Wilkesboro, NC (May 17, 2017)—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.
Founded in 1988 in memory of the late Eddy Merle Watson, son of American music legend Doc Watson, MerleFest is a celebration of ‘traditional plus’ music, a unique mix based on the traditional, roots-oriented sounds of the Appalachian region including bluegrass and old-time music, and expanded to include Americana, country, blues, rock, and many other styles.
SE Systems fielded a slew of Yamaha consoles for Merlefest, providing two new Yamaha Rivage PM10 Digital Audio Consoles for front of house and monitors at the Hillside stage. A pair of CL5s with two Rio3224-D input/output boxes could be found at the Americana stage, along with two QL5s at the Creekside stage along with a Rio3224-D input/output box and RPio622 and RPio222 boxes, making for a 128 x 16 system. Yamaha PM5D digital consoles were also used as mains and monitors at the Walker Canter and Austin stages.
“I had two days of training on the Rivage PM10 before I used it at MerleFest,” said Slobodan ‘Boban’ Petrovic, front of house engineer at the Hillside stage where the crowd swelled to 8,000 for the Avett Brothers performance. With 26 years under his belt as a recording engineer in Serbia and 17 years mixing live sound (ten of which for SE Systems), Petrovic said he used a Yamaha PM5D for many years. “I always loved it, and that did help me ease into the new PM10 technology. We had a few guest sound engineers at the Hillside stage that used it for the first time, and were up and running easily and confidently.”
A Nexo Geo D line array was used at the Creekside stage. The system was configured as three line array towers with five Geo D10 top boxes on each fly bar and two Geo subs stacked ground level underneath. NXAmp 4X4 power amps with integrated NX Processor TD Controller powered the Geo D system. Watson, the largest of the stages, used 16 45N12 Nexo monitor wedges with four more used on the Cabin side stage.