Altered Images’ Clare Grogan (right) had the Rewind crowd chirping along to “I Could Be Happy” and other new wave pop hits via a Martin Audio MLA System supplied by Captial Sound.
Henley-on-Thames, UK (March 29, 2016)—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. Last 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.
Capital Sound has provided the Festival’s PA system from the beginning and while two sites have been problem-free in terms of sound propagation, the Henley location at Temple Island Meadows, Remenham Farm has always been “noise sensitive,” snaring complaints from the locals until two years ago. Capital’s senior project manager Martin Connolly noted, “The biggest issue with our license is the proximity of Remenham Village, as the nearest property is less than 500 meters to the right of the main stage, and the local authority requires us to keep the level below 65 dB on a 15-minute average at that property.
“In the days when we used a conventional line array—which included the Martin Audio Longbow—we were only ever able to run at 96 dB(A) to achieve the offsite levels,” Connolly recalled, “but since MLA has been adopted as the system of choice, we have mixed shows at over 100 dB(A) and comfortably been well within the limit offsite at the same time delivering stunning fidelity and transparency from the system.”
System engineer Toby Donovan mapped the site to optimize the sound using the generic presets adopted for the Hyde Park concert stage as his base template. As has been the case since 2013 when Capital first fielded the MLA rig at Rewind, the main PA comprised 15 MLA and one MLD Downfill per side with three delay points consisting of five MLA and one MLD. All 19 MLX subwoofers were deployed using the cardioid broadside array principle.
Since the site is asymmetric, no side hang was required stage left (only a small ground stack of W8LM Mini Line Arrays for nearfield coverage); however stage right was treated with a conventional side hang of nine W8LM Mini Line Array—set 45 degrees to the main hang—to provide outfield coverage.
Keith Morris was more than pleased with the 2015 edition, confirming, “On Sunday’s show we were able to maintain a level between 98–100 dB(A) at the mix position while still keeping below the 65 dB(A) threshold at the perimeter. I don’t believe this would have been possible without MLA's ability to focus the audio field so well.”