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.
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.
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).
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
3G Productions of Las Vegas and Los Angeles recently fielded a sizable Martin Audio MLA system for the Wolves Den stage at the Nocturnal Wonderland Festival at the San Manuel Amphitheater. EDM artists such as Bassnectar, Deorro, Above and Beyond, Coone, Big Gigantic, Knife Party, Chromeo, 3LAU, Audien and others entertained more than 67,000 people over three days there.
ou might think from the name that the Rock Werchter festival is all about rock, but after 40 years of bringing a big musical party to its patrons, the annual event today offers a bit of everything. Case in point: DJs spin all four days of the festival at the Jupiler House of The Bull stage. For the third year in a row, this summer, everyone got an earful of The Bull via a Turbosound Flex Array system.
Riot Fest is held in three cities each year—Chicago, Denver and Toronto. For the Denver edition, Nomad Sound of Austin, TX used a slew of Nexo PA and Yamaha consoles at the Hoffman Stage to provide audio for the likes of Descendents, NOFX, Lagwagon, Julian Marley, Vince Staples, Danny Brown, People Under the Stairs, Sleigh Bells, Lewis Del Mar, Bleached, and The Aquabats, among others.
FBT may be an Italian company but its loudspeakers are used around the world—as shown by its growing presence in the UK festival market, where its speakers have been a part of the most recent editions of the Lechlade Music Festival and Victorious Festival.
"Jazz audiences are totally unforgiving," says Mike Sinclair. He should know—as the president of Roselle Park, New Jersey-based Audio Incorporated, he’s spent a decade providing sound for the annual Freifhofers Saratoga Jazz Festival, often mixing many of the acts himself.
The annual Exmouth Festival in the southwest of England is a provincial event, celebrating the music, crafts and traditions of the region, but for this year’s 20th anniversary edition, it broadened its horizons, inviting national acts like ska legends Bad Manners to headline the opening night. Stepping up the entertainment meant stepping up the audio requirements as well. As it happened, the festival became the UK debut of Proel's brand-new Axiom AX800A compact line array, used for the first time at a live event after the first units of the new product began shipping tin May.
When the recent five-day Rock in Rio Festival in Bela Park, Lisbon, it played daily to crowds of 70,000 or more. To cover the teeming masses, audio provider Gabisom Audio Equipment from Brazil fielded the largest Martin Audio MLA rig ever put together for a single stage.
You might think that noise control on the annual, three-day BottleRock festival in Napa, CA would be easy—after all, the whole area is fields of grapes, right? Wrong. There’s tons of nearby residences, which meant the onus was on audio provider Delicate Productions to ensure acts reached the crowd and not much else.
The festival season is getting underway around the world, and that includes China; earlier this month, the Dinghu Mountain Resort hosted the Zhaoqing Music Festival, a two-day event attended by 30,000 people over the May Day holiday.
There are numerous constants in the live sound business, and two of the most prominent are festivals and the blues. Put them together and you get events like last fall’s Big Blues Bender, held at the Plaza Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Local audio vendor H.A.S. Productions provided staging, lighting, and an all VUE Audioteknik PA for the multi-day, multi-stage event.
Held in Chicago, Toronto and Denver, Riot Fest served up ample helpings of Billy Idol, Iggy Pop, Motorhead, CIV, the Damned, Ice Cube, and even Merle Haggard this year. Covering sound in all those cities was Audio Visions, an audio supplier from another city—Omaha, NE.
Some of the greatest cuisine in the world can be found in New York City, so it’s only fitting that the annual New York City Wine and Food Festival highlights great dishes around town. Providing audio for this year’s edition, held in October, Orangeburg, NY-based Dynamic Productions USA fielded D.A.S. Aero 40A and Aero 20A line array enclosures, along with LX-218CA powered subwoofers from D.A.S. Audio’s Aero Series 2 product line.
Festival Promessas, an annual gospel music event held in Sao Paulo, Brazil, attracts 30,000 people every year, and even more watch the event live over TV Globo, one of the country’s largest TV networks. Tackling FOH, monitors and broadcast mixes this year were Allen & Heath dLive mix systems.
England was the birthplace of '80s New Wave, and that glossy, synth-drenched vibe lives on with the Rewind Festival—an event so popular that it is now held in three locations around the UK each year. This summer’s two-day edition in Henley-on-Thames brought acts like OMD, Billy Ocean, Kim Wilde, Human League, The Selecter, Bananarama and Soul II Soul to a crowd of 30,000 via a sizable Martin Audio’s MLA Multi-cellular Loudspeaker Array system.