four days.
Hundreds of bands and thousands of people descend on South By Southwest every year; helping provide audio at two notable stages this year were systems based around dB Technologies loudspeakers, put to use in two outdoor venues.
The first ever Global Citizen Festival India made a serious splash, attracting more than 80,000 attendees to the MMRDA Ground in Mumbai to see Coldplay, A.R. Rahman, Jay Z and Demi Lovato, as well as top Bollywood stars, including Amitabh Bachchan, Farhan Akhtar, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and Arijit Singh. Ensuring everyone could hear every note, Hi-Tech Audio Systems Pvt Ltd (L-Acoustics’ Indian distributor) brought in multiple audio rental companies to provide 200-plus loudspeakers.
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival may colloquially be known as Jazz Fest, but that’s just about the only thing small about it. The legendary festival is held 7 nights across 10 days, hosting dozens of acts across 15 stages that have audio provided by a slew of audio companies.
The words “jazz festival” might bring to mind small jazz combos, belting vocalists and perhaps some big bands, but you can’t overlook choirs. In fact, jazz choirs are a key feature of the long-running DeMiero Jazz Festival in Edmonds, WA, now in its 41st year. Every March, the festival spans four venues, with 1,500 participants from 60 performing jazz choirs. For five years running, Wayne Pumphrey, producer and chief production officer of the festival and owner of Edmonds Pro Audio, has brought in Earthworks microphones to capture the performances.
Festivals are all about having a good time, but each one has its own approach to achieving that. For Moogfest in Durham, NC, that means not merely moving your feet to the more than 300 musical performances offered, but also expanding your knowledge—and often skillset as well—in 100 workshops and masterclasses offered during the four-day festival running Thursday, May 18 - Sunday, May 21.
Take1 Insurance has made a name for itself within the event production community in recent years, most prominently with its involvement with the Event Safety Alliance and insurance offerings aimed to protect vendors from weather-related events. Now, in response to high-profile terrorist attacks in recent years involving entertainment sites, the company has debuted Combined Crisis Cover, which it bills as an insurance protection policy for the live and special event industry. The policy provides immediate coverage of up to $35 million annually in the event of—or threat of—“malicious acts,” including terrorism, active assailants and other antagonists who interrupt or cause the cancellation of a planned live event.
Festivals have been trendy for years, but there’s a new sub-trend emerging: The Micro Festival. A prime example is the new Starry Nites Festival which debuted March 18-19 on a 42-acre ranch in Santa Barbara, CA. Intended to attract 3,000-5,000 attendees, the lineup included Alan Parsons, The Kills, Cat Power, The Dandy Warhols, She Wants Revenge, Black Mountain, Teenage Fanclub, Strawberry Alarm Clock and 30 other artists. Starry Nites was co-sponsored by Roland, BOSS and V-MODA, and presented by Desert Stars Festival, Starry Records, and Shiny Penny Productions.
It’s been one of the most dramatic changes in the concert landscape in the past 10 years: the spawning of hundreds of new music festivals worldwide. There are, of course, many reasons for this—the need for musicians to augment shrinking revenues from CD and streaming with live performance fees; the popularity of festivals as a way for fans to see 10–20 bands over 2–3 days; and the benefit to promoters from both the scale and quantity of performances. With—according to SXSW—more than 32 million people attending at least one music festival a year, they have become “a mainstream pastime of our culture.”
Festival culture is a worldwide phenomenon, and in China, demand is so strong that two major fests were recently held simultaneously in Shijiazhuang City: LeXiang Music Festival and Shijiazhuang Music Festival. Both events used Allen & Heath dLive S Class mixing systems.
New festivals spring up every year, but as time progresses, they either fade away or make their mark. Falling into the latter category is the annual Luck Reunion festival, to be held tomorrow, March 16, at Willie Nelson’s “Luck, TX” property.
Coachella, Bonnaroo and Outside Lands may have become the premier festivals of the U.S., but they still have a way to go before they become as revered as the traditional U.K. mud pit known as Glastonbury. With that in mind, live audio consultant, engineer and sound system designer Simon Honywill shares his experiences overseeing audio at the 2016 edition of the world’s best-known quagmire/festival.
Coachella may be one of the premiere festivals in the world, but that high profile also means that organizers Goldenvoice and parent company AEG Live are scrutinized all the more closely when they face challenges—like the multiple ones tackled this week. First a major headliner dropped out, and once that slot was filled, it was discovered that a Coachella database had been hacked, with personal information of account holders stolen.
It’s a universal truth, regardless of where your festival is located, that making it happen is never easy, particularly if it is facilitated by working with local civic organizations. Underlining that fact, sister publication PSNE spoke with Francis Geron last year about running the annual three-day FiestaCity festival. 2017 will see the 15th edition of the event, which regularly attracts 70,000 people to Verviers in Belgium.
Forever ahead of the technological curve, the legendary Montreux Jazz Festival has recently been digitizing its entire archive in conjunction with the Claude Nobs Foundation, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne and data specialist HGST.
Last year saw the UK’s Capital Sound hit Hungary to provide technical infrastructure for the Sziget Organisation at three major festivals: the four-day Volt rock festival in Sopron; Balaton Sound, which takes place on the beach of Zamárdi over five days; and the Sziget Festival.
RiseUp AS ONE, a live festival held on the US-Mexico border in San Diego last fall, featured artists such as Alejandro Sanz, Miguel Bosé, Julieta Venegas, Los Tigres del Norte, Lupillo Rivera, Carlos Vives and Natalia Lafourcade, as well as appearances from Gael Garcia Bernal, Wilmer Valderrama and T Bone Burnett. 3G Productions provided SR for the event, which was produced jointly by the Fusion and Univision networks, and broadcast and streamed worldwide in both English and Spanish.
New festivals seem to pop up every day in the U.S. but in Europe, which adopted festival culture earlier than North America, most of the fests have been around a while at this point. That fact only made the recent debut of Rock im Bergbad in Bückeburg in Lower Saxony, Germany all the more exciting. Auditiv GmbH, based in Kassel, provided an Alcons LR18 pro-ribbon line array for the event.
Bluegrass has always been an intimate kind of music, but when it comes to presenting it in a festival setting? Well, it’s no easy task. Yet that’s the challenge that Bay-Area-based Sound On Stage (SOS) has tackled yearly since 2001 at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, a free, non-commercial festival staged in an area of Golden Gate Park. This year, the company fielded L-Acoustics PAs at all seven of the festival’s stages.
When launching a new festival, there’s a host of concerns that have to be dealt with, from logistics to getting the right inaugural line-up. And just as paramount is the sound of the actual show, which can make or break the fledgling fest’s chances of returning the following year. That was the challenge facing Soundwave Productions recently when it fielded a new Martin Audio MLA Compact system at the debut edition of the Dusk Music Festival.
Tiësto, Hardwell, The Chainsmokers, Bassnectar, Porter Robinson and Steve Aoki were just a few of the acts that played this year’s Electric Zoo Festival on Randall’s Island Park in New York City over Labor Day weekend. To ensure that all 83,000 attendees heard every note, Milwaukee-based Clearwing Productions provided lighting and an L-Acoustics PA for the entire event.
The rise of the festival as one of the key pillars of modern live music is an international phenomenon, as the format continues to draw larger and larger audiences around the globe. Case in point: the recent Bacardi NH7 Weekender, held in RBDSA Sports Complex in Shillong, India.