San Francisco, CA (December 8, 2016)—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.
Said SOS General Manager Wes Norwood, “We had K2 rigs on Banjo Stage and Swan Stage, and all of the other stages were V-Dosc with 115XT HiQ wedges, plus our newest addition, a bunch of X15 wedges. Those were on Swan Stage with hosted acts ranging from Kris Kristofferson to Chris Isaak to a bluegrass version of The Who’s rock opera, Tommy.” Beyond the mains and monitors, the systems were complemented with 8XT front fills, dV-Dosc and Arcs delays, and everything was run by an army of LA8-equipped LA-Rak amplified controller racks.
“The music really covers a wide range,” says Norwood, who has been with Sound On Stage for two decades and a part of every version of HSB since its inception. While the fare leans heavily on acoustic music, the artists this year included classic rockers such as Cyndi Lauper and Jackson Browne side-by-side with San Francisco musical heroes like Hot Tuna and Boz Scaggs, plus many more Americana, folk, roots and indie rock artists.
“K2 is the perfect box for HSB,” he notes. “It’s smaller and lighter than other boxes in its class but still has tons of output. And the lower weight allows us to hang more boxes and cover a larger area more consistently than other options will allow us to do. Plus, the X15 wedge was a big hit—both the artists and our techs loved it. It’s lighter than the previous version and it has that little kickstand that actually comes in really handy,” he enthuses, referring to its built-in riser allowing it to be angled at 35 or 55 degrees onstage.
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass
Sound On Stage