Tomorrowland’s Main Stage Goes Bigger to Reduce Neighborhood Noise
Tomorrowland in Belgium, one of the world’s largest music festivals, is held in the town of Boom – an apt name for a festival lineup of its size. We Are One World, the festival’s organizers, are always on the hunt for imaginative ways to unite fans worldwide at this special event. Since 2011, L-Acoustics has collaborated with the festival alongside Noizboyz, designers of Tomorrowland audio systems. In 2019, over 600 L-Acoustics cabinets, supplied by Phlippo Productions, were deployed on six stages. Tomorrowland’s lineup headliners include some of the world’s most renowned DJs like David Guetta, Steve Aoki, Armin van Buuren, and the late Avicii.
The sound crew’s task was complicated since the Tomorrowland festival site encompasses multiple, highly decorated stages that are all nearby and always running simultaneous acts. Belgian authorities impose onerous restrictions on noise levels with measurements taken by independent consultants in areas surrounding the festival. With the closest neighbors only 20 meters away from the main stage grounds, noise mitigation is a significant concern. Festival producers challenged the NoizBoyz team to reduce spillover at the main stage while creating more even coverage for the massive crowd, which spans over 160 meters.
NoizBoyz used K Systems at the main stage to achieve an impressive 160-meter throw, with exceptional directivity control – all while delivering that big sound EDM fans demand. Using Soundvision modeling tools, they proposed flying the previously ground-stacked KS28 subs to decrease spillover onto the nearby neighborhood. In their ideal model, the subs would be flown in a central location; however, the main stage’s décor would not allow for this. The next best alternative was deploying four sub-arrays, flown behind the mains, in an end-fire configuration. Adding more K1 boxes allowed the team to elevate the main arrays and shoot sound lower, also reducing spillover. Finally, with the release of L-Acoustics Autosolver tools, NoizBoyz achieved more consistent coverage from the front to the back of the music festival.
The configuration resulted in a 95% decrease in noise complaints from surrounding neighborhoods. NoizBoyz could achieve more even SPL coverage for the audience, seeing only a 10db loss from the front to the back of the 160-meter spanning crowd without using delays. “Leveraging the Autosolvers tools in Soundvision made a surprising difference in the coverage,” says Pieter Dom of NoizBoyz, “it’s that fine-tuning that we simply cannot achieve manually in a festival setting, which has made a world of difference.” Increased headroom and in-your-face sound, crucial to the EDM experience, coupled with consistent and even coverage, made Tomorrowland’s audio production a prime example for EDM festivals around the world.
We know we can rely on the K2. It has exceptional directivity control, both horizontally and vertically. In fact, the control is so good, you can almost stop the beams where you want them to, so we didn’t have any audio going out to places where we didn’t want it.
Main stage and VIP:
- 116 K1
- 86 KS28
- 76 SB28
- 60 K2
- 20 SB18
- 17 X15 HiQ
- 16 K1-SB
- 14 ARCS Wide
- 134 Kara
Fills and delays:
- 16 12XT,
- 12 Kudo
- Eight Kiva
- Eight X12
- Four 115XT HiQ
- Power was provided by 66 LA12X amplifiers for the Main and Opera Stages, with 116 LA8 and seven LA4X taking care of the other stages and delays
- 32 Kara, 12 SB18 and 10 115XT HiQ, powered by a total of 17 LA8 amplifiers