From Digital Dreams To Spring Awakening, L-Acoustics Never Rests
Two of North America’s top EDM festivals and sound companies rely on K1 systems
CHICAGO / TORONTO - September 2015 -- Although electronic dance music festivals were few and far between only a decade ago, their numbers today easily rival those of their more traditional guitar-based counterparts. To best accommodate the ultra-wide sonic range and high-energy reinforcement that DJs and fans of the genre demand, a significant number of EDM promoters are turning to L-Acoustics loudspeaker systems.
This summer, two more of North America’s top multi-day festivals called L-Acoustics’ flagship K1 system into duty: Spring Awakening, which took over Chicago’s Soldier Field, and Toronto’s Digital Dreams, staged at The Flats at Ontario Place. With each festival drawing more than 50,000 attendees, Clearwing Productions supplied the gear and crew for the Chicago production, while Solotech did likewise in Toronto.
According to Clearwing’s Jamie Earle, chief engineer of audio, Spring Awakening, promoted by SFX, used a total of 24 L-Acoustics K1 enclosures, 48 K2 and a generous 74 SB28 subs, among other gear, split across several stages hosting performances by some of EDMs finest, including Tiësto, Hardwell, Zedd, Eric Prydz, Diplo, Afrojack, Dada Life and Skrillex.
“I am always impressed with the sheer output of K1,” says Earle. “We didn’t have the most ideal trim height and the PA was behind scrims, but we still managed to get great coverage and the PA was loud and in your face, perfect for EDM!”
Due to load-in time frames and restrictions on when noise could be made, the Clearwing crew didn’t have much time for system tuning. “It was 30 minutes on the evening before the first show day,” Earle recalls. “After a very quick noise test to get some delay times dialed in, we opened up the rig with an EDM test track. Before we could practically do anything, event management walked onto the field and commented ‘well, we don’t need to be worried about the sound.’ Perfect. Our first time doing this event for the client and they were more than confident with the sound even before we finished up tuning.”
Live Nation’s Digital Dreams, held just a few weekends later in Toronto, was no less spectacular of a production, featuring performances by EDM heavy-hitters like Zedd, Pete Tong, Excision, Deep Dish and Martin Garrix. For the past several years, Digital Dreams has maintained its rank as Canada’s largest electronic music festival.
Solotech Account Manager Robert Kennedy, who tallied the primary speaker count at 24 K1, eight K2, 24 Kara, 14 ARCS II, 16 K1-SB and 36 SB28, notes, “our client was happy with the coverage, SPL and off-site SPL mitigation. The artists were also very happy; the K1 system is clearly one of the most widely accepted PA systems on the EDM market for good reason.”
Speaking of artists, both festivals utilized the now-ubiquitous DJ monitoring setups of three or four Kara enclosures atop one or two SB18 per side onstage. “All of the engineers were pleased with the rig, making minimal adjustments for personal preferences, and all of the DJs seemed more than happy with the Kara/SB18 combination, which has certainly emerged as the standard premium DJ monitoring rig in recent years,” adds Earle.
For more details on the two festivals, visit www.springawakeningfestival.com and www.digitaldreamsfestival.ca. Clearwing Productions and Solotech can both also be found online at www.clearwing.com and www.solotech.com, respectively.