MARTIN LINE ARRAY FILLS SOUL SURVIVOR'S BIG TOP
August saw the Royal Bath & West Showground in the West of England's rural Shepton Mallet besieged by 'pilgrims' from all over the country attending the annual Christian New Wine Festival, followed by Soul Survivor.
During the changeover to Soul Survivor, the ranks of 11,000 people swelled to 14,000 - stretching the site's services to the limit - when the 96m x 69m Albion Woods Big Top was reconfigured for the more youth-oriented event.
Some of the traditional problems experienced by the promoters were eased this year when both events converted to a Martin Audio Compact Line Array (W8LC) for the first time, provided by Wigwam Acoustics.
Shepton Mallet has been the site for their fast-growing festivals since 1989, and when Wigwam took over the contract nearly a decade ago they immediately increased the sound specification. In those days the event took place on the site's Showering Pavilion but more recently had to employ the 6,000-capacity big top, where conventional loudspeakers were groundstacked.
'There had always been a desire to fly a directional system, to reduce the spill outside the tent and minimise the impact on the surrounding villages,' explained production manager, Greg Szabo. 'On top of that we now have far fewer speakers dotted around the tent.'
Long-standing FOH engineer Charlie Jones takes up the story. 'People had been raving about the Martin system. With the W8LC we now have absolute control and can focus the sound where we want it.'
Both men paid credit to the efforts of Martin Audio's Jim Cousins, who set up the system, using Martin Audio's predictive software ViewPoint to set the correct array angles - which both optimised the performance and obviated any spill. As a result Charlie and his team (co-engineer Steve Phillips and monitor man Ian Hopkinson) were delighted to be mixing the wide range of source material - from lectures, seminars to full ensemble live performance - through the system.
A lot of the low-level conversational chat that takes place on stage using Lavaliers, is now intelligible to the entire audience. 'Wigwam's W8LM front of house rig - plus the six W8LC Mini Line Arrays we have used for delays - have solved that problem,' says Charlie.
Helping achieve the coverage from the stage were a further four (per side) W8LM's, while at the delay points a pair of WLX subs were also flown.
Charlie was mixing for the first time on Yamaha's new PM5D digital desk - but used outboard processing in the shape of XTA DP226's, while DP200's handled the system EQ.
The Martin W8LC proved itself sufficiently versatile to be quickly reconfigured for Soul Survivor. The stage and FOH array were moved back, the delays re-angled to allow for the grandstand removal as production company Sound Foundation took over from Greg Szabo.
Summarising, Greg reports, 'We have had a lot of good feedback with the Martin system and people are amazed that such a small system could fill a 6,000-capacity tent.'
And the good news for the Showground - struggling to cope with the incredible growth of New Wine/Soul Survivor - is that a Northern event is scheduled to take place in Harrogate next year, taking some of the pressure off the west of England site.
Further information from:
Maureen Hayes, Martin Audio
Tel: +44 (0)1494 535312
Fax: +44 (0)1494 438669
Jerry Gilbert, JGP Public Relations
Tel: +44 (0)1707 258525
Fax: +44 (0)1707 267140