Cleveland-based SR provider fields Adamson for main stage at NYC festival.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
Attending the Bonnaroo, Forecastle, Black Diamond Summer Concert, Big Ticket Festival and Lifest festivals all in one summer might sound like a concert-goer’s dream, but for Nashville-based audio provider CTS Audio, it was just another summer spent keeping its JBL VTX Series system busy.
Festivals are unique events in that they create temporary communities. They bring together artists, crews and thousands of music fans to briefly celebrate together and then everyone disperses, heading off in their own directions. Pro audio providers have always played a primary role in producing festivals and forging the connection between acts and audiences. In recent times, however, pro audio manufacturers have also been increasingly attracted to festivals and the temporary communities they create, as they provide singularly exclusive opportunities to ingratiate their brands with sound professionals—and often artists as well—before they all go their separate ways.
SSE Audio Group won for Best Sound at the UK’s Festival Supplier Awards for the second consecutive year at the end of January 2016, almost exactly four decades after the company officially launched in Nottingham, England.
While the number of new music festivals seems to rise every year, launching one remains as challenging as ever—perhaps even more so given that there are so many options out there for music fans. According to a 2015 Nielsen report, 32 million people go to at least one U.S. festival a year, traveling 903 miles on average to be there. Facing the possibility of stiff competition from events hundreds of miles away, new festivals find themselves tasked with not only fielding a compelling lineup, but zeroing in on what makes their event unique while also gaining the support of the local community.
No matter the size of a festival, producers look at their multi-day events as a community—and with anywhere between 5,000 and into the 100,000s of people flocking to a festival site daily, organizers need to plan for the same risks you would find in a town or neighborhood of the same size. However, with these festival communities packed into a smaller outdoor setting, producers are able to hone in on more specific safety and health risks that come with the festival territory, ranging from crowd control, overheating and dehydration, to drug and alcohol consumption, and prepare ahead of time for these and other potential risks.
Rat Sound has become a go-to sound provider for numerous festivals, and last year, three of them—Taste of Chaos, Knotfest, It’s Not Dead, and FYF—had something else in common, in that Rat provided each with an EAW Anya sound reinforcement system, drawing from its 48 module Anya inventory.