Staged annually in Morocco since 1994, the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music this year featured a lineup that included Paco de Lucía, Patti Smith, and Assala Nasri. Casablanca-based Touareg Prod’ supplied Meyer Sound systems for the festival’s two principal venues, including a MILO® line array loudspeaker system for the more acoustically challenging space.
The festival’s headline shows were held at Bab Al Makina, a walled courtyard for about 4,200 people. Surrounding walls up to 12 meters high create a RT60 reverberation time that measured between three and four seconds.
“It’s certainly a challenging place to do amplified music,” admits Chris Ekers, who has been head of sound for the festival since 1998. “Initially we were using point source systems with two delay positions, but there was a major improvement when Touareg Prod’ brought in a Meyer Sound rig with MILOs. It was the first time we had a line array system for the festival where we had control over the seating areas with predictable results.”
The deployed system was built around main left and right arrays of 12 each MILO line array loudspeakers per side, with twin delay towers of four each M2D line array loudspeakers for the far reaches. Low end was handled by dual flown cardioid arrays of four each and a ground loaded horizontal line array of seven 700-HP subwoofers. The entire system was controlled by a Galileo® loudspeaker management system with two Galileo 616 processors.
“The MILO system allows us to focus in on more distant seating areas, with the M2D delays working for the last 20 meters or so,” says Ekers. “Also, Galileo and the Compass software are extremely helpful in optimizing for both acoustical and atmospheric conditions. With Galileo and the MILOs, we have a much more consistent sound from front to back.”
The FOH system also included two UPJunior™ VariO and four UPA-1P loudspeakers as front and corner fills respectively. The monitoring complement comprised 16 MJF-212A stage monitors plus side fills using the UPA-1P and MSL-4 loudspeakers and 650-P subwoofers depending on artists’ needs.
Another Meyer Sound system was installed in the courtyard of the Batha Museum, covering audiences of up to 800 with two each MSL-4 and UPA-1P loudspeakers and 650-P subwoofers. Foldback was provided by six UM-1P stage monitors. A Galileo loudspeaker management system with one Galileo 616 processor was used for control.
“When we started the business, we chose Meyer Sound loudspeakers for their reputation, and have focused on Meyer Sound ever since,” says Farid Squalli, owner of Touareg Prod’. “Having Meyer is a plus in our local market, and we know that our proposals can be accepted by all the international technical riders.”
In addition to the Meyer Sound system, the equipment complement at Bab Al Makina also included a Midas Heritage 3000 and a DiGiCo SD8 mixing console, Shure and Sennheiser wireless microphone systems, and Sennheiser IEM systems.
Known in French as Le Festival de Fès des Musiques Sacrées du Monde, the festival is dedicated to the traditions of culture, art, and spirituality that have been nurtured for centuries in Fes, Morocco’s second largest city. In 2001, the United Nations recognized the Fes Festival as a major event promoting dialogue and peaceful communication among nations, religions, and cultures.