Held on Óbudai-sziget (Old Buda Island), a 266-acre island on the river Danube in northern Budapest, the annual Sziget Festival is one of the largest music festivals in Europe. Over eight days this summer, Sziget attracted 1,000 Hungarian and international artists performing at 60 venues, and welcomed a total of 362,000 fans. For the festival’s main stage, a Meyer Sound LEO ™ linear large-scale sound reinforcement system supported headliners including Blur, David Guetta, and Franz Ferdinand.
“Bringing LEO into the fray is a real leap forward, as it’s a fantastic system with a huge throw,” says Karoly Molnar, the main stage sound designer and managing director of Animative Ltd., which handled production management for Sziget. “Because the music styles are so varied at Sziget, this system is perfect. And because LEO is so linear with a flat frequency response, engineers don’t need to tweak it—they can spend all their time on the console.”
For the eighth consecutive year, London-based Capital Sound provided sound reinforcement for the festival’s main stage, with the company’s Robin Conway working onsite as project manager and Mark ‘Magic’ Ellis-Cope serving as crew chief. Equipment support was provided by Warsaw, Poland-based GMB Pro Sound, and AdamSzczesny from GMB oversaw the rigging process.
The LEO system included two main hangs of 16 LEO-M line array loudspeakers each, as well as two out-fill hangs of eight LEO-M loudspeakers each. Providing low end were two ground stacks of 18-each 1100-LFC low-frequency control elements per side, supported by 22 700-HP subwoofers for center fill and out fill. A Galileo® Callisto™ loudspeaker management system featuring Galileo Callisto 616 array processors provided system drive and alignment.
“The festival setup has changed dramatically over the years—it’s all about coverage now, and the audience expects a great sound,” says Tamás Dragon, Sziget’s resident FOH engineer. “Not only is LEO powerful, but its throw is massive. The 1100-LFC subs have lots of carry and thump, and that nice punchy bass sound is exactly what we need.”
Molnar adds: “The feedback from engineers, managers, and festival-goers was excellent. The Galileo Callisto system made tuning the system easy, and the headroom of both the LEO-M and the 1100-LFCs was impressive. We never reached limit—that is very unusual at this festival. And we even got some nice comments from the lighting guys, who liked the small footprint and the elegant, narrow look of the arrays.”
2013 marked the 10th consecutive year that Meyer Sound equipment was used at Sziget. Systems based around M3D, MILO®, and MICA® line array loudspeakers were also used at a number of smaller stages throughout the festival.
Sziget Festival has grown dramatically since its inception in 1993 as a small student event. In 2011, Sziget won Best Major European Festivalin the European Festivals Awards.
Sziget Festival video: